Gotta Catch Em' All - Pokeball Catching Game

Introduction: Gotta Catch Em' All - Pokeball Catching Game

It's been a while since I've made an Instructable so I'm really excited to jump back into it with this one! My young nephews and I are huge fans of Pokemon and I decided to create something for them that carried that same theme that they could play with. This is a game called "Gotta Catch Em' All", where one player loads Pokeballs into the top of the game and the other player has to skillfully maneuver the wheel to see if they can catch all of them. The player with the highest score wins!

Learn how to make this super fun game for next to no cost and teach your kids the importance and hidden fun of recycling! Also, if you like the Instructable and found it useful, please leave a vote for this Instructable here for the "Games Contest Anyone can do it so let's get to it!


These cardboard/nail/foam core sizes are by no means set in stone. I just grabbed random cardboard at my apartment building and built around it. You could make a smaller or bigger version with no issue! Just keep an eye out for a good box - no need to pay for one!

  • Scrap Cardboard (23"x28") [Outer Box] (Free)
  • Scrap Cardboard (23"x27") [Inner Box] (Free)
  • Foam Core (22"x28") (Alternatively you could use a sheet of cardboard or a thin wood sheet instead) ($1)
  • Nails (1" Long) ($2)
  • Hot Glue Gun w/ Glue Sticks (Already Had)
  • Hammer (Optional) (Already Had - Didn't Use)
  • Tape (To hold things while you glue or alternative to Hot Glue) (Already Had)
  • Foam Balls (1" Diameter) ($2)
  • Assorted Acrylic Paints (Red, Black, White) (Already Had - $.69 Each)
  • Spray Paints (Red, Black, White) (Already Had $2-3)
  • Normal Glue Stick (Already Had)
  • Mod Podge (Optional) (Already Had - optional)
  • Assorted Crayons, Print-outs, or Paint for decoration!

That's it! Let's get started

Step 1: Structure/Positioning and Inserting Nails.

I did a little dumpster diving and found the perfect boxes for what I needed. There was one large box, and a smaller box to go inside of that big box. Then I went to the store and got some foam core. I trimmed it up and put it inside the smaller box (Picture 1). This double layer was essentially done so that if I put nails through it, it wouldn't puncture through the other side.

To insert nails you have one of two options depending if you used foam core or wood or cardboard. You can either (1) insert them by hand by gently pushing them into the proper place or (2) you can gently nail them into place with a hammer. Something I did to make sure the ball didn't get caught in between any nails was to measure the spacing with an actual ball. This was to make absolutely certain that the positioning of the nails wouldn't obscure the path of the ball (Picture 2). While the nails already held in place well with the foam core, I noticed that a big shove might dislodge some from their place so I went through and pulled each nail out and hot glued the tips and reinserted them back into their original place. (Picture 3) With young nephews, you want to be playing Gotta Catch Em' All - not 52 nail pickup. (*Note* if you choose to do a wood sheet instead, you shouldn't need to glue the nails in place)

With the nails 100% secure in the board, , tip the box with the board in it to about ~60 to about 70 degrees (Picture 4 ) **You don't want the board to be completely vertical or the balls will simply fall straight to the bottom when placed into the top and won't tumble down the nails**. Once all of the boxes are put into their place with the nails, it should look like (Picture 5).

Also, make sure you make about a 1.5 inch rectangular cut on top of the box towards the back to be able to insert the Pokeballs later. (Picture 6)

Step 2: Making a Ramp and Ball Compartment

Truth is, at some point you are going to miss a Pokeball or two. But no worries - we have a way for those missed Pokeballs to find their way into a little compartment so they don't spill onto the floor.

First, you are going to take a piece of scrap cardboard and bend it so it has a little channel in the center. Then you want to angle it at about ~30 degrees so it has an incline for the balls to roll down. Test to see if the balls will in fact roll down. If they do, hot glue the ramp into place. (Picture 1)

Second, you will want to make a little box where the balls can go. this is done by folding the edges of some scrap cardboard together to form a little container. Be sure to make the box short/tall enough so that the end of the ramp connects properly with the box. If the balls roll down the ramp and into the box, hot glue the small box into place. (Picture 1 - circled portion)

Now you have a place for those pesky missed Pokeballs to go! Be sure at this point to fold up the bottom flap of the box as well and glue it into place. Make sure it covers up the ramp and the box compartment. Cut a hole in the cardboard flap so you can have access to the box from the outside. (Picture 2)

