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The idea of this section is to give descriptions of many games that jugglers can play. I have Hosted the Juggling Games at Scottish Juggling Convention and also filmed these events at British Juggling Conventions (you can see some video clips throughout this page), so if you are ever looking for some new games to play at your Convention, then this is your one-stop URL!

Over 50 games are mentioned on this page, and some tips are also provided so you can get some practice in before the games session! Games are played regularly at many juggling clubs and are always a highlight of any juggling convention, where beginners can mix with advanced jugglers. If you have any games ideas, or can improve my descriptions, please e-mail me. To view all the Juggling Games video clips, please visit my Juggling Conventions YouTube playlist.

 

Steve trying to win at Gladiator! Please scroll down to view all the games (or you can click a jumplink below to jump straight to your favourite prop!

 

 

 


Ball Games

 

Stredging The aim is to catch all the balls successfully from your partners kick-ups. You need 5 balls laid out in a straight line on the floor. The game is played in teams of 2 people. One person is the catcher and the other person has to kick/flick up the balls for them to catch (either in the persons hands or in a bin or sack). Best to practice this event with your partner before the game begins so you can work out the best technique, and also who is best at being the catcher! A variation of this game would be that there is another row of 5 balls, and the roles are swapped after the first 5 balls have been caught so that the thrower becomes the catcher. With both games, the fastest team is the winner.

 

Steve winning the Stredging Competition for the 3rd year running with Jonny the Juggler!

Race A destination is chosen (at British Juggling Convention Brighton we raced to the seafront and back to the games area) and the only rule is that you have to race there and back while juggling constantly, and first person back is the winner. If someone drops an item, they are either declared “out” or have a 3 second penalty before they can continue running. Look out for lots of people cheating!
Simon Says Everyone juggles 3 balls, and the caller shouts out which moves they have to do next. If they don’t say the words “Simon Says” before a command, and people do the command, they are out! If they drop a ball at any time, they are out! Good game for children. Luke Burrage has organised this game at several conventions I have attended.
3 person wheelbarrow race Two people grab a leg each of the “wheelbarrow person”, and they have to juggle a 3 ball cascade between themselves as they steer the wheelbarrow to the finishing line.
Combat Two jugglers stand back to back in a small defined area and they are both juggling 3 balls. On an agreed signal, the two jugglers have to push their opponent out of the circle by backing into each other. The first person who drops a ball or is pushed out of the circle loses. No kicking or elbowing your opponent!

 


 

 

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Diabolo Games

 

Diabolo in a box Players all stand at one end of a hall, and a box/basket is placed at the other end. Players attempt to throw their diabolo’s in the box (either taking it in turns or on an agreed signal). If no-one gets it in, then everyone tries again. At Juggling Conventions, we sometimes send a person into the middle of the room with a box on their head for us to aim into!

 

Diabolo in a Box game

 

An alternate way to play this game is to start with a very large box or marked area that Diabolists have to land in, and everyone who gets it right on either one or a couple of attempts, goes throug to the next round which is a smaller box/area.!

Catch someone’s diabolo In this game, you all stand in the centre of the hall and on a given signal, throw your diabolo up in the air. You then have to catch someone else’s diabolo! All those who catch someones diabolo, go through to the next round and the game is competed. People are disqualified if they throw a bad diabolo (one that is uncatchable).
Highest Throw Everyone throws their diabolo at the same time, and then as long as they catch their (or someone else’s) diabolo, they stay in for the next round. When you get down to just 4 or 5 people left in the game, you can decide a winner based on who throws their diabolo the highest and still catches it.
Longest Throw to Partner The diabolo that has been thrown the furthest distance and caught by a partner is the winner.
Longest Throw to Self! A much more fun version of the above game. You have to throw the furthest distance from the start point and catch the diabolo!
Diabolo nose rolling All diabolo’s are placed on the ground in a line, and the winner is the person who can (only using their nose to push the diabolo) roll the diabolo over the finishing line! Diabolo’s will tend to start rolling across the pitch and it is great fun watching people banging into each other!

 

Diabolo Nose Rolling!

