Step aside bocce…
Are your yard games getting a little too predictable? Don’t have the energy to set up the badminton net again? No worries! We have you covered with three awesome yard games that you probably haven’t heard of.
What is it? It’s a Finnish yard game that’s been around for hundreds of years.* It’s kind of like bowling and pool.
How many people? At least 2. You can play with lot more, but 6 is a pretty good number to keep the game moving at a good pace.
How is it played? You have 12 pins with numbers on them. If you knock down more than one pin, you score the number of pins knocked down. If you knock down just one pin, you get the score on that pin. You have to score exactly 50 to win. If you go over, you go back to 25. If you miss three times in a row, you’re out!
Why is it awesome? As everyone gets closer to 50 the tension rises. People will need specific pins to win, and they might be locked up with other pins or are pushed so far out that they’re very difficult to get. Also, it’s beer-in-hand friendly and requires very little space to play.
* Mölkky is actually based on kyykkä, which is a centuries old throwing game with Karelian roots. There. Now you know more about Mölkky than you want.
What is it? Its rumored to be a game that was played in the Viking age. I’m choosing to believe it because I love the idea of big brawny dudes in armor playing a gentlemanly lawn game.
How many people? Because 6 batons are tossed each round, it is best played with 4, 6 or 12 people. That way everyone throws an equal number of batons.
How is it played? You’ll get the short version here: Blocks (kubbs) are set up along the back edge of each teams court. When the opposing team knocks them down, you throw them into their court and then you try to knock them down. Accurate throwing is key. When you can get them all down in one round, you then knock down the “king” in the middle and it’s game over.
Why is it awesome? The batons have a nice weight to them, and it’s very satisfying to drill the kubbs with them. Also – no scoring! Bonus! The game is just over when one team can get everything down in one round. It’s also beer-in-hand friendly. When you combine that with the fact that you don’t have to add numbers, and then factor in Vikings, you’ve got a pretty awesome game on your hands.
What is it? It was originally called “garage can frisbee” and was created in Buffalo, NY in the 80’s. It was first sold to schools as an addition to their physical education programs.
How many people? Two teams of two.
How is it played? Picture horseshoes where you get to help slap your teammate’s horseshoe onto the stake. Kan Jam is a collaborative game, where one player throws a frisbee at a plastic bucket with a slot in it. The top is open. If your teammate smacks the frisbee into the top (crazy fun to do), it’s worth 3 points. If they smack it into the side, it’s worth 1. If you can hit the can unassisted, it’s worth 2 points. If at any time you can manage to throw it through the slot you win instantly.
Why is it awesome? Because both team members are involved in every toss. There is very little standing around. The game moves fast, and man – is it ripe for trash talking! It’s tons of fun. Also, because no one throws perfectly every time you end up with a lot of scrambling and smacking – often resulting in “OMG – Can you believe I scored on that toss? Bam!”
And if you’re ready for a Kan Jam training montage…
All three of these games have world class competitions. Yes, even Mölkky. Check it out:
U.S. National Kubb Championship
The beauty of these games is that they’re easy to play and difficult to master. There is plenty of room for everyone to improve over a summer. Pick up one or all, and let the fun begin!