A great activity for everyone

The Gladiators

A thrilling and engaging game of reaction and agility, where players compete in pairs to score points by touching their partner's knee when it's exposed.

The Gladiators
By Jon Zajac

What is The Gladiators?

The Gladiators icebreaker game is a fun and engaging activity that is great for medium to large groups of kids and teens. Its main purpose is to help remove awkwardness between players and increase interactivity, making it an ideal choice for parties or gatherings. The game involves pairing up players and challenging them to touch their partner’s knee whenever it is not being protected by their hand. Each round lasts for 20-30 seconds, and the player with the most scores at the end wins. No special materials are needed to play, making it a convenient and accessible game for any occasion. By encouraging players to engage with each other in a lively and active way, The Gladiators icebreaker is sure to make any party more fun and memorable.

Back to top

Rules for The Gladiators

  1. Divide the group into pairs.
  2. Have each pair stand about a meter apart from each other.
  3. Players must place their hands on their own knees.
  4. The goal is to touch the knee of your partner when they do not have their hand on their knee.
  5. Each round lasts 20-30 seconds.
  6. At the end of each round, change pairs.
  7. The player with the most scores at the end wins.

Back to top

Materials needed for The Gladiators

  • Meter: To ensure that the players stand at a distance from each other
  • Timer: To keep track of time for each round
  • Whiteboard and markers (optional): To keep score of each player’s points

Back to top

Setting up for The Gladiators

To set up for the The Gladiators icebreaker activity, you will need to divide the group into pairs. This can be done randomly or by finding similarities between the players’ knees. Once the pairs are formed, have each pair stand about a meter apart from each other with their hands on their own knees. The game is then ready to be played in rounds that last 20-30 seconds each. After each round, the pairs can be changed before starting again. The goal is for each player to touch the knee of their partner when the other person’s hand is not on their knee, earning a score for each successful touch.

Back to top

How to play The Gladiators

  1. Divide the group into pairs: I like to match people with similar-looking knees for added fun, but you can also pair them randomly.
  2. Have each player stand a meter away from their partner: Each person should put both hands on their own knees.
  3. Touch your partner’s knee when it is unguarded: Both players try to touch the other’s knee whenever one of them doesn’t have a hand on their knee. A successful touch earns a point for that player.
  4. Play in rounds lasting 20-30 seconds: After each round, switch up the pairs and keep track of scores. The player with the most points at the end wins!
  5. Feel free to add your own twists: For example, you can have players stand on one knee for an added challenge.

Back to top

Benefits of The Gladiators

  • Helps in removing awkwardness between different players: The Gladiators icebreaker game is an excellent way to bring in some fun and healthy competition between the players, which can help in increasing interactivity and making the party fun and lively.
  • Encourages movement and reaction skills: Since the game involves quick movements and reflexes, it can help improve players’ agility, coordination, and reaction time.
  • Easy to set up and play: The Gladiators icebreaker game is straightforward to organize and requires no special equipment or setting, making it an ideal choice for a group of friends or family members looking for some quick entertainment.
  • Suitable for all ages: This game is perfect for kids above the age of 4 or 5 and adults too, making it an inclusive activity that can bring people of different ages together.
  • Promotes fair play and sportsmanship: The game’s competitive nature encourages players to follow rules and respect their opponents, promoting a positive attitude towards winning and losing.
  • Can be adapted for different group sizes and settings: The Gladiators icebreaker game can be played with any number of participants, making it an excellent choice for both small and large groups. Additionally, it can be modified to suit indoor or outdoor environments, depending on the available space.
  • Encourages active participation: Unlike passive activities like watching TV or browsing social media, the Gladiators icebreaker game promotes active engagement and interaction between players, making it a fun and engaging way to spend time with others.

