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5 Games to Elevate Your Tailgate – & How To Play

At EcoFlow we’re striving to give you the best tailgating season you’ve ever had by providing valuable tips and resources on all-things tailgating. Planning the tailgating games that you and all your friends can enjoy is crucial to hosting a successful tailgate party. Here are the top 5 EcoFlow-approved tailgating games, how to make them for yourself, and of course, how to play. With these five exciting games in your tailgate party arsenal, you’ll never have a dull moment at the tailgate party, and with the EcoFlow RIVER, the tailgating fun is endless!

Our Top Games

  1. Cornhole
  2. Chippo
  3. Ladder Golf
  4. Lawn Bowling
  5.  Kan Jam

1. Cornhole

(via Nahara Designs)

If you’ve ever played or seen a game of cornhole, you can see why it is the most popular tailgating game today. Cornhole is an incredibly fun and simple game that is also relatively easy to build, and is so mainstream in America, that there is even a national cornhole league.

Materials Required: 8 handheld bean bags, 2 cornhole boards (If you want to jazz it up and really wow your team, check out the Lightning Cornole electronic boards — they light up and keep score digitally, and you can power with your EcoFlow RIVER!)

How to Make Your Own Set (Thank you to our friends at Family Handyman for the instructions!)

Tools Required: jigsaw, circular saw, drill, clamps, compass, pencil, paint roller and brush, EcoFlow RIVER

Materials required: 1×4 ft. Boards (4), 2ft. x 4ft. Plywood (2), construction screws (20), nuts, bolts (4), exterior-grade paint, primer, safety goggles, construction gloves

  • To start, use the jigsaw and cut the 1x4s into (4) 48” boards for the sides, (4) 22-½” boards for the front and back, and (4) 15” boards for the legs. You will cut the 15” boards later.
  • Fasten the 1x4s into boxes with the drill (powered by your RIVER, of course!), pilot holes and screws.
  • Use the compass and pencil to mark a perfect circle about 25% down from the top of the board and make the circle centered.
  • Take your 2×4 ft. piece of Plywood and mark a point 12” from a side edge and 9” from the top edge; then draw a 6” (in diameter) circle around the mark using a compass. Drill a pilot hole along the edge of the circle and use the jigsaw to cut out the rest of the hole.
  • Attach the Plywood to the box. Use a countersink bit to drill pilot holes and fasten the Plywood with screws.
  • Mark 1-¾” down the length of the 15” legs and use a compass and draw an arc. Cut the arc with a jigsaw.
  • Turn the box upside down; lay one leg parallel to a side of the box, with the arc side in the corner. Clamp it into place. Drill a ½” hole through both pieces. Repeat the process for the second leg; then fasten the legs to the board with nuts and bolts.
  • Lift up the platform using a bucket, a piece of scrap wood or anything that can boost the top of the Plywood to 12” from the ground, and position it on the edge of your work table. Fold out the legs and use your worktable to mark the angle on the legs, as shown. Detach the legs and cut along the line with a circular saw.
  • Sand your boards, and prime and paint them with your team’s colors! Bonus points for painting your team’s mascot and/or logo on the board as well.

How to Play 

  • Objective: under-hand toss bean bags onto your opponent’s board, and the ultimate goal is to get the beanbag into the hole on the board. The first team or individual to get to 21 points (while also leading by 2+ points) wins.
  • You get 1 point for landing the beanbag on your opponent’s board, and 3 points for getting it into the hole.
  • Cornhole can be played in 2 teams of 2, or 1 vs. 1 competition.
  • Find a nice flat surface on the grass or pavement lot and set the boards directly facing each other with 27 feet of separation between the front edge of each board.
  • In 2 vs. 2, each player gets 2 beanbags and 2 throws per turn, so a team of 2 will have 4 beanbags and 4 throws total each round. In 1 vs. 1 each player gets 4 beanbags and throws during a round.
  • Make sure to stand fully behind the front edge of the board before tossing, and a player’s points will be forfeited (and you will be pelted with beanbags) for every throw where their front foot extends past the front edge of the board.
  • In addition, if a beanbag hits the ground and then bounces up onto the board, the points will not count, and the beanbag must be removed before any additional throws.
  • After all 8 bean bags are thrown (4 from each side), count up the points accumulated, and the side with the most points will get to throw first in the next round.
  • Scoring: if team 1 gets 6 points in the first round and team 2 gets 4, team 1 would be leading 2-0 and would get to throw first in round 2. If both sides score the same amount in one round, the overall score will stay the same.

