Una Ventunella (21)By: Dylan | July 11th, 2011
This post isn’t really going to be about Serie A, or professional football in general. Instead I’m going to explain the rules of game that is played all over Italy called Ventuno.
Ventuno is a game that is best played in about four or five people, but the minimum is three. A football is required, but proper goal posts are not. I played in-front of a wall that had two sign posts. Now, there are many different variations and rules, but I’m going to explain the ones I played with.
When you have your people, you have to decide who starts in goals. Now goals is the worst place to be, so with that in mind, you can decide. If you have goal posts, you play il gioco della traversa or crossbar challenge. From a decent distance you aim to hit the bar, and the person the misses the goals completely (high or wide), is in goals. If you don’t have proper goals you play sparala. I’m not sure what the English transaltion is, but it basically means shoot it high. From about two metres from the goals you put the tip of your foot under the ball and try and raise it high up on the wall. The person with the lowest shot is in goals. I have had many disputes when it comes to measuring how high it goes against the wall. As I would wait until no one was watching to hit, then claim it went really high.
Now that you have your keeper the fun begins. Basically the aim is to eliminate whoever is in goals, by scoring with your feet, head ect. The keeper starts with 21 points, thats why the game is called ventuno, and everyone outside the goals starts with a libera or free, which means they can miss/have the keeper catch their shot without going in goals. The keeper also has a box, which is about a metre, and people can’t go in and the keeper can’t come out.
Everything has to be done off the ground, so I can’t just shoot. I need my friends outside the goals to lift the ball up into the air, then I can hit it. That is the most important rule, everything must be off the ground, and I can’t lift it up to myself. That’s why three people are required.
So why the 21 you ask, because everything I score with has a value. For example when I score with my foot it takes one (1) point off the keeper, 21-1=20. Here is the list:
Foot (Piede)=one (1)
Head (Testa)=two (2)
Knee (Ginocchio)=three (3)
Chest (Petto)=four (4)
Backheel (Tacco)=five (5)
Those are the main ones, but here is were it gets interesting, there is also:
Where everyone touches it while it’s in the air (Torretta)=five (5)
Shoulder (Spalletta)= everything (The keeper is eliminated)
Another rule is that if you kick the ball wide during the game you lose your libera. Meaning you lose your chance, the next time you kick it out you are in goals and start with 21. How to you gain liberas’? They are not called liberas’ anymore but jollys’ instead. Hitting the post gets you one jolly, the crossbar three and the intersection between the two is five. Once you have a few jollys your pretty much safe and won’t have to go in goals.
How does the keeper defend himself? It’s pretty simple he tries to stop everything, if he touches a shot but it still goes in it still only takes away one point. It could be shoulder, that eliminates everything, but if the keeper touches it, it is still only one point. Another way is by caching things cleanly, if it’s a clean catch then the person who touched it last either goes in goals or losses his libera or jolly.
If the ball goes over the bar it means nothing and is called altosalva or high saves.
When the person in goals gets down to nine (9) points they have a thing called la bastarda. Now I’m not going to translate that, but it means if they get the ball and shout bastarda stop everyone has to freeze. The keeper has to throw the ball at someone from inside their box, and if they hit them they either go in goals or lose their libera or jolly. The person on the outside can try and catch the ball cleanly, which keeps them safe. A way to be safe when the keeper at nine shouts, is to run to the post. Being on the post is like being free and the keeper can’t get you, but bare in mind only one person can been on the post. So if you see someone is already there, run elsewhere eg, behind something or far away. Players outside have to avoid letting the player get to nine.
The exact same situation occurs when the keeper is at either one (1), two (2) or three (3). This is called la febre. Apart from this time the keeper can take three steps out from his goals before throwing the ball at someone.
To avoid these situations just eliminate the keeper while not getting him to these numbers.
When the keeper is eliminated everyone has to take a penalty, if everyone scores the keeper is fully eliminated. If someone misses the keeper goes back to one, each miss gives he/she back a point. If people miss the keeper could still have la febre.
When the keeper is finally eliminated ideally they should be out of the next game, and have to go home early. I never played that way, so the game just starts all over again when the keeper is eliminated.
There are many tactics involved in the game, such as try to eliminate immediately. One other tactic is to not use your libera or jolly. I forgot to say that you are not obligated to use them, but it’s not a good tactic.
I have played Ventuno millions of times, and I hope from this post you can too. It really improves your ball skill and it’s a lot of fun with friends. Leave any questions in the comments, because it’s hard to explain in words how to play. But I hope you get the gist.