Cambridge Safer Spaces Waterfighting (CSSW) Rules

0   Introduction to What We Do

0.1   We fight around Cambridge with waterpistols.

0.2   We are dedicated to being inclusive of everyone who turns up to play in a safe and friendly manner.

0.3   We have spare weaponry that people can borrow at the battles.

0.4   We have two types of rules: Frivolous Rules of Combat and Serious Rules.

1   Frivolous Combat Rules

1.1   Basic Combat

1.1.1   Weapons We Use

1.1.2   How to Kill People

1.1.3   Exceptions

1.1.4   Bystanders and Accomplices

1.1.5   This ruleset is also used by Duelly CakeFaeries.

2   Serious Rules

2.1   Some of the most Important Rules

2.2   Safety and Security

‘Trouble’, ‘nuisance’, 'harmless’, and ‘at all likely to cause injury or material damage’ are assessed as risk rectangles: (likelihood) x (consequences). For instance, consequences include how much material damage, and, among injuries, place much more weight on those which may be permanent: eye safety, traffic accidents... This means that some Safety and Security Rules consider very likely occurrences with relatively minor consequences, but also highly unlikely occurrences with very bad consequences. Additionally, if a group setting up a toy weapons society only thinks in terms of likely occurrence events and very bad consequence events, rather than in term of risk, they would likely miss out comparable risks which are 'square’: somewhat less severe consequences for occurrences that are unfortunately somewhat likely.
  • Remember that while you might know a weapon or action is safe, members of the public may not. Do not cause alarm.
  • CSSW do Not kill/shoot at/scare/annoy bystanders and always promptly and respectfully leave premises from which they are asked to leave. Look like and act like a civilized human being :) We do not cause any actual worries to bystanders, by which our game remains tolerable. Remember: the line of fire between you and your opponent includes the area behind the opponent that is in range also...
  • CSSW’s activities are based on what happens to work whilst staying within the corresponding Friendliness Rules and within what the Public and the Police tolerate. And not on things like ‘what looks good’ or ‘what better approximates real-life violent situations with real guns’. We are not about pretending the fighting is real and not about being realistic in any detail.
  • Be aware that both the security forces and the public are particularly easily alarmed at present. Avoid behaviour that may cause you to be mistaken for a criminal, let alone a terrorist: do not wear a balaclava or other suspicious clothing; do not unnecessarily bear weapons in public (to and from Events); remember that even toy guns can look real in the dark or on CCTV; where possible, do not lurk suspiciously; be particularly cautious anywhere outside central Cambridge, where university people and societal activities are less common.
  • You are strongly encouraged to hoard opaque carrier bags and keep some in your handbag, backpack, coat pocket etc as very portable cover for emergencies, as well as usually keeping your gun in such a bag. You are also strongly encouraged to not use two or three foot long water guns in urban battles, unless you have the means and discipline to hide such awkward things when and where prudent.
  • At present, when we fight in streets, we don’t allow Melee Weapons or Rubber Band Guns. These are OK in parkland battles.
  • No firing darts into traffic, or into the river, or within range of bystanders. No littering by losing or leaving behind substantial amounts of ammo...
  • 2.2.1   Out of Bounds areas

    CSSW only meets in terrains selected by experienced Safety and Security Officials, so it doesn’t presently require a long Out of Bounds (OOB) list. They’ll mention any places within or next to the area in question that are Out of Bounds.

    2.3   Weapons Safety

    Don’t use any toy guns that the Police, the Public or the Organisers consider to look like real guns. Don’t use any weapons that bruise or are eye-unsafe. (We take bruising to mean that there’s any mark at all half an hour after the shot or later). By both of the preceding, actual weapons, BB guns, pellet guns, Airsoft guns and paintball guns are banned.

    2.3.1   Water Weapon Safety

    We presently disallow darts as a default . But can issue permits for licenced dartgunners as part of some challenges: the regular participants would there have to deal with being strafed with nerf darts as well as whatever else :) Licensed dartgunners have to have read all of our rules (general conduct and safety rules as well as dart-specific rules).