2. Chippo

Variation of Cornhole: Chippo

For all of the golf enthusiasts out there, Chippo is like a mini version of golf that is also similar to cornhole, in that you are trying to get objects into a hole on a target board. You can either build your own target board, with one big hole with netting in the middle, and two smaller holes on the top corners of the board, or Amazon offers the complete Chippo set.

Materials Required: 2 Chippo (or handmade) target boards, 2 chipping mats, 6 golf balls, wedge golf club

How To Play 

  • The team who gets to or exceeds 21 points first while leading by 2+ wins. 
  • Set the boards fifteen feet apart from each other, and find 3 friends to play with you. 
  • Take 2 shots per person (4 in a round for a team of 2), and tally the score for your team and compare it to your opponent’s score. The points cancel out, so if your team scores 8, and your opponent scores 5, you would get 3 points for that round. 
  • Scoring: 5 points for hitting the small holes on the top corners, 3 points for getting the ball in the bigger hole in the middle, 1 point for hitting the board, 0 points for missing the board completely, and double the points for hitting the turf square in front of the board and having the ball land in a hole. 

3. Ladder Ball

 (via East Point Sports)

Ladder Ball is another great tailgate game that has been around for decades (but was only patented in 1999), and is played by throwing Bolas (two golf balls connected with nylon rope) onto a ladder.

Materials Required: 

Wooden or plastic ladder with 3 poles, called steps or rungs; 6-12 Bolas

How to Play

  • Objective: score exactly 21 points before your opponent does. 
  • Play 1 vs. 1 or in teams of 2, and play rock, paper, scissors or do a coin flip to determine who throws first.
  • Players must stand 15 feet away from the ladder when tossing. Each player gets 3 Bolas and must throw all 3 before another player can go.
  • The goal of the game is to get as many bolas to catch onto one of the rungs, and the first team or player to get to exactly 21 points wins.
  • Scoring: the top rung is worth 3 points, the middle rung is worth 2 points, and the lowest rung is worth 1 point.
  • Add up the total points after 3 throws from each player, which are the bolas remaining on the rungs. Your opponent can knock down your Bola that is connected to one of the rungs, and those points no longer count if it is knocked to the ground.
  • The player who gets the most points in the round throws first in the next round. A player or team has to get exactly 21 points to win the game, if they go over 21, the points they earned during that round do not count.
  • In the event of a tie, play another 3-throw round and a player/team must win by at least 2 points.
  • Unlike golf or tennis, Ladder Ball encourages banter and anything except touching the player that will throw them off your game. Whether you like to boo or heckle someone, anything of that nature is allowed in the game (as long as you don’t mean it personally). 

4. Lawn Bowling

  (via Hello Kellowna)

Bowling at an alley can be costly and sometimes there are time limits for how long you can be bowling on a lane. Lawn bowling is convenient because the required materials are inexpensive and there are no time limits or gutter balls.

