Hot Peas and Butter is a game of suspense, strategy, cruelty and misery. In the end it is a game, but a painful and life-like one. Ok, without further ado, let’s move on to the ludo.
The game is known to be popular, according to various sources on the web, in NYC Ghettos, in Spain, and South America. We can confirm that it is (or was) widely played in Asia Minor as well.
Where and when it originated and how come it was spread around the world, as for many games, is a curious question.
Hot Peas and Butter is for at least five players. All you need is a belt. If you don’t have a belt, you can also play with a cable or an extension cord. It is played typically outdoor, for
example in a park or square. So ideally with as many players as possible, in a wide open area. But it is also possible to play it indoors if you have an area spacious enough, or you are playing
with a small group.
Gameplay: First an area big enough for everyone to fit in/around is chosen as ‘the base’. It can be a tree, a circle on the ground, a couch, etc. The base will serve as the starting location
of the game, and as the safe area at the end. One is chosen as the It, a.k.a the Witch. It hides the belt. Then the search for the belt starts when It yells the magic words: Hot Peas and Butter
Come and Get Your Supper! The It guides the group of searchers by constantly saying aloud who is “hot” or near the belt and who is “cold” or far away from it. Various other degrees such as
freezing, warm, very hot, boiling can be used to indicate the distance to the belt. When things get really really ‘hot’, it means that the climax of the game is just around the corner. Once the
belt is found, the belt holder shouts “hot peas and butter!” and is to whip and thrash the other players (except the It) until they run and reach to the base. The violent rush, and hence the
round comes to an end when everyone is safe at the base. The belt holder becomes the new It, hides the belt, and the game continues the same way. Nothing is the same as before the game though.
Sometimes a player who spots the belt does not reveal that he/she found it. Instead he/she lets the It keep yelling “you are very hot, you are on fire” and waits for others to come close with
the hope of finding the belt. And when there are more players around, this daredevil picks the belt and starts whipping others as they rush back to the base. So players often display one of the
two common tendencies when things start to get hot: either move towards the ‘hot spot’ to find the belt, or stay closer to the base to play safe. In any case, faking to have found the belt is
always fun to terrorize others.
Notwithstanding all good but cruel fun, it should be borne in mind that hitting with a belt, especially with the buckle, in areas such as the head or back can obviously be very dangerous. So
it is good advise to agree on restrictions beforehand and stick to those rules throughout the game. Never forget that the purpose just to have fun and laugh at the expense of giving and receiving
a whip or two.