Rules Of Play: Jungle Mania Pong

Camp Business reader Philip Geissal submitted this how-to-play guide for "Jungle Mania Pong," a game that stemmed from the old ping pong tables at camp.

"Jungle Mania Pong is a game for all ages and sexes, where ever a group of six to twelve is assembled.  The group size can vary, and the playing area and equipment dictate the number of participants to some degree.  The age of participants playing at the same time can again vary.

Jungle Mania Pong can be used as an element in staff training or other training programs currently on the market, where the participants are exercising their thought process with a positive thinking activity.

Equipment needed for Jungle Mania Pong is probably around and certainly not on the expensive side of the equation. First you will need a table surface to play on that can be placed roughly in the middle area of a room. The table top should have four feet of clearance around the sides at a minimum, as you will see later any added space will be used to make things run a bit smoother.  The floor surface should be concrete, wood, tile, or other surface that will be solid enough so that the ping pong ball will bounce. For a table, you can use a ping-pong table without a net (this is a great game to utilize those old ping-pong tables no longer viable) a folding banquet table, even a dining room table.

It is strongly recommended that the table be placed in a room where enthusiastic play can take place.  Inside or outside is only dictated by the space available and of course the weather.

The first step – all players form a circle around the table and then starting with a player with the designation of one, or first, in the order of play you then number around the circle in a clockwise manner to determine the order of play.  At the start each player will follow the person on their right to make their play of the ping pong ball back to the tabletop for the player on their left to play. As play continues, each player is allowed three mistakes prior to their elimination in the round.  “P-O-N-G” are the letters used to keep individual scores, when  players reach “G,” they are eliminated.  At this point the next player in numerical order continues the play.  When play moves around to the vacant spot the player next in line must step up and fill the spot with their play to continue the circle.

Now to the play of the game – the first player drops the ping pong ball on the floor and after the bounce uses a lift/hit from below the waist to place the ball on the table top.  The next player in order must wait for the ball to come off the table and hit the floor, after the bounce they must lift/hit from below waist level the ball back to the table top.  The play continues in order until the designated player misses the ball, the ping pong ball bounces twice on the floor, or the player misses the table top in their play.

Scoring - the letters “P-O-N-G” are used to keep score for each player who keeps track of his/her score or the score is registered on a scoreboard if available.  The player missing the play at their designated time receives a penalty letter “P-O-N” or “G” for the missed play.  With a “P-O” or “N” the player gets to continue playing and will start the game over by bouncing the ball on the floor and a lift/hit from below the waist to get the ball back in play on the tabletop.  When the player arrives at the “G” they are out of the game and give the ball to the next player in order to start the game again to continue the elimination process that arrives at the ultimate winner.  If any player starting or restarting the game, initially or during play, misses the table top that player will receive a letter “P-O-N or G’ added to their score and will try again, unless they are at “G” where they will be eliminated and play will continue with the next player.  Should the ball happen to come to a stop on the table top, the player who made the play to place it there will blow on the ball is some direction so that it will fall off the table for the next player to continue the game.

Paddles - it will be best that every player have their own ping pong paddle, however often this is just not possible with 10 to 12 players.  At least five or six paddles are needed for the group to use. With fewer paddles than players, a workable solution is that after a player completes a play, they set their paddle on an assigned chair, TV table, or other designated spot or spots some five feet from the table edge, where the next player can pick up a paddle for their turn in the game.

The greatest joy in Jungle Mania Pong is the flexibility of the gamesmanship, as it is very playable by groups of all ages and even a mixture of ages. The game does not take a highly tuned athlete-- rather individuals of all skills may enjoy and do well at the game.

Finally, Jungle Mania Pong most often does not require an investment in much more than ping pong balls.  The rest of the stuff is usually around the camp. Most of us have the surface, often old ping pong tables, and even some old beat-up paddles that will work great. Enjoy!"