The Ultimate Battle Top Championship of the Universe will take place for the first time at the National Yo-yo Contest in Chico California this year, and I spent the weekend figuring out some of the details with my friends in Chicago. I was lucky enough to have a gig in Mount Prospect IL the same weekend that Alan Gray and family made their annual pilgrimage to visit the Wolff family in Chicago. Eric Wolff and Alan Gray are superstars in the top-spinning community and they individually made the two best tops in my arsenal.

Alan came up with the idea that if everyone in the contest had the same tops then it would be a contest of skill rather than a contest of who bought the best top. So he and Eric set about making several prototypes of the new battle top.

Alan with the afternoon’s work.

Eric, Alan and I all have slightly different ideas of what this contest should be about. Here are my two goals for the contest:

  1. It should be fun. i.e.: Not boring. Sometimes battletop contests get a little slow when you end up just standing around waiting to see who’s top is going to slow down and fall over first.
  2. There should be mayhem and destruction. When old-timers come up after my show to talk tops they often tell me about how they used to split tops in two when they would battle as kids. That sounds awesome to me… AND I recently learned the deadly overhand throw.

Eric’s son Woody came up with a good scoring system, and we all fleshed-out the tentative rules:

  • Everyone throws at once, and there are multiple rounds.
  • You can only score points if your top ends up spinning in the arena.
  • If you knock another top out of the arena (or hit it and keep it from entering in mid-air) you get a point.
  • If you land the tip of your top on the crown of another top you get two points.
  • If you break another top (or break a chunk off) with your top you get 5 points.
  • The tops that are spinning in the arena get points according to which ones spin the longest. If three tops are spinning in the arena, the first one to die gets one point. The second one gets two points, and the third one gets three points. If there are 10 tops spinning in the arena, it is the same point progression all the way up to the last one to stop spinning, which gets 10 points. If no one lands in the arena, no points are won.
  • Before the first round you decide on the winning total number of points. The number of players times 3 seems like a good recommendation.

This scoring system makes the game exciting, but it basically eliminates my favorite goal. There is very little mayhem and destruction. One possibility is that there could be a separate division that is just about the destruction, but I’m hoping that some of the other top spinners have more ideas. Please leave a comment if you do.