Being that I’m a game junkie, I was way into the first bout of American Gladiators that aired way back in 1989. In fact, my step-brothers and I used to turn our basement into the final round, trying to knock over the targets with assorted items gathered from our house.

Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite games from the show, Powerball.

Powerball 2
PREP TIME– 5-10 Minutes

ITEMS NEEDED– 2 Buckets with Multiple Balls (pretty much any ball will work), 5 Empty Garbage Cans, Flag Football Kit

GAME TIME– 45-60 Seconds Per Round

PARTICIPANTS– 2 Participants & 3 “Gladiators”


You’ll need to set up a “field” for the contestants to play. I recommend at least a 15′ x 20′ size, but you go larger if you have room. Place four goals near the corners and one in the center (see pic above).

As you can see, there are five containers to score in and two to use for the contestants. The object is to score as many times as possible within in the given time limit.

All scores are one-point, with the exception of the middle container, which is three points.

Sounds easy enough, right? We’ll here’s where it gets fun. While the two contestants are trying to score, there will be a team of three gladiators trying to hunt them down by either knocking the ball out of their hands or simply pulling their flag off them. Each contestant will need to have this on before you start (make sure they have their flag “appropriately” located).

Once you’re ready to play, blow the whistle, sound the horn or just say “go”. Keep an eye on who scores, unless you are playing with colored balls to differentiate teams. If a contestant has their flag removed, they must drop their ball, reattach the flag and go to the outside cylinder to get another ball (you can play one or two at a time).

You can go man-to-man or team versus team, it’s your call.

NOTE: I do not advocate tackling in this game. It’s not that you can’t, but remember that you are responsible for your group! You know your group best, so use sound judgment.


1. Play rounds of the game and have the winners pair down into a tournament style, starting with either 4 or 8 games (8 or 16 players).

2. Since Flag Football kits usually come with 8-10 flags, with 2 colors, I recommend having the people next in line already “suited up” with their flag. That way, you’re not spending a bunch of time waiting when you could be playing.

3. Get some eye black and put it on the contestants and gladiators to add to the mood!

4. Play some gladiator music while the game is going. The movie 300, has some great stuff on their soundtrack.

5. Choose your gladiators wisely. Have a girls group and a guys group to avoid any awkward situations. Also make sure to choose gladiators who won’t kill your contestants.

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