How To Play Tailgating Games

cornhole_tailgating.jpg There are a number of popular tailgating games to play in the parking lot before the game or concert. Frequently I receive emails from readers asking me ‘what are the rules’ of many of the tailgating games you see out there. Maybe these people are novice tailgaters and do not want to show up to the tailgate party looking like a newbie. Maybe they have a dispute as to how the game is played and want a definitive answer. No matter what their reason for asking I thought I would compile a helpful “How To” guide on playing some of the more popular tailgating games out there. Of course rules sometimes vary regionally but these rules are generally accepted all over the tailgating parking lots.

Cornhole can be played either one-on-one or with teams of two players

  • Cornhole boards are placed 27 feet apart measuring from the front of cornhole boards.
  • Players have four bags each and alternate tossing their bags at the opposite cornhole board.
  • Bags landing on the top of the board are worth one (1) point. Bags falling in the hole are worth three (3) points. Optional rules based on region include a swish, a bag going in the hole without making contact with the board is worth five (5) points.
  • Scoring is done per round on a cancellation basis. The total points earned by a higher scoring team for that round is subtracted by the total points scored by the lower scoring team. i.e. the Red team scored two bags in the hole and one of the board (7 points) while the Blue team scored three bags on the board (3 points). 7 – 3 = 4. The Red team earned four (4) points for the round.
  • Teams continue to toss their cornhole bags until one team scores 21 points EXACTLY. If a team goes over 21 points, their score is reset to either 15 or 11, depending on the region you play in.

(Still want more detailed instruction on how to play cornhole? A great video tutorial can be found HERE.)

tailgate_beer_pong.jpgBEER PONG:
This is a drinking game in which teams of two throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in one of several cups of beer on the other end. Typically, plastic cups numbering either six or ten and arranged in a triangle are placed on opposite ends of the table. Normally the cups are a quarter or half full with beer.

  • Both players on one team will throw a single ping pong ball at the opposing team’s cups before the opposing team throws theirs.
  • When a ball lands in a cup, the defending team must consume all of the beer inside that cup.
  • The game is won by eliminating all the other team’s cups before one’s own cups are eliminated. The losing team must then consume all the beer remaining in the winning team’s cups.

(Rules for beer pong have become extremely regionalized to the point where bouncing a beer pong ball may be swatted away with one’s hand, balls circling the rim of a cup can be blown out using the defending players breath, etc.)

There are two versions of this game, the one hole version or the three hole version a.k.a. Original Washers.

  • Depending on your region of the country the distance between the scoring boards varies from 21 feet to 25 feet apart.
  • The game can be played with teams of two or one-on-one
  • Players alternate tossing their washer towards the opposite scoring box.
  • In single hole play, a washer in the hole scores three (3) points while a washer in the box scores one (1) point.
  • In Original (3 hole) Washers, the closest hole is worth one (1) point, the middle hole is worth three (3) points and the furthest hole is worth five (5) points.
  • Scoring is based on the cancellation method that is typically used in Cornhole.
  • A player or team wins when they score EXACTLY 21 points.
  • Going over 21 point results in a score reset. Depending on your region the score reset can range from going back to 11, 13 or 15 points.

flip_cup.jpgFLIP CUP:
This is a tailgating game that is essentially a drinking relay race between two teams.

– Minimum number of players per team is widely accepted as four (4) per team although there is no maximum to the number of players on a team. The only rule is you must have equal number of players per team and team members will line up on the same side of the table.
– Both teams start with a plastic cup per player filled to an equal and predetermined level with beer.
– The game starts when the first two players on one end of the table start drinking their cup.
– Once the cup is empty the player then places the cup, open end up, on the edge of the table.
– Using only one hand, the player now needs to flip the cup upside down. Once the cup is successfully flipped with the open end resting flat on the table, the next team member can pick up their cup and start drinking.
– The game is won when all players on one team have successfully drank the contents of their cup and successfully flipped all their cups before the other team.

blongo_ball_tailgating.JPGBLONGO BALL:
Also known regionally as Ladder Ball or Hillbilly Golf, this is another tossing game popular at tailgate parties.

  • Two Blongo Ball goals are place 25 feet apart.
  • Each player has three ropes with two golf balls attached, one on each end, called bolas.
  • Players alternate throwing their bolas at the opposing goal. The three rungs of the “ladder” are broken down into scoring levels.
  • A player who hangs or wraps his/her rope around one of the rungs can score points. The top rung is worth one (1) point, the middle rung two (2) points and the bottom rung three (3) points.
  • A player that successfully bounces his/her rope off the ground that successfully hangs from any rung is worth five (5) points.
  • Scoring is tabulated based on a cancellation method much like cornhole or washers.
  • The first player to earn exactly 21 points without going over wins. Going over will reset your score back to 11, 13 or 15 depending on rule interpretation and region of the country in which you are playing.


  • Take a plastic wiffleball bat and cut off one of the ends. (preferably the handle end)
  • Pour in a can of beer or two.
  • Chug the beer from the bat while friends time how long it takes you to finish. They can use their watch but most just count out loud how many seconds it takes you to pound the beer.
  • Once the beer is all gone put your head on the bat and make as many revolutions around the bat as it took seconds to finish the beer. (i.e. it took you 8 seconds to chug the beer, you now have to make eight spins around the bat.)
  • Once spins are completed, have a tailgating companion toss the crushed, empty can at you so that you can try to hit it.

Watch the video example of how to play Louisville Chugger


Hot girl playing Sholf at a San Diego Chargers tailgate partySHOLF
Sholf combines the scoring of shuffleboard with the tools of the game of golf. The object of Sholf is to putt your golf balls further into the scoring end than your opponent. Point values increase, as you get closer to the edge of the green.

– Players alternate putting their four (4) colored balls from behind the (2) line to the opposite end of the green until all eight balls are shot.
– Balls that do not cross the foul line are immediately removed before the next ball is played.
– An optional “Mulligan Ball” can be putted. After the initial eight balls are played, each player re-putts their furthest ball from the scoring end. The player who is not in scoring position putts their mulligan ball first.
– The score for the round is tallied just like table shuffleboard.
– The team with the closest ball(s) to the scoring end receive points. Balls must be completely across the line to get the higher point value.
– A player or teams of players now putt toward the opposite end of the playing green. The previous round’s point winner putts first.
– The first player or team of players to score 13 points wins.

(This post is part of the “How To” Group Writing Project/Contest at PureBlogging.)