Spleef is one of many popular player-invented games played in Minecraft. The overall objective is to be the last player standing. The name is a play on the word grief as the game involves destroying blocks.
Typically, Spleef games take place in a stadium, or elevated surface which consists of a generally large platform of blocks, known as the Spleef block. The platform is usually surrounded by a building for people to spectate.
The goal is to destroy blocks on the platform near or under the opponent to cause them to fall, while avoiding suffering that fate yourself. Those who fall from the platform lose the round, and can fall into a pit, lava, or many other cruel fates designed by the stadium constructors. In some variations the losers fall onto additional platforms to play for second place. Creating blocks during the playing of Spleef is not usually allowed, except in variations. The time Spleef matches take depends on the size of the stadium, and Spleef can be played individually or on teams.
Spleef has a few basic rules to ensure a fair experience without being too restrictive, but as with many activities, rules vary greatly from one server to another.
- Creating blocks between the game's start and end is forbidden.
- Creating or destroying blocks after you have lost the round is not allowed.
- The losers must replace the blocks that were deleted during the game after the round is over. (Optional, occasionally a script is used instead)
- If players have entered a stalemate and are all on separate "islands," and unable to access each other to continue play, either the person with the most space wins, or the arena is reset to continue play. Usually, the latter will only happen in arenas that use a script to reset the play field.
- Hitting players is against the rules, except in variations.
Making a spleef arena
Depending on the type of server you're running, there are many possibilities and allow for different construction methods.
If you're using the Minecraft Vanilla server software, then designing and maintaining a stadium as a server operator can be fairly easy, and you have a variety of building options. For the actual arena surface, most basic arenas will use dirt, as it is easy to repair and can be destroyed almost instantly by shovels, making it a decent spleefing surface. Sometimes, stadium constructors will opt for another block, such as snow, glass, clay blocks, and sometimes even TNT, as it can be destroyed instantly by your hand and doesn't ignite when destroyed with any tools or your hand. Putting TNT and Water under it, giving a player Flint and Steel makes it faster too.
According to common official dimensions, a Spleef arena should be 50 x 100 blocks of snow with optional rounded corners. Spleef players should have diamond shovels (optionally enchanted) to ensure fast block destruction.
Walls surrounding the arena are usually made to prevent players from falling off the block, or evading gameplay. The walls can be made with hard to mine materials, such as cobblestone, brick, or even obsidian. The arena building, or stadium could be made with a roof of glass depending on the biome the structure is located in, to prevent snow or rain from interfering with gameplay. Most of the time, arenas are surrounded with towers or buildings, or other elevated ground for spectators to watch the game.
The pit is usually just a stone pit below the arena, with a tunnel or stairway out for losers to ascend to the spectating level to watch the rest of the game. Alternatively, as another passive option for losers, a water pit can be added. Many stadium builders use a lava pit instead as a more intimidating consequence for losing, and to make playing the game a lot more fun. Chests are usually placed around the stadium and filled with shovels, and are also to let participants store their valuables so they don't lose them if they lose.
Due to the flexible nature of spleef, the gamemode can be altered in many ways. Some of these involve incorporating gameplay elements such as fire, explosions, lava, leaf decay and creepers. Some restrict your health and prevent you from jumping, others have multiple layers, mazes, redstone contraptions, withers and more. Bows are sometimes used to destroy the ground. Games of spleef can be played riding horses or pigs, or even with some players invisible. The game can also be played in reverse where a person below removes the floor from the players.
Spleef was started on a server before June 23, 2009 soon after the Classic Multiplayer Creative Mode release. According to the first wiki entry, the rules and name were created by Greenslimy, Pentaclam and Maulrus. It first gained popularity after Notch blogged about this article on his Tumblr. Soon after, a plethora of spleef servers and variations sprung up. Spleef instantly caught on in Minecraft Classic, while slowly also gaining popularity in Alpha, which soon became Beta. It is considerably popular in the latest version of Minecraft today, with almost every major public server having some sort of Spleef arena.
It is questionable, but it could have started as a port from Blockland to minecraft. In 2004, in Blockland was a "spleef" where you would throw spears at the blocks and they would disappear, thus killing anyone on them. Someone who played this may have re-created it in Minecraft and others started doing it too.
Tron 2.0 featured a similar game mode in 2002, with opposing teams using the Tron disc to destroy platforms on either side of a chasm.