A Game of cunning and skill


Gooberball is a recreational sport for two or more players whose fast-pace and unique gameplay make it perfect for mixed group gatherings. It is a good source of exercise, and is entertaining both to play and watch.

Gooberball is played with standard Table Tennis equipment in a room with a hard floor with enough room to run around the table, e.g. a garage or large, tiled living room.


Gooberball is believed to have originated in the mid 1990s in Pennsylvania, although its precise origins are not known.


Gooberball is played on standard Table Tennis equipment with normal rackets (paddles) and balls.

Game play

Starting a game

Gooberball is played with 2 or more players, with 5 to 10 players being ideal.

Before play begins players are ordered arbitrarily, e.g. from 1 to (n). Normally this is done by standing in a circle and each player pointing to his or her right, then advising the players that they are pointing to the person they are after in the rotation. The person holding the ball is player 1.

Player 1 then begins by serving to player 2.


Service is similar to Table tennis, in that the ball is tossed up and hit downward, bouncing off one side of the table, traveling over the net, then hitting the other side of the table. In gooberball, the ball may bounce multiple times on each side of the net, and the serve must be considered easily "returnable", i.e. a novice player should be able to play off the serve. Complicated or fast serves are highly discouraged, and points are generally not scored off of serves unless the receiving player is not paying attention.

If the service is not "good", it is redone; there are no penalties for bad serves.


The receiving player MUST LET THE BALL BOUNCE ONCE OFF THE FLOOR, and then has two options:

  1. Hit the ball back up onto the table, where it need only hit the top of the table; or
  2. Attempt to hit another player with the ball

    1. If the ball hits the top of the table surface, play continues with the following player, who must also let the ball bounce off the floor before doing one of the options above.

      Walls, ceiling, and all obstacles in the room are considered "in bounds" and when hit, play continues.

      During play the table net is simply an obstacle -- the ball needn't go over it. The ball may also bounce several times on the table surface as part of normal play. If the ball stops on the table surface, or is deemed to be rolling too slowly toward the edge, any player may blow the ball toward the edge of the table.

      Whenever a point is assessed, that play is over and the player that received the point then serves the next ball.


      If a ball bounces in such a way as to make it totally unplayable, the point is redone. Note, if the ball bounces strangely off a crack or other obstacle, but would still be playable if the player were in the right position, then it is not considered "unplayable".

      Whether a point is "unplayable" is determined democratically by the other players (including those who are "out").


      Points are bad. If a player does not successfully execute his turn, i.e. they are unable to hit the ball back onto the table or into another player, or if they hit the ball before the required bounce on the floor, they get a point.

      Any player who is hit by the ball gets a point. If several players are hit by a ball from a single hit, they all receive a point, so long as the ball touches both of them before the ball hits the ground. Deflecting the ball does not nullify the point. Even if the ball bounces off a wall or the table surface then strikes a player, that player gets a point.

      Any player who is assessed a point then becomes the server. If multiple people are assessed points, the last person to receive a point serves next.

      Any player who reaches 8 points is out and must leave the game. That player falls out of the ordering, which otherwise remains the same. The player in the rotation after the one who got out then serves the next point.


      The last player left in the game wins.