Minigames are a Minecraft classic. Many of the minigames found on Minecraft servers require plugins and a lot of setup. There are also mini games that are easier to make on your own.
Each of the 4 types of minigames on the following list can easily be made using only the regular Minecraft client without any mods or plugins. Each game type will also stretch your thinking, rewarding clever design and good use of space.
While testing your game you’ll want to make sure to keep a list of changes you want to consider. Good designers test along the way, and look for helpful feedback from others too.
1. Arena Minigames
There are many types of arena games in Minecraft. These games take place in an arena, with obstacles, starting gates, items, and more. These game have a variety of different objectives.
Some arena games are focused on PvP or PvE Combat. In PvP (Player versus Player) combat, players are given items like swords, bows, armor, or sticks. They fight the other players until one team or one player emerges victorious. In PvE (Player versus Environment) combat players fight against mobs. PvE arenas are often divided into levels. After each level a more challenging group of mobs spawn.
- PvE Arena Challenge: Build a PvE tower with dispensers and redstone for mob spawning. Place spawn eggs in the dispensers and attach them with redstone to a pressure plate or tripwire that players will pass over as they enter each new level. As players defeat each wave of mobs they can climb to the next level of the tower, unleashing a new wave of mobs on the way up.
Other arena minigames focus on capturing objectives. Some of the most popular objective minigames are Capture the Flag and King of the Hill. In Capture the Flag players are divided into two teams. Each team has to protect their flag while also trying to grab the other team’s flag and bring it back to their base to score a point. King of the Hill is a free-for-all style game where one player protects a point (usually a hill, or the top of a building or monument) from all the other players.
- Protect The Flag Minigame: Grab some friends and divide into two teams. Each team will build half of the Capture the Flag arena. Set an amount of time for building and preparation (30 minutes or an hour is a good amount). Each team can build defenses, traps, and walls to try to protect their flag. After building the course, play a few rounds of Capture the Flag on your new course. Then do another round of building, giving each team a chance to improve their defenses after seeing them in action.
There are many other types of arena minigame as well. One of our favorites is Spleef. All you need to play Spleef is a bit of snow and one shovel per player. Players break away the snow blocks below other players with their shovels, causing them to fall. Last player on top wins.
- Build your own Spleef arena: Lay down a fresh layer of snow blocks with at least 3-4 blocks open underneath. You may want to put a layer of lava below, or extra layers of snow for multi-level Spleef. Once your arena is set up, use your shovel to clear the snow below other players, try to make them fall. Once you’ve played a round with snow, try using slime blocks or ice blocks instead.
2. Challenge Courses
Challenge courses offer players a chance to show off their Minecraft skills. Players can do the challenges in the courses at their own paces. Even better than playing them is designing your own.
One of the easiest challenge courses to make at home is Minecraft Ice Minigolf. Ice minigolf has the same rules as regular minigolf, but the greens are replaced with packed ice. Grab a “golf ball”—we like to use colored wool—and drop it to hit it along the ice. “Drop” is set to Q by default. Don’t forget to brainstorm a good Minigolf theme.
- Biome Minigolf Build: Biomes can make for really great challenge course themes. Try building a minigolf course that celebrates your favorite biome. Build a treehouse course in the jungle or a submarine course under the oceans. What kind of course would you build in the mesa?
Ender golf is the full sized cousin to Ice Minigolf. Build your course by creating a starting area and a hole. Use a beacon for the hole so it is easy to find. To play grab some ender pearls. When you throw them you will teleport to wherever they land. Be sure to count your strokes.
- Wacky Golf Design Challenge: Come up with a wacky course designs you won’t ever find on a real golf course. Like putting the hole in the air. Or making players cross a pool of lava.
Another type of challenge course is the archery range. An archery range is one of the easiest mini games to make in Minecraft. All you have to do is make some targets. Here are a few ideas to spruce up your new archery range:
- Add wooden buttons: When an arrow hits a button it presses it. That means you can use a button and a little redstone to turn on a light or set off a little fireworks show when you hit your mark.