Back to top

Skills built with The Gladiators

  • Reaction time: The Gladiators game helps to improve your reaction time as you need to quickly touch the knee of your partner whenever they don’t have their hand on it.
  • Running skills: This icebreaker game also builds running skills, as players are required to move around and chase after their partners to earn points.
  • Focus and concentration: The game requires a good level of focus and concentration as you need to keep an eye on your partner’s knee and be ready to touch it at any moment.
  • Interpersonal skills: Playing the Gladiators icebreaker can also help to build interpersonal skills, as it encourages interaction between players and helps to break the ice in a group setting.

Back to top

Why I like The Gladiators

I highly recommend the Gladiators icebreaker game for anyone looking to add some fun and healthy competition to their gathering. Here are a few reasons why I like this game:

  1. No Equipment Needed: One of the best things about the Gladiators game is that it requires no equipment or extra setting, making it easy to play anytime, anywhere.
  2. Suitable for All Ages: This game is suitable for kids as young as 4 or 5 and adults too, making it an ideal choice for mixed-age groups.
  3. Helps in Building Interactivity: The Gladiators game is an excellent way to increase interactivity among different players and help remove any awkwardness between them.
  4. Quick and Easy to Play: With no preparation or materials needed, the Gladiators game is quick and easy to play, making it a great option for filling in gaps of time during parties or events.
  5. Adds Fun and Excitement: The main aim of the Gladiators game is to make the party fun and lively, and it certainly does that with its active and engaging nature.
  6. Customizable: I also like that the Gladiators game can be customized based on the group’s preferences, such as adding twists to the rules or adjusting the time limit for each round.

Overall, the Gladiators icebreaker is a simple yet effective way to bring people together and create a fun and lively atmosphere.

Back to top

Tips for making The Gladiators more inclusive

  • Tip: Allow for modifications based on physical abilities: Some players may have mobility limitations, so it’s important to allow for modifications such as sitting down while playing the game.
  • Tip: Use gender-neutral language when pairing players: Using gender-neutral language can help create an inclusive environment and ensure that all players feel welcome.
  • Tip: Encourage participants to share their preferred pronouns: This can help create a more inclusive atmosphere, especially for those who are transgender or non-binary.
  • Tip: Avoid making assumptions about players’ backgrounds: Be mindful of cultural differences and avoid making assumptions about players’ experiences, beliefs, or values.
  • Tip: Create a safe space for all players: Make it clear that discriminatory language or behavior will not be tolerated. Encourage respectful communication and active listening throughout the game.
  • Tip: Use accessible materials: If you choose to use any materials (such as a whiteboard or timer), make sure they are accessible to all players, including those with visual impairments or other disabilities.
  • Tip: Be open to feedback: Encourage players to share their thoughts and suggestions for making the game more inclusive. Listen actively and make adjustments as needed.

Back to top

Reflection questions for The Gladiators

  1. Question: What did you enjoy most about playing the Gladiators game? This question can help participants reflect on what they found fun and engaging about the game, allowing them to identify elements they might want to see in future icebreakers or activities.
  2. Question: How did you feel when interacting with people you didn’t know well during the game? By asking this question, facilitators can encourage participants to consider their comfort levels while engaging with new people, which is essential for building a more inclusive and connected community.
  3. Question: What strategies did you use to be successful in the game? This question allows participants to share their problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities, fostering a growth mindset and encouraging learning from each other’s experiences.
  4. Question: Did you find any difficulty or discomfort during the game? If so, how did you handle it? Encouraging open conversations about challenges faced during icebreakers can help facilitators create safer spaces for participants. It also allows them to reflect on their ability to adapt and overcome difficulties in a supportive environment.
  5. Question: How do you think playing the Gladiators game impacted the overall energy and atmosphere of the gathering? By asking this question, facilitators can emphasize the importance of active participation and positive contributions in creating enjoyable experiences for everyone involved. It also encourages participants to consider how their actions influence group dynamics.

Back to top


Want customized activity suggestions? Try our Team Building Expert GPT!

About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

Activities you may also like

Keep the fun going with these similar activities.



Unleash Your Inner Guardian: A High-Energy Game of Grab and Run