Catch a Colour When the diabolo’s are all tossed in the air, the caller shouts out a colour and everyone has to try catching a diabolo of that colour. Those who do are through to the next round.
Balance handsticks (two people) This is an endurance balancing game which involves you and a partner balancing a diabolo handstick each on your chins (so you can see the string between them)! The pair that keep it balanced the longest are the winners!
High Speed Passing During one minute, see how many passes you can make with a partner.
Skipping Throw the diabolo and see how many times you can skip before successfully catching it. First round, everyone has to do one skip, then second round, two skips etc.
Longest Stick Grind Time how long people can grind the diabolo on their stick.
Catch over partner I played this at Nottingham One Day Convention in 2009 for the first time (and won!) Partners stand facing each other. The person with the diabolo has to throw it up in the air and catch it behind their partners back (so you are almost hugging your partner!) The successful people get to repeat this attempt but farther apart from each other!
Infinite Suicide Endurance If you have to ask what this trick is, then the game isn’t for you! You may have lots of technical diabolists who want a difficult competition, so this is the answer! If the participants are too good, then you can get them to stand on one leg, hop, walk around the room, turn 360 degrees in both directions etc until there is one winner!
Unwrap The diabolists nightmare is to have to untangle lots of diabolo’s from their handsticks at the end of a workshop! For this event, several diabolo’s are tangled in exactly the same way for each competitor, and the winner is the first to skilfully remove the diabolo from the tangled strings!

 

 

 

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Club Games

Long Distance Club Passing (Team) The aim is to be the furthest distance from your juggling partner when everyone else has dropped their 6 juggling clubs. Alternatively, you can play that it is the first duo to cross a finishing line!

 

Jugglers all stand in a line at one end of the hall and face their partners. When the whistle blows, they start club passing. The aim is to see how far apart the two jugglers can get. Once a club is dropped, the jugglers have to stand still.
When everyone else has dropped a club, the judge can work out which team are furthest apart from each other.
Some people try and achieve distance very quickly, and drop a club in the process. Take your time, and practice first (if you get the chance)! You can play this game with balls, rings etc.

Long Distance Club Pass to Self! Same as above, except you need to make the throw and catch it as far away as possible!
Volleyclub Like volleyball, but each person has two clubs. One club is juggled, then passed to a partner and thrown over the net. If your opponent let a club drop, your team gets a point. Proper games take place with 3 people on each side, and on a full volleyball court with net.
Club Gathering A partner throws clubs at you on double spins at a steady rate, which you have to keep catching and keeping a hold of (you can €™t put them down). How many can you gather before you drop one?!
Club Stacking Tower Get people to form a group that builds the highest club tower (placing clubs on top of each other). You are allowed to hold on to the clubs, but they must remain touching each other. See how many clubs high you can build! Skilled acrobats have an advantage for this game, but I am not telling the most effective layout of people and clubs! Don’t reach your peak too early if this is a timed event, as you may topple under the weight of everyone!
3 Club Race Find a partner. You need to press a club between both chests, both shoulders and both foreheads, and then run a race!
Club Balance with Partner while Juggling Stand facing your partner. Place a club between your stomachs, one between your chests and one between your chins. Now try juggling 3 balls without dropping anything! An endurance competition. If people find it too hard, then you may decide to just balance one or two clubs instead of 3. Not as easy as it sounds!

 

 

 


 

Gladiators

Steve trying to win at Gladiator! The aim is to be the last person juggling (which means you have won a round). Usually played with each player juggling 3 clubs, but can be adapted for any props depending on the skills of the people playing! The more people, the better! If you have a great number of people, you can play in teams, where the last person remaining wins a point for their team. 

 

 

The call of the gladiator is when everyone playing starts hitting their clubs together. This means that everyone is ready and you can start juggling. The idea is to use whatever means necessary to keep juggling whilst trying to stop your opponents from juggling (without harm coming to yourself or your opponents). Last person juggling is the winner, and you start all over again!
Someone broke my thumb at European Juggling Convention in Lille, France when they tried to whack my club out of my hand, but they missed and got my thumbs instead. Just imagine being at a juggling convention for another 5 days and not being able to juggle 🙁 Be careful and establish what moves are not allowed so that everyone can remain safe.

