YukiGassen Japanese Snowball Fights – Capture The Flag version – research

My 40-43 mm (roughly 1:48 scale) snowballers on a properly scaled down Yukigassen court with Lego snow walls (1 metre = roughly 2cms)

Fellow blogger the Wargaming Pastor of the DeathZap blog having read my Snowball Fight blog post mentioned in the comments about Yukigassen or “Snow Battle”, a team sport from Japan, now played in snowy places worldwide.

Screenshot of the court or pitch from James May – Our Man in Japan – YouTube TV

He included a link to a YouTube video of James May (of giant Airfix Spitfire, railway … oh, and Top Gear fame).

I thought this was worth researching a bit further online before roughing out a basic rule set for my pound store snowball figures for tabletop battles.

First – a Sketch of the court or pitch showing snow walls and dimensions

Wikipedia source

Wikipedia has a short entry with links https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukigassen

Yukigassen developed in Japan in the 1980s, quickly picked up by many summer baseball players.

There are lots of YouTube links including the very helpful Tofugu YouTube video explaining the Yukigassen rules, teams etc

Screenshot of Tufugu YouTube video

Forwards 1 to 4 cannot go back past their own base line.

Defence 5 to 7 can go anywhere.

The Captain 8 can play on the pitch.

Excellent graphic of a pitch (screenshot of Tufugu YouTube video)

and showing a commentary on a match.

Tofugu – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gVlgbBDF6C0

Tofugu also has several other very short match videos, this one shows the moment of flag capture in the final seconds after a fairly stalemate 3 minute match

Trans World Sport YouTube feature

Yukigassen Alaska


How is this game played?

Yukigassen – Yukigassen International referee rules


●Each team consists of 7 players and 3 substitute players. The 7 on-court player positions are 4 Forwards and 3 Backcourts.

●Each set lasts 3 minutes; the first team to win 2 sets wins

●Each team gets 90 snowballs per a set

●Players are eliminated when hit by a snowball on the fly (a direct hit)

●The team that eliminates more of the opposition’s players or captures the opposing team’s flag wins the set

Finnish Yukigassen site with rough rules in English


Map of the Yukigassen court showing shields or snow wall blockades, castles / chateaux and flags.

Luckily the scout Patrol and Yukigassen teams have the same number on the field – easily recreated with eight Pound Store figures on each side.


My try out rules version 1.0



Based on various rules versions below

The Rules Research?


The rules slightly oddly translated in places into English from Finnish or Japanese or both. [I have added some of my own notes in square brackets].

I will use these to make a rough set of simple Yukigassen game rules for the Tabletop, once I have worked out simple ways to mimic:

  • the restricted ammunition source
  • split the 3 minutes up into suitable number of turns – say maybe 20 game turns representing 9 seconds each or 30 representing 6 seconds each of the snowball fight?


A team is made up of one Captain and 9 registered players. Of the 9 players, 7 are active players and 2 are designated as substitutes.

The Captain can join his team as a player. In the beginning of the series there has to be 7 players in the field and 3 [of these] are women [in co-ed or mixed games?]

Main rule

The purpose of the game is hit the opposing team member by snowballs.


The standard time for one period is 3 minutes (3 periods [per] / game). The time passed until the resumption of the period does not count as part of actual period time.

The first team to win two  periods wins [the] game.

Team Information

… Teams can only use named players during the tournament. You can change the [op]position of the players freely between sections …


The snowballs will be made [‘by hand’ power] by the special machine [manual mould.

90 snowballs [per]/ period each side and 270 snowballs [per]/ game from each side. [That’s 540 snowballs in play over the three turns?]

Making snowballs starts 30 minutes before the game, and team has 15 minutes time to do snowballs.


Helmet afficed with head and face protection are compulsory  and number tickets [tabards] will be given by the organizer. Shoes may not have spikes.

Costume and team flag

Team shall wear similar costume. Team flag shall be made of cloth and be 50cm height and 1m length. Flag poles shall be 2m length


Each player takes care of his own insurance!


The best teams (1-3) will be awarded. Other awards include: Best Costume and Best Fair Play.

Winning, losing and point accumulation

1. A team wins section, if within the allotted time they capture (pull out) the opponents flag.

2.  A team wins section, if within the allotted time all of the members of the opposing team are declared out. 

3. If time runs out before a winner has been decided, the team with the most players left on the court is declared winner.

4.  If time runs out before a winner has been decided, and each team has the same number of players remaining, the period is declared a tie.


1. The team which captures an opponent’s flag is awarded 10 points. The losing team is awarded no points. (10-0)

2.  A team which wins by all members of the opposing team being declared “out” is awarded 7 points. The losing team is awarded no points. (7-0)

3. If time runs out with no flag being captured, each team is awarded  1 point for every team  member still left playing. (for example 6-5)

Declaring the winner and loser of a match

1. The first team to win two periods wins the match. In the event that three periods are played, and two of the periods end in ties, the winner of the one decided period wins the match.

2.  If both teams tie in the third period, total points for the three periods will be calculated and the team with the most points will be declared the winner.

3. If both teams tie in the third period, and at the end of the third period the points total for the match are the same, a winner  will be decided by a winning throw (WT).

[This target knockdown is the Yukigassen Snowball ‘penalty shootout without goalie’ equivalent of football]

4. The method for the WT is as follows: a target is placed on the chateau and each team chooses in the last period on the field being five players, from which at least two women. (principal: man-woman-man-woman-man).

From just behind the back line, teams altenate having one of  their players at a time to throw one snowball at the target.

The team with the most knockdowns off the target of the chateau wins.

5. If the play is still after that a tie, teams choose one man player and the one who hits first to target wins the whole battle. The thrower cannot be one who has thrown before.

6. If the play is still a tie, teams choose one woman player to throw and the principal is the same as in above (point 5).

7. If the play after all is still a tie, teams choose one player and the throws continues as long as  either of teams hit the target. In this stage the thrower can be the same all the time. 

The winner of the WT get one section point [into an overall campaign or league?]



Yukigassen Snowball games can also be played with heavy fake snowballs and wooden or sand shelters in unsnowy places such as beaches and parks.

Or on a tabletop with plastic figures, once we have trialled some rough rules …?

Try out rules version 1.0


Watch this space!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9/10 August 2021

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s