Materials Required: 10 empty bottles or wooden bowling pins, small ball (between the size of a tennis ball or grapefruit), score sheet

How to Play

  • Objective: knock over as many pins as you can with each throw and outscore your opponent.
  • To play lawn bowling, arrange the 10 pins or bottles in a triangle pyramid like you do for water pong. Each player should stand at least 20 feet away from the pins. Each player gets 2 rolls per frame.
  • The player with the highest score at the end of 10 frames is the winner. 300 is the maximum score for bowling
  • A strike is when you knock down all of the 10 pins on your 1st try of the round. If you hit a strike then you don’t take a 2nd turn, but the points you accumulate from a strike will more than make up for it.
  • When you roll a strike, you will put an X on your scoresheet for that frame, and will get 10 points plus the amount of pins knocked down in the next two turns in the following frame. For example, if you get a strike, then knock down 8 pins in the following frame, your score for the last frame would be 28 (10 pins knocked down, 10 for getting a strike, and 8 for the number of pins knocked down in the frame).
  • A spare is when you knock down all 10 pins on your 2nd try of the round. If you score a spare, mark a slash on your scorecard, and then your score for the next frame will be 10 plus what the number of pins you knock down on your first turn of the frame.
  • For example: if 6 pins are knocked down in the first turn after a spare, the score would be 15 (10 for knocking all the pins + 5 on the first throw) plus the amount of pins in the second turn. So if you roll a spare and then knock down 7 pins in the following frame, your score for that round would be 17.
  • If a player rolls a strike on their last frame, they get to take two more turns. If both those are strikes as well, they get an extra 60 points to their total score.
  • If a player rolls a spare on their last frame, they get to take one more turn. If that turn is a strike, they get one additional turn.
  • Add up your score at the end, and the winner gets whatever winnings/incentive that was agreed upon before the game. 

5. Kan Jam 

 (via The Coolist)

KanJam came from humble beginnings, as 2 friends from Buffalo enjoyed throwing discs into metal garbage cans. The game became popular in upstate New York and they decided to make a business out of their hobby. KanJam has now blossomed into one of the most popular outdoor party games in the U.S.

Materials Required: 2 Kan Jam durable plastic goals, frisbee/disc

How to Play

  • Objective: Score 21 points or get the disc into the front slot, whichever comes first.
  • To determine which side starts first, a disc flip will be executed. Call the frisbee landing, and the winner will decide if they want to throw first or last.
  • You and a partner stand at opposite Kans, which are 50 feet away.
  • Each throw should have the goal of getting the disc/frisbee into the can, and your partner can assist you in doing so. There are 3 places you are aiming to get the disc, hitting the side of the Kan, getting it through the top hole, and getting it through the slot in the middle, which is an instant win throw.
  • Once you throw the disc, your partner can guide it in by quickly redirecting the disc as if it were a hot potato.
  • Alternate turns between you and your partner.
  • If the disc hits the side of the Kan with a deflection from your teammate, 1 point is awarded (Dinger).
  • 2 points are awarded if the disc hits the Kan without help from your teammate (Deuce).
  • 3 points are awarded if your teammate deflects the disc into the Kan or you do so unassisted.
  • Instant win is if you throw the disc through the small slot in the front and into the Kan. Game over.
  • The first team to 21 points or the instant win throw wins the match. However, you have to get exactly 21 points, and if a throw raises a team’s total above 21, you subtract the points from that throw from your previous total.
  • For example, if you have 20 points and a Deuce is scored, instead of 22 the new score would be 18, as you are subtracting 2 points from 20 (previous score).
  • If both teams get to 21 in the same round, a 1-round overtime will take place, where the team who scores the highest after one throw, wins. If the score is still tied, play another round until a winner is decided.

Other fun tailgating games: ring toss, water pong, dizzy bat race

Finally, don’t forget to craft a party playlist and play some music at your tailgate! EcoFlow RIVER is compatible with almost all speakers and phones, so you’re all set to blast your favorite songs — and check out EcoFlow’s Tailgate Playlist for some timeless tailgate tunes. Curious about which devices your RIVER can power? Check out our wattage calculator to find out.

With these games in the your back pocket, you are guaranteed to have the best tailgating season you’ve ever had. Happy tailgating!

Written by: Austin Hennen Vigil, Marketing Intern at EcoFlow