Stuff We Like: Backyard Games with a Twist
Does your household have a king of croquet? How about a captain of cornhole? Get ready to challenge his or her reign of the backyard with these quirky outdoor games. Stray from the traditional horseshoes matches and bocce games this summer and try one of these fun but lesser-known family lawn games, either in your own backyard or at a park nearby.
Ringer Toss combines elements of frisbee and a carnival-style ring toss. The nine-piece wooden set is lightweight (about 7 pounds) and easy to set up, featuring five poles with a small cup balanced on top of each pole. Players stand a few feet apart and fling their rings at the poles opposite them, trying to knock off as many cups as they can (1 point per cup) and get “ringers” (your ring over the pole, 3 points). First team to 21 points wins. ($69; ringertoss.com)
According to the creators (who hail from Seattle), Palikka is an outdoor game based on several classic Scandinavian lawn games (which must be a lot like bocce or lawn bowling, because the combination of the two basically equals Palikka). Palikka is played by two or more people with a set of small wooden pins numbered 1 through 12. There are several ways to play, but classic Palikka is played by throwing the tossing log at the wooden pins, which are arranged together in random order. The number on each pin you knock over is added to your score, and the goal is to get exactly 50 points (if you go past 50, your score drops back down to 25). As a twist, there’s one blank “wild pin” that takes on the value of the previous player’s throw. ($39.50; palikkagame.com)
Ring Stix is less of a competitive game and more like throwing a frisbee or tossing a football. The standard set comes with one glow-in-the-dark ring and one red ring that players toss and catch using Stix. The game is a good one for developing hand-eye coordination and passing the time with players of different skill levels who may not want to compete against one another in a more traditional lawn game. ($19.99; ringstix.com)
This super-portable game is like a mix between horseshoes and bocce. It comes with eight wooden pieces, including six disks and two triangular “goals.” Team members line up a few feet away from each other, behind the goals, and roll the wooden disks toward the opposite goal, trying to get each disk as close to the goal as possible. For an added twist, the disks have numbers printed on either side, and the player receives the point value that is facing up when the disk stops rolling. ($39.95; rollors.com)
More Outdoor Fun
Brush up on the rules for classic outdoor games such as the Limbo, Catch the Tail on the Dragon, and Egg-and-Spoon Races.