Popular on college campuses and parties, Beer Pong is a pretty popular game among a certain group of people. Despite the game’s popularity I have never played it before. This is mostly because I have never really been into drinking and thus never played the game. Despite never playing it before the game’s concept has always somewhat intrigued me. PlingPong takes the Beer Pong concept, adds a few tweaks, and turns it into more of a game that the whole family can enjoy. PlingPong is not particularly deep, but it is a fun little dexterity game that adds enough twists to Beer Pong to create a game that the whole family can enjoy.
How to Play PlingPong
- Place the four game trays in a grid layout. Place the cups on the game trays as shown below.
- Each player chooses a color and stands in the corner of the grid corresponding to the color they chose.
- Each player will take two balls.
- To determine who will be the first start player all of the players will bounce one of their balls off the table hoping to get it to land in one of their colored cups. If only one player is able to do this, that player will be the first start player. If two or more players do it these players will keep bouncing balls until only one player is able to bounce a ball into one of their cups.
Playing the Game
Starting with the start player, the players will take turns shooting one of their balls. Players will keep taking turns shooting until all eight balls have been shot which ends the round. Play will then proceed to scoring based on where the balls landed.
For a shot to count the player has to have the ball bounce off the table at least once in their corner of the grid.
If a player has no cups left on the board they will not shoot any balls, but they are still in the game as they have a shot to get back into the game (see below).
After all of the balls have been shot the players will look at each of the cups on the game trays.
Each cup that has an odd number of balls in it will be removed from the board.
Every cup that has an even number or no balls in it will stay on the board.
If a player loses their last cup(s) from the board they will not shoot any balls until they get a cup back.
The only way to get a cup back is if a player(s) shoots one of their balls into the black cup. If an odd number of balls are shot into the black cup, each player who shot a ball into the cup will lose one of their cups from the lowest level. All of the other players will return one of their cups to the board at the lowest level space available. If an even number of balls are shot into the black cup no players lose or receive cups.
End of Game
The last player to have cups left on the board will win the game.
2 Players – Each player takes two colors that are on the same side of the board. Each player will also get four balls each round.
3 Players – Remove one set of the cups. The players will play a round of Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who will control the color between the other two colors. The loser will have to take the middle color.
8 Players – The eight player game is the same as the normal game except the players break up into teams of two. Each player from a team will get one ball to shoot.
Random Re-Rack – The winner will randomly place the cups back on the board in a random pattern of the winner’s choice. All other rules are the same.
Speed Round – Players will try to shoot balls into their own cups. Whenever a ball lands in a cup that cup will be removed from the board. The player who gets rid of all of their cups first will win the game.
High Stack – When a cup would be removed from play it will instead be placed inside another of your cups on the board. When a ball lands in a stack of cups all of the cups from the stack are moved to another cup.
My Thoughts on PlingPong
If you are at all familiar with Beer Pong you should already be quite familiar with PlingPong. For those who aren’t the basic premise of the game is to try to get rid of all of the other players’ cups. To do this you need to bounce your ping pong balls into their cups. Each cup that has an odd number of balls in it at the end of the round will be removed from the board. While doing this you need to avoid the black cup as it will force you to lose a cup as well as give all of the other players one of their cups back. The last player with cups remaining will win the game.
After reading that short description most people should already have a pretty good idea about whether they will like the game. If you are already a fan of Beer Pong I think PlingPong should appeal to you as it keeps most of the same elements while adding a few interesting twists as well. The game doesn’t have the drinking aspect of Beer Pong, but you could probably add your own house rules if you want to add this element to the game. Those that aren’t familiar with Beer Pong but think PlingPong sounds interesting should enjoy it as well as it is pretty much what you would expect it to be. Those who don’t like Beer Pong or don’t think the concept sounds all that interesting probably won’t care much for PlingPong.
For the most part I enjoyed PlingPong. The game’s concept is really simple and yet it works. Trying to bounce the ping pong balls into the cups is fun. I have been a fan of these type of dexterity games for a long time and PlingPong is no exception. Eliminating another player with a good shot is really satisfying. I was actually kind of surprised that the game relies on quite a bit more skill than you would think. You will quickly discover that some players are better at the game than others. Between choosing how hard to bounce the ball and how you are going to aim it you can have a pretty big impact on how well you do in the game.
There is some luck in the game though. This mostly comes from how the balls bounce off cups before they reach their final destination. You could aim the ball well and then it will take an unexpected bounce that hurts you. Once the ball hits the first cup it is kind of out of your hands where it will eventually end up. Luck comes from a couple other areas as well. Usually it is much easier to bounce balls into the cups of the players to your left and right. The player on the other side of the board is quite a bit harder to knock out. For this reason the position of the players is going to have an impact on the game. The turn order can also be important. Generally you want to be later in the turn order as it gives you more options as you know where the other players’ balls have landed.
