By Ryan Mayer
Fourth of July weekend is upon us! A time to bring the family and friends together, get outside, throw some various assorted meats on the grill and enjoy some beverages (adult and otherwise). While you’re soaking up the sun at your family/friend’s BBQ, you of course want to try and work off some of the gluttony induced by nearly unlimited amounts of food. Or at the very least, work up some room for that dessert table you’ve had your eye on since walking in the door. There are plenty of game options for you at a BBQ, let’s rank them in terms of best to least.
1) Wiffle Ball
America is basically summed up as hotdogs, apple pie and baseball, right? Well, why not check off all three boxes at your barbecue by breaking out the wiffle ball set, choosing sides and getting down to some good old-fashioned competition. Wiffle ball is almost the perfect backyard game because you don’t need a ton of space to play it.
Sure, we’d all love to have a scale replica of Fenway Park or Wrigley Field in our backyard to play Wiffle Ball in, but that’s not reality. The good news is, depending on how you want to set up the rules, Wiffle Ball can be played a variety of different ways. Plus, the best way to shut up that relative that keeps talking smack? Crushing a home run off them in front of the whole family.
Spikeball is a newer tailgate/backyard game that has started to make the rounds. It involves two teams of two people. The official rules of the game can be found here. Another competition that can get highly competitive and gets you moving around to burn off some of those calories before dessert. The reason that it’s below Wiffle Ball, is because that competitiveness can lead to people diving or intentionally trying to hit other players with the ball and that’s just never good.
3) Kan Jam
If you’ve never played Kan Jam, you’re missing out. If you have, you know that this is a solid BBQ game to be played among friends and family. Basically involves four people (two on each team) and it’s a game to 21. You can read up on the official rules on the website, but games generally take between 15-30 minutes (some longer depending on how many beverages consumed) and you can consistently rotate in new teams.
It’s simple, easy to play, and usually takes just one hand so you can use the other for chomping down on that next hot dog or hamburger, or your beverage of choice.
You’ve probably seen this game at tailgates. Basically a wooden ramp with a hole cut near the top where teams of two people take turns tossing bean bags back and forth trying to get it closest to the hole or directly through it. Like Kan Jam, requires just the one hand to toss bean bags and the risk of people getting hurt is minimal because well, you’re tossing bean bags.
5) Ladder Ball
Another tailgate game favorite. Again two teams of two people (sensing a theme here?) tossing what amounts to two golf balls attached with a piece of string separating them in the middle at a three rung “ladder”. The object of the game is to get the balls to wrap themselves around the rungs of the ladder. Again, official rules differ. So, depending on the house you’re playing at make sure to check what the “house rules” are before playing. There is a slight danger of being hit with the golf balls in this game if your partner gets a little overzealous with their toss, so that is the downside.