    2.3.2   Eye Safety

    As eyes are possibly the most vulnerable part of the body, a weapon’s potential damage to an eye limits the weaponry we use. Wearing safety masks/paintball googles is not an option because, firstly, we fight in places which can have bystanders, who then obviously don’t have eye protection. Secondly, by choice. Other groups do that elsewhere (usually requiring motorized transport and fees). But our activity is free, uses nearby accessible public locations, where we use safe and unalarming weaponry well within what the public tolerates. This choice of setting, toys and being within what the public tolerates, is important for many of our Safer Space purposes and so is an unalterable part of our Society.
    By one or more of the above, e.g. the Nerf Rival series, the WipeOut gun, the Buzz Bee Ultra Tek Sentinel, the Xploderz water-pellet gun and the Dart Zone Scorpion are disallowed.

    2.3.3   Melee Weapons Safety

    2.3.4   Banned Weapons

    2.4   General Safety

  • You participate in CSSW at your own risk, including that of any property you turn up with, right down to your pet goldfish!
  • Nobody else is responsible for stopping you from doing something silly and getting yourself hurt (though we'll do our best to help you!) It's up to you and your own knowledge of your abilities to determine what you're capable of and okay with doing. If you jump in the river, or throw yourself to the ground in an elaborate but leg-breaking fashion, then it's your own fault. If you are injured or tired or feel unwell, you should remove yourself from play and / or tell an organiser. Use common sense.
  • If you have a condition or circumstance that may cause a safety issue but still wish to play, consider informing the organisers so they can tell everyone how to keep you safe. We're willing to be discreet and we don't ask why :)
  • To avoid falls, always wear appropriate footwear, especially if it is muddy or icy. Falls hurt more onto concrete, which is part of why we don't use melee weapons in the urban setting.
  • You must take the traffic seriously as a place not to fight through, stand in, or run through.
  • You have the right to opt out of carrying around heavy equipment during a CSSW event. This includes not using any weapon you're not comfortable handling! We will usually establish a 'base camp' that at least one of us will always remain in sight of. (Valuables are left there at your own risk.)
  • We fight all year round in many different types of weather! If it is cold, remember to dress warmly. If it's rainy, bring a waterproof coat and / or an umbrella. If it is sunny, consider sunscreen and sunglasses. Spare weather-appropriate accessories will often be brought along by the organisers on days when the climate is somewhat extreme.
  • 2.5   The Safer Spaces Mission Statement

    2.5.1   " A person is upset if they say they are, and without having to say why. Apologies are expected, as are non-repeats of what caused it."

    We are explicitly a Safer Space. Our Mission Statement and the Safer Space rules shared across all of our societies are here. Please read, understand, and respect it if you wish to participate in our activities.

    2.5.2   Some Interpretations Relevant to CSSW

    2.6   Using ‘SafeOut’

    2.6.1   In the unlikely event that you know or feel that there is a breach of Serious Rules during a CSSW encounter, the immediate way to deal with it is by clearly stating the word "SafeOut".

    1. SafeOut stops all play until all participants present understand why it was evoked and that the reason for it no longer applies.
    2. SafeOut covers all Safety and Security matters, most commonly traffic or bystanders.
    3. SafeOut also covers Common Decency, Friendliness and Inclusion matters.
    4. SafeOut moreover includes "SafeOut: one of us is causing it". "A person is upset if they say they are, and without having to say why. Apologies are expected, as are non-repeats of what caused it." is our motto when dealing with internal issues caused by our own members. This and Rules 2.6.2-4 are Safer Space rules.

    2.6.2   SafeOut is the most significant practical rule in the entire set: if there is any Serious Rules problem, immediately freeze play and nip it in the bud.

    2.6.3   SafeOut can solely be used to defend oneself and not to personally attack anyone else. Like all other Safer Space things, SafeOut is an abuse-free zone. SafeOut's is to ensure that anybody causing upset, deliberately or otherwise, backs off and apologizes. And that there are no repeats of what caused it.

    2.6.4   You may not ignore or trivialise current or past SafeOuts, nor hold them against anyone in any way (e.g. gossiping or joking about it after the fact). In fact, it is technically possible to be banned from the Safer Spaces solely for disrespecting a SafeOut.

    2.7   Disclaimer

    Whilst we seldom need to use it, our Disclaimer is entirely and immutably part of the serious rules.

