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Sarophan'tialamenus is a hanar sport, combining dexterity-based gameplay with tactics symbolic of rhetoric and debate.

Sarophan'tialamenus was created by a poet-activist in the hanar pre-contact era, "to teach the young the rudimentary rules of language and politeness through play" (which is in fact the translation of the word 'sarophan'tialamenus', depending on tone and coloration). It has the distinction of being not a game that evolved naturally like other sports, but one designed. It was quickly snapped up by the sects in the new Illuminated Primacy and added into almost every curriculum.

Ball handling

The rules say one is not allowed to "carry" the ball, much like one shouldn't monopolise a whole conversation. However, the exact wording of the relevant rule is "the ball cannot be carried in one tentacle." Being a game for children, a loophole was quickly discovered whereby "juggling" is not an illegal move. It is seen as bad form however, and in professional competitions will influence the referees to give a lower score.

When asked about the rule, the designer said it was intentional, though many believe it was saying that to save face.

Scoring

Scoring is context sensitive: much like how the meaning of a glow of speech depends on the other glows around it, so does the points scored depend on where one's teammates are on the field. This aspect of the sport encourages the use of "wide focus," requiring full use of the 360-degree hanar perceptive range - for instance, were a corner scorer's teammates not in a clear "sportshanar-like" posistion, fewer points would be scored. The amount of points is given by the referees, by pointing the tentacles up, the amount averaged together and rounded down. There is a possible maximum of 6 points in the rules as written, but there has never been a team good enough, or a group of referees lenient enough (at least in the professional version) to score a "perfect six," where all the referees give the maximum six points to a score.

Commentary

Being that sarophan'tialamenus is an abstraction of the debating process, in the professional division players’ movements on the field are only a part of the experience. At any given time, there may be as many as three interpretations of the "argument" in play, and it is the commentators’ responsibility not only to interpret events, but to convince the mediators that their interpretation of events is the strongest.

This in itself plays into the virtual impossibility of receiving the "perfect six," for in a high-quality debate all participants are wholeheartedly involved in the argument. Whether or not they agree with their proposition is immaterial; in their attempt to properly carry out their argument they allow other individuals to consider important points they would have considered to be immaterial. In this context, a perfect six is an unflattering indication that the other commentators failed to put up token defense of their point.

Following

Sarophan'tialamenus is widely (though not universally) followed among hanar, who often first come into contact with the sport as part of their education. The game has also garnered a respectable following amongst drell, initially through simple proximity to hanar, but later through the "mixed doubles" form of the sport allowing drell to participate (mixed doubles sarophan'tialamenus incorporates raised platforms above the water level, to avoid immersion for drell players).

The Kahje-based entertainment and education network IPSPN provides stellarcasts of sarophan'tialamenus games throughout the Illuminated Primacy, and to other major worlds beyond. IPSPN has been criticised on occasion for editing its broadcasts in an effort to appeal to non-hanar by presenting the game as more similar to traditional non-hanar sporting contests - a typical tactic is to broadcast only a single commentary track, rather than the multi-sided commentary debate a hanar audience would expect.

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