Punch Buggy
The Official Rules

Copyright © 2002, 2010 D.A.Kenney

As I've mentioned elsewhere on this site I've been playing Punch Buggy for at least Thirty-Four over Forty-Two Years. That makes me somewhat of an expert on the subject, at least in my opinion...

Regarding the game of Slug Bug the rules are the same. Slug Bug is simply Punch Buggy by another name. It's rather like 'tonic' 'soda' and 'pop'. What you call it depends on where you grew up. Personally I refuse to grow up, but that's neither here nor there...

There may be other car punching games out there, but this is The Original.

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First let's define exactly what constitutes a Punch Buggy:

A Punch Buggy is:
1. A vintage Volkswagen 'Type 1' or 'Standard' Beetle
2. A vintage Volkswagen Super Beetle, such as my Fritz
3. Any of the 'Beetlesque' coach-builts such as a Hebmuller
--- or Karmann Cabriolet (the Classic Convertible)
4. A non-German air-cooled Beetle of more recent manufacture
5. A modified but still recognizable Beetle based on any of the above
6. A Volkswagen New Beetle, such as my Galileo. Yes, they do count.

A Punch Buggy is NOT:
1. Any Beetle modified beyond recognizability such as a Bradly GT or a HumBug
2. A non-Beetlesque coach-built such as the extremely rare Rometsch.
--- This would also include any other cars built on a Beetle pan that
--- look nothing like a Beetle, such as a Volkswagen Type 181 “Thing”
--- and its WWII predecessor the Kübelwagen.
3. Or any other product of Volkswagen beyond those listed as qualifying above
--- regardless of what some high paid marketing consultant may want you to believe!
--- For example: Thunder, as cool as he is, is clearly not a Punch Buggy.

One of the allures of playing Punch Buggy has always been that Punch Buggies, by their very nature, are a) readily identifiable as such and b) somewhat uncommon. That right there is a large part of what makes looking for them fun! If you insist on expanding the game to allow any old (or new for that matter) Volkswagen to quality, then you may as well play TickleMe Toyota. There are so many of them around the only challenge would be NOT getting bored and giving up on the game entirely. Or you could wind up hitting each other so much that Punch Buggy gets banned just like Dodge Ball!

If you insist on playing a game that allows punching for other cars besides bona fide Punch Buggies then you are not really playing Punch Buggy. And besides, since so many of the others look like Toyotas how can you tell the difference?

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Standard Game
Now that we have established what a Punch Buggy is - what do you do when you see one?

You say "Punch Buggy" while simultaneously belting the person you're with on the shoulder. Not hard. Just enough to make contact felt. It is not necessary to add "no punch back" when calling a Punch Buggy. Punch-backs are verboten (not allowed) and will cost you one point for each punch thrown - not to mention show you up as a spoilsport and may get you grounded.

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One point is awarded to the first person who calls it for each Punch Buggy seen. If you wrongly identify a car as a Punch Buggy and call it, one point is deducted from you score. If you have already hit the person with whom you're playing and then the misidentification is confirmed the person wrongly Punch Buggied may at his discretion double punch the offender immediately or he may save the mis-punch until the next time you have a legitimate Punch Buggy and he can 'take the hit away from you.' To do that the victim of the misidentification and hit says "Save it for later." The next time you spot a legitimate Punch Buggy you can still call it however you are banned from following through with a hit. If you forget and hit anyway you forfeit the game and the other guy wins.

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Time Outs
You have the option of being a party pooper and calling a time out. This will suspend a game in progress, which may be resumed at a later time. However you may NOT call "Time in - Punch Buggy - Time out!" all in one sentence just as you see a punch buggy. This will result in a fine of twenty-five (25) points for the first infraction and your parents get to choose how much the fine goes up for each additional infraction. You may also be risking great bodily harm depending on with whom you're playing...

Any and all Volkswagen Dealerships are automatically on time out as are all of the cars on the lot. When a Punch Buggy drives off the lot, as they all must sooner or later, it has exited the 'zone of disallowance' and is fair game. Punch Buggies on non-Volkswagen car lots are not under this restriction. So if there's a used car lot down the street with three used New Beetles on the lot - go for it! This is called the Punch Buggy Prime Directive. Violating this rule will get you in deep do-do.

Note: Punch Buggies being moved from a car-carrier parked in the street in front of a Volkswagen dealership to the lot or vice-versa may or may not be fair game. This remains tied up in the rules comity. A decision is expected any day now...

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The "NON-CONTACT" version of Punch Buggy
It is possible to play a non-contact version of Punch Buggy. The rules are exactly the same as for the conventional game with the exception that you don't get to hit the person you're playing with. This can be advisable if there are only two of you playing and the other person is driving. Getting hit while you're driving could be bad. Another time when you may choose to play the non-contact version would be on a school field trip where the authorities (teachers, bus monitors, or whatever) may not be Punch Buggy friendly. Use your best judgment here. I will not be held liable for you getting grounded on the bus instead of seeing the National Air and Space Museum or where ever else you may be going because the bus monitor thought you were getting too rowdy. OK?

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The Punch Buggy in the Family
The ‘owner’ of a Punch Buggy and members of the owner’s household may not be punched for a Punch Buggy that is a member of their family.* Likewise, others cannot be punched by the ‘owner’ or any member of the owner’s household for the family Punch Buggy. However, anyone who is not a member of the Punch Buggies immediate family are allowed to punch each other, provided all of the other rules of the game are being adhered to. So your annoying cousins from back east are allowed to punch each other for your Punch Buggy, but they can’t punch you and you can’t punch them (no matter how much you may want to…) if the Punch Buggy in question is a member of your household.

* You don’t really “own” a Punch Buggy. You adopt them and they become members of the family. If you have a Punch Buggy in the family you will understand what I mean…

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A Note of Caution
Have fun, don't hit anyone harder than you want to be hit, and don't make too much noise. Dad doesn't like too much noise from the back seat while he's driving! ;-)

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The Rules - 2002 Archive Edition
Just a quick link to the Original 2002 Edition of Punch Buggy: The Official Rules.

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