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So, you’ve recently invested in a ping pong table for your home’s entertainment center. Chances are, your family and friends have taken to playing it whenever they get a chance. That may be all well and good, but that level of engagement may not last forever.
In time, your family and friends will be looking to change things up and try out some new ping pong table games.
Finding such games for different player age groups can be challenging on your own. But with this guide, you’ll learn about a full assortment of ping pong table games that are sure to be a hit with your party guests and children. Most of them don’t require many extra materials, either, so you can start playing them as soon as the need for a change strikes.
12 Different Ping Pong Games for All Ages
Let’s jump right in and learn all about the great entertainment opportunities you have waiting for you on the surface of your table!
Now, this first game suggestion might not feel groundbreaking. But if you’ve never tried to play doubles at your ping pong table, then you’re really missing out.
Doubles is considered the second most prominent professional style of table tennis (after singles) and requires each player to find a partner that stands beside them on their end. Then, when the ball is served diagonally, each side has two players who must act in unison to return each successive volley. This can be challenging to accomplish at first but can also build teamwork skills over time.
Doubles play is also best suited to a larger, full-size ping pong table. A proper doubles game will also flourish more effectively when both sides have plenty of horizontal space around the table in which to swing their paddle (without hitting their teammate, of course).
Two-handed ping pong is another way to spice up your ping pong play without needing much more than your average ping pong set. To that end, this gameplay style implores players to grip their paddle with both hands and play a singles match accordingly.
This adds a new challenge for seasoned players because their range will have increased, as will their power. As such, each player must adjust their gameplay techniques to ensure successful volleys.
Alternatively, so-called “two-handed” ping pong can also be played with one paddle in each hand. This adds a similar degree of challenge, given that each player will often be required to hit with their non-dominant hand. Willing players can even institute rules that require every other volley to be made with an alternative hand.
Round the World
Round the World has long been a party favorite when at least three ping pong paddles and players are available.
In this game mode, one player starts at each end with a paddle in hand while a third player stands to one side. Then, when one player serves, they step to the far side and allow the third player a chance to turn player two’s volley. From there, player two steps aside while player one takes their place.
This rotating motion continues until the volley ends and a point is scored.
However, you don’t need to limit play in this game to just three players. As many as six can successfully play at once, as long as you have an ample number of available paddles and ample buffer space around your table set up.
You can also add a challenge by requiring each new player to pick up a paddle when they step up to the table.
Ceiling Is the Limit
This game mode acts as a reverse of the traditional ping pong mechanics to a certain degree.
To that end, this game requires you to bounce your volleys off of the ceiling above for it to be considered “fair.” This is in opposition to standard ping pong, which requires each volley to bounce off of the table and clear the net to be considered “fair.”
This ping pong game may not work in every environment, however. Most notably, it cannot be played outdoors. Even indoor play in rooms with a high ceiling may be a challenge. This mode also comes with some risk for ceiling damage if players get a bit too rough with their hits.
Wall pong follows in the same tradition as the previous ping pong game mode.
In essence, this style requires each volley to be bounced off of a nearby vertical surface. In most cases, that would be a nearby wall that has been marked with proper lines. However, some players of this game chose to play with a second, vertically-tilted ping pong table.
Either way, this game mode can add a real challenge to the prospect returning your opponent’s volleys with precision.
Low to the Floor
Low to the Floor is another opportunity to change up the way you play an average game of ping pong.
Specifically, this game mode requires you to lower your ping pong table surface as low to the ground as possible before play commences. Then, players maintain their normal standing position when the match begins.
In effect, this means that each player will need to hit each volley just a bit harder while also bending down slightly to perform each volley.
This is actually a great game mode for competing with kids. That’s because the lowered gameplay surface is more optimal for their height, which gives them a fighting chance against a much taller adult.
If you’ve ever seen the film “Forrest Gump,” then you’ve seen the titular protagonist participating in solitaire ping pong at one point in the movie. Specifically, Gump plays a form of solitaire ping pong where the table is vertically shifted in the middle while the player’s half remains flat.
This allows a player to serve and return volleys at a regular pace without needing a second player to compete against.
Solitaire ping pong is optimized for practice, especially when it comes to timing and power. However, it can also be played for fun at home. In particular, it can be done in an at-home setting by pushing a table up against a wall.
Then, with the right kind of serve, you can get a good volley going all on your own.
Here’s another ping pong game that can help new and seasoned players alike improve their accuracy and placement outside of match play. This is done through the placement of taped hoops across the surface of each player’s side.
These hoops are assigned a point value that is awarded to the player when their volley lands in that ring. In this way, two players can compete for accuracy, rather than through traditional point scoring methods.
Dinosaur-Arms is yet another way to add some zest to a standard round of singles ping pong.
This game mode only requires one adjustment, though. Namely, each player must pull their arms in tight to their chest, with their hands still facing outward and able to grip the paddle. This will resemble a T-Rex and limit each player’s range of movement.
Kids in particular enjoy this game style because of the comical visuals associated with it.
Double serve ping pong is played exactly as it sounds. In other words, two ping pong balls are served at the same time, creating a more hectic scene on the ping pong table. Two or more players are tasked with keeping both balls in motion and scoring off of either.
Most of the challenge from this mode comes from tracking each ball and prioritizing which to hit first.
A round of double serve can be started in two ways. First, one player can serve both balls back to back. This puts more pressure on their opponent to perform immediately. A second method calls for each player to serve one ball at the same time. This tends to create more balanced, yet still chaotic, gameplay.
As any recent college student knows, there’s more that you can do with a ping pong table and a few spare ping pong balls.
For example, you can line up a series of cups on either end of the table and take turns trying to bounce balls into those cups. This is called “beer pong,” primarily because the opponent must consume any liquid within cups they score upon.
However, this game can be made all-ages friendly through the use of juice instead of beer.
With a ping pong table available to you, you’ll also be able to crack out some pretty exciting games of paper football. To do this, you’ll need to first make a paper football triangle of an adequate size. Then, set up one or more “goal posts” at the far end of the table.
Once you’ve set those up, you’re ready to begin competing against friends by flicking the paper football toward the goal posts.
Don’t forget that you have an entire ping pong table to play with as your match progresses. So, you can add some challenge by changing your starting distance or shooting from off-center angles.
As you can see, there’s a lot of games that can be played at a standard ping pong table. In fact, with a little creativity, you can move on from standard singles play in a matter of minutes.
So, the next time your family and party guests are looking to change up the game, point them to this guide. They’re sure to find at least a few alternative ping pong games that will keep them entertained for hours. If you need extra paddles to accommodate extra guests, you can also consider making your own out of cardboard.