Devil Stick Propellor Gladiators To play gladiators with Devil Sticks, some games you are only allowed to do propellors (this is where the devil stick constantly revolves around just one stick) or you can play with both handsticks. You may be asked to alter which direction the propellor goes in, or change hands, so you have to practice in all 4 skills!
Buddy Gladiators Gladiators with a shared cascade. Normal procedure is to put your spare arm round the shoulder or waist of your partner.
Any prop Gladiators As easy as it sounds. This game suits people of mixed abilities, as they can either juggle clubs, spin a plate, devil stick or whatever and still take part in the game. Choose your weapon!
Balloon Modelling Gladiators A balloon animal is made, which has to be capable of holding a toothpick somewhere on it. If any part of your balloon animal is popped, then you are out. Last balloon animal standing was the winner! This can (seem to) go on for hours (see photo below). The elbow of the hand holding the balloon animal, has to remain attached to the side of your body.
Gandini Gladiators A version of gladiators where people arrange their clubs so they form a hat which is worn on their head. You have to try and knock everyone else’s hats off!
Contact Juggling Gladiators Contestants hold a 4 ball pyramid, and try to knock at least one ball from other people’s pyramids, until there is only one person left. The elbow of the hand holding the pyramid has to remain attached to the side of your body, and you must only nudge someone elses contact balls with your own pyramid (no finger or hand nudging!)
Team Gladiators Teams of equal number are organised. Everyone goes into battle and when there is just one person left on the battlefield, that team get a point. You may add a rule that if there are 2 or more people left from one team at the end, that the team get more points. Lots of tactics used in this game and it is great fun to watch!
Unicycle Gladiators Winner is the person who stays on the unicycle the longest while trying to knock others off theirs! I have seen people on giraffe (6ft) unicycles win against their much lower opponents!

 

Ewan Colsell attempting to win Unicycle Gladiators

Handicap Gladiators You can insist that people hop all the time that they are playing this game, or that they have to juggle a certain pattern constantly (such as mills mess)! You can handicap people by asking them to place a club between their legs (so now they have to waddle everywhere) and you can also get people to hold a club under each arm if they are very skilled to level the playing field!
Unicorn Gladiators You need a Kendama (Ball and Spike prop) for this one. The Kendama is worn so that the spike is pointing out from the forehead. This involved competitors tilting their heads back slightly which makes it harder for them to see their opponents! This game was introduced during BJC 2011 in Huddersfield – here is some footage.

 


Endurance Games/World Records

An endurance competition could be who is able to keep a 5 or 7 ball cascade going the longest (or a stunt stick propellor), or do a handstand for the longest amount of time. At a convention, sometimes it is decided that a juggling world record will attempt to be broken. This could be a numbers record, or an endurance record. On the last day of the convention, anyone who wants a shot at breaking (or setting) the world record will be allowed their turn. At Glasgow Juggling Convention, we set new world records of Haggis juggling (both numbers and endurance)! Please visit the Glasgow Juggling Convention pages to find out more! Every year the world records keep getting beaten!

 

 


At the European Juggling Convention in Ireland, the Club balance competition had added difficulty as pints of guiness were put on top!

Balancing Games

These games can be as simple as who can balance an object such as a club on their chin the longest (or even balance a unicycle)! For extra excitement, the contestants can be asked to place a plastic cup of water on top of the clubs, so that if it falls, they get splashed!

Alternatively, people could have a race while balancing something on their chin. If this is too easy for the participants, then you can make it an obstacle race!


Unicycle Games

If you are a beginner unicyclist who cannot ride from one side of the room to another, then please do not attempt joining in these games as it is not safe for yourself or for others!

Racing Either go for a distance race, or for obstacles. Bigger wheeled unicycles can go a lot faster than small wheeled ones, so they may be asked to start later in the race.
Ribbon Stealing A ribbon is loosely fitted to the backs of all unicycles, and you try to steal the ribbons from other peoples unicycles without losing yours.
Unicycle musical chairs Unicycles are laid front to end, in one large line (one less than the amount of people playing). Someone plays some music, and when the music stops, the person who hasn’t grabbed and got on top of a unicycle, is out…
Play continues until there are only a few people left, at which point some extra barriers can be put in for the people to run round until the music stops. Winner is the person who is able to grab the one remaining unicycle!
Trials A unicycle competition with judges and time limits. Unicyclists take it in turns to go over a specially constructed obstacle course.
Long Jump Who can jump the furthest distance from the starting line? Most people will line their unicycle up along the line and jump sideways rather than try to jump forwards. The jump only counts if the person stays on their unicycle once they have landed.
Hopping Endurance All unicyclists have to hop on their unicycle until only one person remains.
Slowest Unicycle Race No idling allowed! Last person to cross the finishing line without deviating from the course is the winner!
Furthest
Bunny Hop
A Marker is placed on the ground inside the arena. Unicyclists ride up to this marker and then see how far they can leap past it.

