1. Aussie rules
> Most popular in: Australia
Aussie rules, or Aussie rules football, or “footy,” is, as the name suggests, primarily, but not exclusively, played in Australia. Its closest cousin in terms of rules is rugby, but footy is played on a larger, oval field (rather than a rectangular one) and has 18 players per side, compared to the 15 per side in rugby. While players are allowed to grab and throw the ball in rugby, they can only punch it or kick it in Aussie rules.
> Most popular in: Japan
Bo-Taoshi is similar to capture the flag, only far more dangerous. Originally designed as a training routine for the Japenese military, the game is played by opposing 75 person teams. One team attempts to lower the pole to a 30 degree angle before the other team is able to reach a goal with the pole remaining upright.
> Most popular in: Afghanistan
Buzkashi is the national sport of Afghanistan. It is played on horseback and bears some similarities to soccer or rugby in that two teams are trying to score a goal, and these teams create formations to maintain possession. But there is one major difference — the object used to score is not a ball, but the decapitated corpse of a goat.
Buzkashi was temporarily made illegal during the reign of the Taliban, but was reinstated after the regime’s ouster.
4. Caber toss
> Most popular in: Scotland
The caber toss is a traditional Scottish game in which participants compete to flip a 9.5-foot, 175-pound pole end over end and have it land standing straight up. The game is a test of both power and finesse.
5. Calcio fiorentino
> Most popular in: Florence, Italy
The boundaries of what can be considered a sport are truly pushed at the calcio fiorentino, the annual competition held at the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. The game involves teams from four Florence neighborhoods, who attempt to move a ball into each other’s goals. Allowed to use any means necessary, they will literally beat each other up to gain an advantage.