    3   Unsure Events

    Most usually, a person can check if they have left watermarks on another, without either being shot at in the process. Sometimes further discussion is required.

    3.6.1   Further principles of this are as follows.

    3.6.2   Any use of loudness, strength of personality or refusal to ask for or listen to others’ opinion are unacceptable at our activities. People feeling they’re being out-louded etc are to know they have explicit right to take the uncertain event to the Organizer, especially if they couldn’t voice their own opinion at all.

    3.6.3   The practical procedure for dealing with unsure events are as follows:

    3.6.4   Discussions are based on probable ballistics (and probable dodging, blocking) and not on assertions, repetitions, getting louder or name-calling. Probable means reasonably repeatable.

    3.6.5   Common scenarios in an unsure event and their usual resolutions:

    3.6.6   The final outcome of a friendly unsure events discussion often takes one of the following forms:

    1. All People involved’s accounts agree, or one party is freely willing to concede that there is actually strong evidence against enough of their suggestion of what happened, or one party does not want to go through the process of discussion for unspecified personal reasons and is happy to withdraw their claim because of this. Then the prevailing account is the Accepted Truth (distinct from the actual truth) and is not to be subjected to further counter-claims, whinging etc.
    2. If not, in the event of each person involved having probable ballistics(dodging/blocking) points that don’t concur, use balance of probabilities to determine the Accepted Truth.
    3. If that’s not enough either, the Organizers will adjudicate unbiasedly when possessing an account from all people involved in the incident. All Participants will likewise abide by this Accepted Truth. The Organizers also have license to reverse or nullify an agreed truth between Players if the latter overlooked any serious rules breaches.
    4. The Optional Duel Ruel. Some Battles or Rounds’ Rulesets allow for participants to mutually agree to duel over an unsure event. This generally applies to rarer situations than who has been shot as told by watermark. Because such duels can be lengthy, this is most suited to when they’re the last two alive, and should elsewise be set up to be quick affairs with equal weapons (e.g. on very small pieces of ground, and certainly face-to-face rather than hiding). It may also help if duellists keep on saying ‘duel’ or put their team headbands round their arm so as to not be interrupted by other participants. This duelling rule will not always be in use, for some days we may well wish for many quick rounds. If a battle’s last two participants are in a duel that looks to last any length of time, the other participants are entitled to start the next round or to pair up for their own quick duels on adjacent but non-obstructing grouns, or accepting these may end in a draw when the actual duel. They may also act as unbiased corner judges for the duel. The duel’s outcome then becomes the Accepted Truth for the original event.
    The concept of an Accepted Truth is distinct from an actual truth in that players can still have a sincere belief that a different scenario occurred, but must still abide by the results of the Accepted Truth. They are not required to admit they were wrong, but they are not allowed to insist they were right either. In scenarios where this disconnect occurs, the proper procedure is for everyone involved to recognise that it’s Only a Game and furthermore that there aren’t really any consequences for dying here, and to put the dispute behind them and not bring it up again, neither to whine about it, nor to poke fun at it.

    3.6.7   Most importantly, this is a friendly activity, and all unsure events should be resolved in a friendly manner. Regardless of whether you feel the outcome is fair on you, there is no excuse for nastiness towards the other party, the Organisers, or anyone else at the event. Doing such is in breach of the Serious Rules.

    4   Rules Options

    The Organizers may well introduce such, and Participants are welcome to suggest them. The main point of these is ensuring everyone does well at least sometimes. They include walking-only, equal-weapons, staying in sight, extra preparation time, pairs where both die when one is shot, and compensatory balancing rules to even out the field (the more experienced the participant, the lesser the gun, and/or the strongest participants having to walk, hop or start at great disadvantage: such as surrounded, cornered or totally aligned against the wind. In some games people will have multiple lives, and then more experienced participants could start with less. Finally, it could be equal weapons with amount of water given to each in opposite order of experience or of success so far that day. We wish for any such changes between rounds to be brief and understandable by all: a single clear sentence.

    4.6.1   Duelly CakeFaeries' preferred option.

    4.6.2   Rules Options emphasizing Unsure Events Discussions.

    4.6.2   If given more time, we’ll write something here about forms taken by the following fairly common ‘themed’ Frivolous Rules variants.