- Add mobs: Grab some spawn eggs and put some mobs far onto the course. Watch out for skeletons if you’re in survival. They may shoot back.
- Add depth: This is an archery practice range after all. Make sure you have targets at different distances to improve your skill at all ranges.
3. Puzzles, Adventure Maps, and Dungeons
Some Minecraft minigames focus on solving a puzzle or completing a dungeon or adventure. These games often emphasize storytelling and setting as much as gameplay, but they can also make use of all the toolsets in the Minecraft builder’s arsenal.
Puzzle maps are as fun to design and build as they are to play. Most Minecraft puzzles use redstone or command blocks, requiring players to activate the right redstone components to unlock a door or provide an item needed to finish the puzzle.
- First Puzzle Challenge: To build your first Minecraft puzzle you will need to know the basics of redstone. For your first puzzle try building an escape room. You will need to make a piston door that only opens if a lever (or other redstone input) is placed in the correct location.
Making your own adventure map is a challenging, fun, and highly creative activity for any Minecraft player. Adventure maps often use Adventure Mode—players can interact with the world but cannot mine or place blocks. This lets adventure map designers focus on creating an awesome story and experience for their players without worrying about Minecraft’s open-ended gameplay leading players astray. Here are some tips to get you started on your first adventure map:
- Find your setting: Think about some of your favorite stories from books, movies or video games. Where and when did they take place? What was this place like? Try to come up with a cool place for your adventure to happen.
- Identify a goal: What kind of adventure will your players go on? Are they looking for treasure? Trying to cure a mystery disease? Let the players know the goal of their adventure early on to help keep them on track.
- Use maps, books, signs, and monuments to guide your players: What’s more exciting than finding a treasure map? Or a dusty journal with a clue to the next step in the journey? Use a combination of words, maps, and builds to help guide your players.
- Don’t forget the loot: All the best adventures have loot. Think about what your players will need throughout their adventure. Instead of just giving players this loot, give them some interesting ways to earn it or find it. Don’t forget to give them a big payoff at the end too.
- Play and redesign: Once you’ve complete your adventure map, ask your friends to play it. Try to find some parts that worked really well but also look for the parts of the adventure that didn’t go well. Was part of the adventure too confusing, too easy or too difficult? Try redesigning it, thinking about the experience of your players and how you could make it better.
Never played an adventure map before? Try downloading one here.
Another awesome and easy to make Minecraft minigame is the redstone dungeon. The goal is to get from one side to the other, jumping over gaps, avoiding obstacles and traps, and sometimes even collecting and using items or fighting mobs. All you’ll need an entrance, an exit, and all kinds of nefarious traps in between. Check out the video below for 10 trap ideas to get you started.
Minecraft racing is a fun and easy minigame that is competitive but a little bit easier to get into than other types of PvP (player versus player) minigame. The goal is simple—be the first one to the other side. The best part: there are many types of Minecraft race to choose from.
- The Beginner’s Race Track
Start out with just a basic race track for foot races, horses races, or even pig races. Make sure to give your race track a cool theme and to include some obstacles for players to jump, crouch, and sprint their way around.
- The Parkour Course
Parkour is one of the most popular Minecraft minigames. Not as extreme as real world parkour. But still really challenging and a lot of fun. Use ice, slime, ladders, redstone, and more to give your parkour course a unique look and feel.
- An Elytra course
Elytra’s are gliders that were only added to Minecraft in 2016. Minecraft 1.11 has added a feature where fireworks can be used to boost you while you’re gliding. This adds a whole new dimension to these flying race courses. Better get building. What kinds of weird, floating obstacles will you include in your course?
- A Boat Race
Build a race track for your boat. Now that two players can fit into a boat this can be a fun pairs-activity too. While one player navigates the boat the other can shoot at mobs or try to knock the other racers off track.
- An Ice Racetrack
The packed ice race track adds a whole new dimension to boat racing. The boats slide around on the ice, making for a more challenging race. Designers can leave corners closed, or open them up to allow players to slide right off the track.