The Top 20 Games for Maximum Summer Fun
Backyard games are the highlight of Spring, Summer, and Fall get togethers. We’ve played all the games in all the seasons. Some games rise above the rest as you’ll see below. Enjoy this hand crafted list.
Each game featured here includes links to what we've deemed the best sets and/or equipment for each game. Also, you can visit links to posts that go more in depth about the game, it's rules, game variations and a little terminology. Click on the image of each game or the link at the bottom to view/purchase the best set available on Amazon. It pleases us to share with you the TOP 20 Yard Games to enjoy with your friends and family.
*Editor's note: These are also great tailgating games.
Cornhole ranks atop our list for fun, simplicity and replay-ability. We list the best boards and bags for you in the Best Cornhole Boards & Bags post. It's a hall of fame game played in backyards, beaches, pubs, and tailgate parties with 2-4 players of all ages. Set up is simple, and can be played for hours. Games are played to 21 points with points that cancel each other out. Have a look at some rules, terminology, and game variations in the Cornhole Rules and Play post. Cornhole is the gold standard of yard games.
Spikeball is sweeping the nation since appearing on the television show Shark Tank. The game plays like a 360 degree version of volleyball. Players play in teams of two and get three total hits of the soft ball to hit the net, which sits in the center of the playing area. Like volleyball, the goal is to hit shots that are unreturnable by your opponents. The real fun comes in that there are no boundaries in Spikeball, all players are free to run anywhere they want after the serve. Spikeball is as fun as it gets when it comes to high energy yard games.
Croquet is not as fancy as you think. This classic sport embodies what backyards are meant to be. The game plays at a great casual pace full of suspense, retaliation, and creative control. 2-6 players of all ages. Best enjoyed on a newly mowed lawn. Croquet offers a nice change of pace from the tossing style yard games. The act of "Croqueting" another player's ball is so exciting. Check out our Best Croquet Sets page for an in depth look at all our favorite sets. It's a wicket good time.
Horseshoes has and always will be a favorite here at yardandpubgames.com. There is something so magnificent about the sound of a horseshoe striking the steel stake. Ringers are as exciting an accomplishment as any in backyard games. For more on the sport and a list of the best sets available, visit our Best Horsehoe Sets post.
#5 Kan Jam
A new comer to the yard sports arena, Kan Jam has all the good things you want in a game. All 4 players need focus, dexterity, determination and a drink in their hand. This frisbee based game will test your agility, accuracy and teamwork. Points are had when the frisbee goes into the open top via a teammate deflection or a great toss. We really really enjoy playing this and you'll enjoy our article all about Kan Jam here.
Scatter/Molkky is a unique combination of some familiar games. Players take turns throwing a wooden rod at a set of smaller wooden pins (known as 'skittles'). Players can score the number of points indicated on the skittle if that is the only one they knock over, if they knock over multiple skittles they receive points equal to the number they knock over. Molkky is a unique twist on a familiar feeling game, players stand quite close to the playing area making the game more about picking the right pin to go after than skill of being able to knock over a pin from a long distance.
#7 Ladder Ball
Ladder ball ranks high on our list not because it brings anything new to the genre, but because it's just so weird and wonderful. There are a ton af great sets out there, but we highlight the Top 10 Ladderball games here. The bolos players throw take practice to figure out; and even then, gravity takes over and points can be gained/lost in milli-seconds. The game can be played with 2-4 players of all ages.
#8 Boccee Ball
Boccee Ball in the yard is never the same game twice. Boccee will have everyone wanting to play gain and again. The game is simply to throw your heavy colored balls closest the the tiny white Jack Ball. However, the Jack ball is never in the same spot round after round; the winner of a previous round throws it to another position and a new round begins.
#9 Giant Jenga
Giant Jenga or tumbling towers as it it otherwise known is fantastic. of all the oversized games, this one topples the rest. Same rules apply as the standard size game, just everything is bigger. The blocks, the intensity, the fails are all exaggerated when you play Giant. there are several sets available and we rank them in our Best Giant Jenga Sets post. Pro tip: use a small table to raise the game up a few feet.
That's a fine Top Ten games list. We're only half way through though. Who knows, one or two of the next ten games may become a favorite. As mentioned before this is not a comprehensive list, just the most popular and well received. We would like to hear from you as well. What are your favorite games not mentioned here? Do you agree with our list? shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Facebook page.
#11 Beers Bee
#12 Disc Golf
#13 Ramp Shot
Ramp Shot is a great choice for those wanting an more active game. Played in teams of two, one player attempts to throw a ball into the oddly shaped ramp about fifteen feet away. A make is worth three points for their team. If the ball misses, but hits the ramp, it can be caught by their teammate (for one point) or an opposing team member (giving the opposing team an extra throw). Games are played to exactly 15. With three players involved in each throw, this game keeps the action going.
#14 Giant Connect 4
Rollors is a new game which looks a little odd on the surface but will quickly feel familiar as it combines some traditional games into one package. Think a bocce and horseshoes hybrid. The game is setup with two cones placed about 25 feet apart. Players then take turns rolling wooden discs towards the cones. The player with the single closest disc scores that round. In a twist we haven't seen, the discs themselves have numbers on them to determine how many points they are worth. And each side of the disc has a different number. Hit the cone to double your points. Rollors is a fun hybrid of familiar games and makes for a great family game.
#16 Kubb/Viking Chess
Kubb/Viking Chess has been around for a few hundred+ years. The game involves throwing a short, round rod across the playing field (about nine yards long) attempting to knock over your opponent's Kubbs (pronounced Koob, as in "boob" or "lube"). Knock over a few Kubbs and your opponents then get to throw those back across the field where they are then set upright. This team must then knock over these field Kubbs before going after the original starting Kubbs. This repeats until one team is able to knock over all of the opposing Kubbs, they then must knock over the King (located in the middle) to win. That's a lot of explaining for a unqiue game, but this is a truly a very fun game.
A little more elaborate of a game than others on this list, volleyball remains a classic and is always a hit. Teams take turns serving over the net and each team has three hits of the ball to return it back over the net, otherwise a point is awarded. Volleyball works well because you can accommodate a wide range of player counts. Two on two is a lot of fun, but so is six on six. It's a classic game that can include a large number of players and can be played friendly or ultra competitive.
Skittles is a fun way to take bowling to the yard, with a few twists. The rules for this one vary depending on where you are playing, but the basic premise is the same. You setup nine pins and get three bowls to try to knock them over. If you succeed before you use all three balls, you reset the pins and bowl your remaining balls. Scoring varies, sometimes it is played that you can't score until the Kingpin (located in the center) is knocked down, other times that isn't a constraint. Skittles is a great game for all ages as you can adjust the distance from the pins to make sure everyone has a good time.
#20 Bucket Pong
Bucket Pong is beer pong, but supersized. Without the need to fill these buckets with the liquid of your choice, bucket pong takes on a more family friendly, game-y approach than the drinking game that inspired it. Bucket pong is a lot of fun, it plays easier than beer pong but should be a hit for a wide range of audience.