For some reason, Chris and I never taught our girls how to play Slugbug.
It may have been because, as parents, we’re not inclined to teach our children anything that involves hitting the nearest person. Maybe. We have nothing against the game when played by civilized people; we still play it with each other, just quietly in the front seat, but we've never bothered to fill the girls in on what we were doing.
However, as kids do, they eventually learned the rules from their friends. Or, rather, they learned their friends’ version of the rules.
My family growing up was pretty non-violent, as families go. Our version of Slugbug involved simply shouting “Slugbug!” whenever you saw one, but there was no actual slugging. I don’t remember if this was the result of an ultimatum by my parents, or if this was just how we had always played it. (As a side note, there was a car in the town where I grew up that was painted to look just like Herbie. Seeing that car was the highlight of our day. In fact, before we knew about Slugbug, we called VW Bugs "Herbie cars".)
Chris’s family was considerable less non-violent (he has more brothers than I do, and at least one sister who’s not afraid to join the ruckus), and their version did involve slugging, along with hollering the color of the slugbug.
Vicki’s friend’s rules include the slugging and the color-shouting, with the additional rule that you are allowed to call “No tag-backs!” on the person you slug. This means they’re not allowed to slugbug you again for...an unclear period of time. But at least not during that car journey. You are also allowed, apparently, to slug someone upon sighting a convertible, any convertible – doesn’t have to be a Bug – once per day.
In general, the version we play consists of someone yelling “Slugbug yellow! (or blue or red or whatever)” and soft-slugging someone else, usually me. They always gang up against me, unless Dad is in the car.
I refuse to call “no tag-backs” and ignore my children when they do it, but Vicki insists on it. Lexi picks and chooses her rules according to her mood at the time, and Ellie tags us for both Slugbugs and PT Cruisers. But she always adds “No tags back!”
There are, apparently, a set of official rules for this game (although I’d like to know under what authority this guy claims to be “official”.) But despite that, it’s clear that everyone has their own version.
So, the logical question is: how do *you* play Slugbug?
***Additional question, suggested by Lolee: do you call it "Slugbug", or "Punch Buggy", or something else entirely?