When BBQ season is fast approaching, spending time outdoors in your backyard is a given. And while a well-mowed lawn inspires you to hit the grill ASAP, things can get pretty wild when you are hanging with a crowd. Meaning: Your friends and family may want to get a little more hands-on action instead of just sitting and watching you struggle with those steaks.
Blongo balls are the perfect way to break the ice or wake your BBQ guests up from that post-meal slump. Featuring just a handful of bolas (we’ll get to that later on) and two ladder-like structures, this lawn game is not just a cinch to set up but also super fun to play. The best part? No matter if you are 6 or 60, blongo balls will have you hooked. So, let’s get the (blongo) balls rolling, shall we?
What You Need to Play Blongo Balls
Also known as ladder toss or ladder golf, blongo balls are all about a strong and steady throw and some pretty basic equipment. In its simplest form, this lawn game calls for two teams with two more members. You can, of course, choose to play solo against a single opponent, but where’s the fun in that? So, here’s what you’ll need:
- Two teams, each consisting of two or more players. Playing solo is also an option, but the truth is that the more players participate, the better.
- 6 bolas (3 for each team). A bola consists of two golf balls connected to each other through a thick cord.
- 2 ladders (one for each team). These ladder-like structures are usually made of steel or PVC and consist of three rungs (top, middle, and bottom).
The Basic Rules of Blongo Balls
Being a family-friendly backyard game, blongo balls comes with a set of easy-to-follow rules. But, don’t let its simplicity fool you. This lawn game requires some basic concentration and a quite competitive streak. If you got both, then these rules will help you get started.
- Step 1
Draw the (toss) line. Before you start throwing your bolas around, you need to set the distance between the two ladders. Usually, players place the two ladders 15 feet away from each other which is the official toss line. However, if there are kids involved or your backyard is kind of small, the line could be set 5 paces from the ladder.
- Step 2
Decide which team goes first. The two easiest ways to decide which team gets to throw the bolas first are to either flip a coin or play a round of rock-paper-scissors.
- Step 3
Toss all three bolas in one round. At this point, you or your teammates throw all your bolas toward the opponent’s ladder in an attempt to wrap them around the rungs. You get to throw all three of them in one round, one at a time.
- Step 4
Your opponent throws all three bolas toward your ladder. Now it’s time for your opponent to fight back. They also get to throw all three of their bolas to your ladder and hope for the best.
- Step 5
Count your score. Each team must count the total points they earned from wrapping their bolas around each ladder step. Top rung equals 3 points, middle rung equals 2 points, and bottom rung equals one point.
- Step 6
Repeat the same procedure for two more rounds. You and your opponent must toss your bolas toward the opponent’s ladder for two more rounds. Remember to count your score at the end of each round.
- Step 7
Score exactly 21 points to win. To take the bongo ball trophy home, you need a total score of exactly 21 points. If a player or team goes over this threshold, the points from that last round do not count, and the participants need to start over from the previous score. This goes on until one of the two teams scores exactly 21 points.
The Not-so-Basic Rules of Blongo Balls
Playing by the rules is fun. But, spicing things up now and then can go a long way. If you want to take your blongo ball game to the next level, these not-so-basic rules can do the trick.
- If all three bolas land on the same ladder rung, then you and your team get awarded with a bonus point for your impressive throwing skills.
- If you or your team wraps one bola around each of the three rungs, then you instantly earn an additional point for being such skilled throwers.
- If there’s a tie, play over time. The first team or player to end a round with a score of two or more points than the opponent wins.
- Imagine this: You throw a bola, and you successfully wrap it around the top rung. Yeah, you just scored 3 points for your team! Now, it’s time for that second bola. Unfortunately, it accidentally hits the previous one and knocks it off the ladder. Do the points still count? No! Isn’t that a twist?
How to Play it Safe, Blongo Balls That Is
Safety always comes first, especially when there are kids involved. That’s why you should only use blongo ball equipment where it belongs: in your backyard. Here are some useful safety tips you need to know about before jumping into the blongo ball game.
- You, your teammates and opponents should stay away from the ladder when a player throws a bola. This way you avoid catching a stray one and injuring yourself for no reason.
- Do not lean on the ladder in any way. While it may seem sturdy (after all, it takes all those bolas “in the face”), this structure is not designed to hold your weight or any weight, for that matter. So, avoid using it as a ladder to reach the higher shelves. Also, make sure your kids don’t get any ideas like these.
- Even though most bolas are made using strong cords, no one guarantees that they won’t break if you yank them hard. So, use them just for throwing and not in a mini tug of war.
Whether you’re planning a family reunion, a casual BBQ party for your friends or want to have some fun with your kids on a dull summer evening, blongo balls (a.k.a ladder toss), beer pong, and corn hole are all a no-brainer. Combining your tossing skills with a dash of competition, this all-ages lawn game can turn your backyard gathering into a blast without leaving anyone on the outside. Can you feel the competition in the air?