On the surface PlingPong probably doesn’t look like it has a lot of strategy. In many ways it doesn’t as you mostly are just targeting the other players’ cups. There is some strategy to where on the board you target though. When a player gets a ball into one of your cups you have the opportunity to try and shoot one of your balls into the same cup as well in order to save it from being removed at the end of the round. If you are good at doing this you can save your own cups. These shots are risky though as your cups are surrounded by your other cups so if you miss you can easily shoot the ball into one of your other cups putting another cup in danger.
While bouncing balls you also have to carefully think about which part of the board that you want to target. Due to how the board is designed it is easier to hit the cups in the middle of the board. The worst cup in the game is situated in the very middle of the board though which means targeting the center is always dangerous. If possible you want to avoid the black cup. The black cup is especially bad as you will lose one of your cups while giving the other players one of theirs back. I can attest to the fact that you are going to have a hard time winning if you keep having your balls land in the black cup.
With such a straightforward concept it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that PlingPong is quite easy to play. Basically you just bounce balls trying to get them into the other players’ cups. As that is all there is to the game you could easily teach the game to new players within a minute or two. I am actually kind of surprised that the game has a recommended age of 8+. I don’t see why children younger than that couldn’t play the game. For this reason I could see the game working for the whole family. The game is interesting for both children and adults, and it is simple enough to attract people that rarely play board games.
As for the game’s length I would say that it is both quicker and longer than you would expect. Each round in the game is really quick as each player just shoots their two balls and the cups that have balls in them are removed. Unless players take way too much time lining up their shots most rounds will only take a minute or two. The first half of the game seems to move pretty quickly. With the board filled it is pretty easy to get your ball into one of the cups. Several cups are likely to be removed in each early round. As more and more cups are removed though it becomes harder to get a ball into the players’ last remaining cups. You could go several rounds without removing a single cup. Cups can even be added if one of the players bounces one of their balls into the black cup. Once a player loses their last cup they likely will have to wait around a while for the other players to finish. Unless players get really lucky or unlucky I would expect most games would end in about 15-20 minutes.
I enjoyed playing PlingPong but like many other similar games it isn’t the type of game that you will play for long stretches of time. You will likely play a couple games back to back. After that though the game becomes a little repetitive. Therefore you likely will get 30-40 minutes out of the game before wanting to do something else. It is a game that you will want to play again, but you might want to take some time between plays.
One thing that somewhat keeps the game fresh is the various alternative rules that the game includes. The main game is fun, but I think some of the alternative rules are actually more enjoyable. The Random Re-Rack rules add some luck to the game as how the cups are laid out is going to have an impact on how well you do. Having your cups all over the gameboard makes the game more interesting though as you have to avoid cups throughout the entire board. Speed Round simplifies the game as you don’t have to worry about an odd versus even number of balls. Going after your own cups is a nice change of pace as well. The High Stack rules are also interesting as it will be much harder to get balls into cups after a large stack has been created. In many games the variant rules don’t really interest me all that much. For PlingPong though I think they bring variety to the game and might actually be better than the main rules.
Finally I wanted to quickly talk about the game’s components. I was actually a little surprised by the component quality. The game just includes cups, the four piece gameboard, and the ping pong balls. It isn’t immediately obvious how you set up the gameboard, but I liked the tiered layout it creates. The layout promotes the balls bouncing between cups which makes the game more interesting. The cups are pretty sturdy as well. The ping pong balls are pretty typical. I kind of wish the balls were color coordinated though as it would then be obvious whose ball landed in each cup at the end of a round. It is usually pretty easy to remember where your balls landed as rounds are really quick. This would have been a nice little addition to the game though.
Should You Buy PlingPong?
PlingPong doesn’t really hide its inspiration as the game plays a lot like Beer Pong and other similar games. You are basically trying to bounce balls into the other players’ cups in order to get rid of them. It might not be the most original concept, but it adds enough little twists to keep things interesting. It is fun trying to bounce the ping pong balls into cups. PlingPong does rely on some luck, but there is more skill to the game than you would expect. You need to aim well and put enough power behind your shots in order to hit the cups that you are targeting. The best player is going to win most of the time. PlingPong is easy to play and plays fairly quickly where the whole family can enjoy it. It isn’t a game that you will play for long stretches of time though. You will likely play it a couple times and then put it away for another day.
My recommendation for PlingPong basically comes down to your opinion of the game’s premise. If it doesn’t sound all that interesting it probably won’t be for you. People who think the game sounds fun though are likely to enjoy it and should consider picking it up.