Backyard parties are all the rage these days. And to be honest, we see no reason why they shouldn’t. From cooking practically everything over a flame (’tis grilling season, after all) to soaking up the sun non-stop, backyard summer parties have it all. However, if you want to take your host duties to a whole ‘nother level, lawn games are a must.
Tailgating games have a reputation (such as beer pong or ladder toss)for being the absolute barrels of fun and corn hole is no exception. This increasingly popular lawn game has the power to turn any kinda boring backyard get-together into a summertime bash with just a wooden board and some corn-filled bags. Plus, playing it is like a can of corn (pun intended!). So, ready to feel the tailgating fever rise?
What You Need to Play Corn Hole
Corn hole, beanbag toss, dad hole… Whatever you choose to call it, this lawn game is a fan of simplicity. Since it’s usually the centerpiece of impromptu tailgate parties, it’s designed to require minimum equipment available at all times. That’s why corn hole is the perfect choice for a last-minute backyard face off. The best part? Corn hole doesn’t involve any intense physical activity which makes it accessible even to those of us who tend to eat a bit more at every BBQ feast. So, here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 teams, each consisting of two players, perhaps more if you are hanging with a crowd and everyone wants a turn. Playing solo against one opponent is also an option.
- 2 wooden boards (platforms). These rectangular wooden boards are slightly elevated, so the hole is away from the ground. According to the official rules, the standard corn hole platform dimensions are either 3ft x 2ft or 4ft x 2ft. Of course, there are smaller sets to accommodate the needs of your backyard as well as others made of different materials which can be more budget-friendly.
- 8 corn-filled bags, 4 bags of each color. Usually made of duck cloth, each pouch weighs about 15 ounces.
The Basic Cornhole Rules
Who cares if you’re not a star athlete? Corn hole comes with a straightforward set of rules which require zero athletic skills (similar to ring toss) and are easy to understand by practically everyone, even small kids. What you do need to have, though, is good aim and patience. As easy as it looks, swishing that corn bag down the hole can be a bit challenging, especially if you’ve had a few during lunch. Luckily, the core rules of corn hole are easy to keep up with.
- Step 1
Place the wooden boards on a flat surface. Whether that’s your lawn or concrete pavement, make sure you situate the platform on a flat surface to avoid confusion since the board is already tilted at 12 inches above the ground.
- Step 2
Make sure the holes are set 33 feet apart from each other. To make things easier for you, keep the distance between the front lines of the platforms at 27 feet and have the boards face one another.
- Step 3
Stand next to the board and across from your teammate. While most lawn games dictate you stand by your teammate, corn hole rules require you to stand across from your teammate and by your opponent. However, make sure you both stand on the same side of the platform, facing each other.
- Step 4
Each team gets 4 corn bags of one color. You and your teammate get 2 bags of the same color each while your opponents get the remaining 4.
- Step 5
Decide which side gets to throw first. Flipping a coin or playing rock-paper-scissors are the two quickest ways to decide which set of opponents will make the first throw.
- Step 6
Both players on each side take turns pitching the corn bags. Divided into innings (turns), this game calls for alternating throws between you and the opponent next to you. When both of you throw all your bags toward the platform across you, it’s time for the players on the opposite side to start throwing their corn bags.
- Step 7
Count the score. When both parties have thrown all their corn bags, it’s time to count the score. A bag that lands on the platform is worth 1 point while a corn bag in the hole is worth 3 points. If a bag lands on the ground, it’s worth zero points. However, the points you score during each turn (inning) are canceled by your opponent and here’s where things get wild.
For example, if you land all three of your bags on the platform, you basically score 3 points. If your opponent lands two of the corn bags on the platform and one in the hole, he/she scores 5 points. The final score is 0 (you) – 2 (them). As a result, only one team earns some points per turn.
- Step 8
Reach or exceed 21 points at the completion of an inning to win. Repeat innings until one team reaches or scores more than 21 points. Since only one team gets awarded with points per turn, it’s practically impossible for teams to tie.
The Not-so-Basic Corn Hole Rules
Basic rules aside, corn hole also features a bunch of other challenging rules which can help make each match even more interesting (or competitive, if you prefer). So, if you want to turn up the heat, here are some not-so-basic corn hole rules you need to know.
- A corn bag that bounces off the ground and lands on the board doesn’t score any points.
- Never cross the invisible line drawn by the front line of the boards. If you do, your throw doesn’t count.
- A unique way to spice up the scoring system is to introduce the 2-point throw. According to this spin-off version, a corn bag is worth 2 points if it’s hanging over the hole but hasn’t fallen through it during an inning.
3 Corn Hole Fouls to Watch Out For
Fouls are part of any game. In your attempt to beat your opponent, you get carried away and accidentally break some of the rules. It’s OK; it can happen to the best of us. But, sometimes fouls can make the difference between winning and losing. That’s why it’s important to know which moves you need to avoid and make each throw count.
Also, keep in mind that foul corn bags need to be removed from the board before any more bags are tossed. What’s more, the corn bags that are in the count but are knocked by foul throws must be returned to the original position.
- Crossing the Invisible Line
If a player’s foot crosses the invisible line mentally drawn at the front line of the boards, he/she loses that throw. So, even if they drain the corn bag down the hole, they won’t be awarded any points.
- Throwing Out of Turn
Alternating throws between players can get tricky. Sometimes they tend to throw their bags before the opponent has the chance to toss theirs. In that case, the eager player makes a foul, and the shot doesn’t count.
- Tossing Within 20 Seconds
According to the game’s official rules, you must throw your bag seconds after your opponents throw theirs. If you wait for too long, your shot doesn’t count.
4 Corn Hole Tricks to Win the Prize
While certain corn bag toss techniques can go a long way, it’s always the little things that can turn you into a corn hole pro. If you want to wow your guests with your impressive throwing skills, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
- Opt for the High Arc Toss
This corn hole toss technique allows you to take advantage of the bag’s weight to make the shot. So, as you throw the corn bag in a high arc, you increase the chances of it landing on the board and staying there rather than sliding.
- Avoid the Low Arc Toss
The low arc toss features too much forward momentum. As a result, the bag is likely to bounce off the board and land on the ground.
- Master the Slider Toss
This method requires you to land the corn bag about six inches from the hole and use your next shots to slide it in. According to most corn hole players, the slider toss is a surefire way to nail a 3-pointer.
- Block Your Opponent
Playing defense is also an excellent way to win a match of corn hole, hence the blocker toss. For this move, you need to land your bag near the hole and prevent your opponent from making any bold moves. What’s more, you don’t allow them to use the slider toss. Isn’t that genius?
The game itself is fairly expensive but it is well worth it. The more you pay the better quality product you are going to run into, so we highly suggest paying top dollar for one of these. You may want to buy an extra set of bean bags because depending on where you store them they could fall apart. If you keep them indoor you should be good but keeping them outdoor will cause a problem after a few months.
If you’ve ever played corn hole, you know that a single word such as fun doesn’t begin to describe this lawn game. Its much smaller to store versus games such as dunk bucket. From awakening your inner child to getting your adult competitive streak pumping, corn hole combines the best of two worlds. So, ready, set, throw!
- Two on two is just as fun as one on one.
- Tournaments and corn hole leagues are very common in bigger cities.
- Amazing game to play
- Never gets boring.
- Very well known.
- Costs more money than a typical game
- Plays four people at most.
- Bulky to carry.