 

 

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Miscellaneous!

Money Juggling A very profitable game for the winner! Everyone who wants to take part required 3 coins which they have to juggle. If you choose cheap coins (such as loose change) you will find it very difficult to juggle for too long, whereas  £1 and  £2 coins are ideal for this game. Everyone who drops their coins has to pick them up off the ground and drop them in a hat in the centre of this game. The winner is the last person juggling, and they win all the money!

 

 

The winnings at one competition at the British Juggling Convention!

Jolleystick Jolleystick is like volleyball or volleyclub, but played with a devilstick. A devilstick is played backwards and forwards across a net into your opponent’s end of the court. This game involves only 2 players. The devilstick is played with one handstick. It’s a fascinating game in which both players must at least be able to do propeller throws. For a fantastic explanation of the game, please visit www.devilstick.de/english/info/jolleystick.htm
Beach Flingo Volleyball Similar rules to Jolleystick and Volleyclub, but you use the Beach Flingo bibs and a ball to play the game.
Scarf Tig One of my favourite games played in my Circus Skills Workshops! Each player tucks one end of a juggling scarf into the back of their trousers/skirt. They then chase each other around the room trying to steal each others scarfs while protecting their own scarf. When you lose your scarf, you are out of the game and have to stand at the side of the room. When you steal a scarf, you should keep a hold of it as scarfs can be very slippy on the ground.
Obstacle Course An event which uses people with different skills. At EJC2002, we had an event which started with groups of 5. One person had to blow up a balloon until it burst, which was the cue for a second person to sidestep whilst doing a devil stick propellor to the next line, where two people holding a diabolo between their heads had to juggle a 3 ball cascade to the next line, where a unicyclist took over and rode to the finishing line!!
Tricks Fest! This requires someone to do the tricks and name them, and the other person to verify that it is a trick, and count how many are achieved in an agreed time period. Usually done with Poi and Staff.
Quidditch Juggle A major new game, based aruond the popular game seen in the Harry Potter movies, but there are many rules to master! The best site I could find with an explanation was at www.zirkusspiele.de/inhalt_quidditcheng.htm

 

Quidditch Juggling Game

3 most unusual objects Juggled Audience can vote for this one! If there are too many entrants, then perhaps you can get rid of people if they drop more than once. Best not to let anyone juggle cake or any items that may spill as you might have to spend a while clearing up the floor to continue!
Fastest Balloon Dog Speaks for itself (the name of the trick, not the dog!). Players race across the arena, grabbing a balloon pump at the halfway mark, then getting to the other side and the first person to create a balloon dog and hold it up in the air is the winner!
Toothbrush in a Box Similar to Diabolo in a Box game, but this time people have to learn how to spin a toothbrush first of all, then aim it so that it lands in a box in the middle of the room. A great game for the kids at a convention especially as it gives them a chance to learn a new skill then put it to use immediately!
Best Heckle Get someone to spin some poi or plate spin or scarf juggle in the middle of the room and encourage the Best Heckle. This can be quite funny as long as the person in the middle is happy to be made fun of. It has actually helped me come up with some new jokes for some of my routines also, so this game can be quite useful!
Juggling Limbo This is a good opening game. 2 People hold a staff at head height and all jugglers are encouraged to go under it while juggling a pattern with their chosen prop. The staff is then lowered repeatedly until there is one winner!
Poi into Bucket Poi spinners do the cross and follow pattern, then on the count of 3, they all throw one of their poi and try to land it inside the bucket in the middle of the arena.
Hoola-Hoop Endurance Competitors begin by spinning a hoop around their waist, and then various tricks are suggested that they have to do also. The winner is the person able to keep hoola-hooping the longest.

 

 

 

 

 

To view lots more Juggling Games video clips, please visit my Juggling Conventions YouTube playlist.