Step 3: The Wheel

To make the mechanism turn properly, we are going to need something for the player to hold on to! I thought a Pokemon Wheel would fit perfectly into our Pokemon themed game! I used the top of a small plate (7 inches) to get a perfect circle for the outer circle, the bottom of the plate for the inner circle, (4 inches) and a table spoon for the innermost circle. (2 inches) I cut out some area on the inside so some little fingers could wrap around them if they needed to! Once you've carefully cut out the inner area, you can super glue the wheel onto the paper towel roll. If you’ve done this step correctly it should look like (Pictures 1-2)

Step 4: Cutting the Holes for the Paper Towel Roll

We need to cut two holes so that the paper towel roll is supported at two points. We need to cut a hole In the foam core layer and the folded up bottom flap of the box (Picture 1). These two holes need to be perfectly straight with each other so that the paper towel roll runs through both surfaces smoothly. As a result, your paper towel roll should be supported by the front piece of cardboard and also the white foam core. Once that is done, it should look like: (Picture 2). Now that the paper towel roll is secure into place, it is time to secure the cup/support to the wheel fixture.

Step 5: The Pokeball-Catching Mechanism

I used 4 popsicle sticks (two sticks glued together on each side) to make a rigid extension of the rotating paper towel roll to support the cup on top. These popsicle sticks need to meet two important criteria: (1) The popsicle sticks need to just barely clear the nails. (2) Popsicle sticks need to be long enough so once you rotate the wheel, it can reach the furthest edges of your game. Once the sticks are glue together, I made two small incisions in the paper towel roll exactly the width of the popsicle stick and about 3.5 inches apart from each other. Before I permanently secure the sticks in the paper towel roll, I used a pushpin to make two small holes in the popsicle sticks (Picture 1) and on opposite sides of the cup towards the top (Picture 2). Then with some string, I tied the popsicle sticks to the cup (Picture 3). Before officially securing the fixture into the paper towel roll, I rotated the fixture to the left, right, and straight up. In each case, the cup should always be facing upward no matter the position. (Pictures 4-6) It seems that it works , so we can officially superglue the popsicle sticks into the paper towel roll! (Picture 7)

*Note* to make sure that your plastic cup doesn’t swing wildly to the left and to the right, you can also hot glue one or two washers to the bottom of the cup to make sure to doesn’t over-wobble. Once everything is secured, it should look like this (Picture 8)

**Note** Make sure the paper towel roll has been inserted through both holes before super-gluing the sticks into place. Once you super glue the sticks on you won't be able to pull the wheel back out or push it back in so make sure your desired position for the popsicle sticks is 100% accurate.

With this last step complete, the functional parts of the game are completely done! Now all that there is left to do is decorating the box!

Step 6: Decorating the Box!

Now that all of the hard work is done, it is time to let your creativity shine! Some suggestions for decorating your box might include:

- Stickers
- Printed Pictures
- Crayons
- Spray Paint

- Acrylics
- whatever else you come up with!

This part is totally up to you and can vary from person-to-person!

I wanted to stick with the Pokeball theme through and through so I painted the outside of the box to look like a Pokeball using spray paints and acrylics. I taped off the center of the box so I could spray paint the top of the box red and the bottom white. Then I hand painted the black strip and the white circle (Pictures 1-2). I decided I would make the falling balls Pokeballs as well! I used basic acrylic to paint the top red, and the strip in the center black with a white dot in the center (Picture 3). The paint actually gave the ball a bit of weight and it helped it roll down the pegs better!

I painted the wheel to look like a Pokeball as well. (Picture 4)

Also, I printed out some pictures of some well known Pokémon and the “Gotta Catch Em’ All” logo to match our game’s theme. I then applied those to the game’s surface with a glue sticks and sealed with Mod Podge (Picture 5).

Now that we are all done, it is time to play the game!

Step 7: Play!

Now that you have worked so hard! It’s time to relax and play with your new game! I threw on some classic Pokémon music to really lock in the suspense of the game! Just in case you haven’t captured the idea of the game in your head yet - here is a video!

Rules: There are two (or more players). One player has the balls ready in their hand and the other is getting ready to catch them by turning the wheel. One by one, the balls are dropped randomly through the top slit in the cardboard (Picture 1) until all of the balls are dropped. (Picture 2) The other player then tries to catch as many Pokeballs as they can! Then, the two players count up the number of successfully caught Pokeballs and then they switch roles. The second player then tries to catch the falling Pokeballs (Picture 3). The player with the highest score wins and is the reigning Pokémon champion!

I had so much fun making and playing this game and I know you will too! Again, feel free to make it your own! Make up different ideas and themes to make it your own special game!

Also, if you liked this Instructable, I would really appreciate it if you left a comment, a like and a vote for the Games Contest! Thanks you guys!

Happy making!

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