How to make your summer awesome with international lawn games!

By Stephen Hyde
Posted in The Field Guide to Drinking in America, on July 14, 2016

If you’re looking for something fun to do this summer, look no further than your front lawn. I’m not talking how mowing or pulling up weeds; I’m talking about relaxing with your friends while playing any number of different lawn games. Here are a few ideas on how to change your lawn into a sporting arena.

KanJam 

Equipment

2 Kanjams

1 Frisbee

4 players

Alcohol (optional but recommended)

Created in 1980 by Charles Sciandra and Paul Swisher and originally called “garbage can Frisbee, KanJam is a deceptively easy game that combines the greatest parts of ultimate Frisbee with the greatest parts of slamming Frisbees into things. If you can throw a Frisbee and are able to knock a Frisbee out of the air in the general direction you want it to go then congratulations; you’ve just become a master KanJam player! All you need for equipment is one Frisbee and two Kanjams. If you don’t want to pay the exorbitant prices for a name brand KanJam you can make your own by following this video. The game is played in teams of two with each member of the team standing behind their respective “kan”. You then throw the Frisbee toward your partner and your partner tries to knock the Frisbee into the opening at the top of the kan or to just hit the kan. Games are played to 21 points with teams taking turns. You get 1 point for knocking the Frisbee into the kan, 2 points if the thrower hits the kan without any assistance, 3 points if the Frisbee is knocked into the opening of the kan, and your team gets an instant victory if the thrower manages to get the Frisbee into the small slot at the front of the kan. Sound easy? The competitors of the KanJam world championship may argue you on that but there can be no doubt the game is easy to learn.

To make KanJam a drinking game is simple. When the opposing team scores 1, 2 or 3 points you have to take a sip from your drink. If the opposing team manages to get the Frisbee into the instant win hole then you have to finish your drink. These simple rules will add a whole new dimension to your kanjam experience.  

Nagelspielen Games

Equipment

1 Hammer

1 Stump

2+ Nails

3 or more players

Alcohol

Nagelspielen is a German word that roughly translates into “nail games” . The most popular of which are Hammerschlagen and Stump. Nagelspielen games answer the age old question of what to do with all of the excess stumps and nails laying around your backyard. Hammerschlagen was originally conceived of as a German children’s game where kids would take turns hammering a single nail into various objects such as tires, the ground, or the side of an old barn until the nail could no longer be struck. Since then the game has evolved into a contest of wills for up to as many people as you can fit nails into the stump. Hammerschlagen is another deceptively easy game. The goal of the game, depending on how you play, is to either drive your nail fully into the stump or to have your nail be the last one standing. You must hit the nail with the wedge end of the hammer and your swing must be in one continuous motion. If you find the game too easy and want to add a little flair to your turn you can add in some advanced hammer flipping variations as demonstrated here. Nagelspielen games are best played with a drink in your hand and with at least 3 friends. And probably with a first aid kit handy.

Polish Horseshoes 

Equipment

2 Poles

1 Frisbee

4-6 players

Enough beer to support your Polish Horseshoes addiction

Unlike traditional horseshoes which has a storied history and a governing body (the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association), Polish Horseshoes (also known as Spanish Horseshoes, Frisbeener, French Darts, or Beersbee) is an unapologetic drinking game that pits two teams of two or three against each other with the goal with the goal of knocking over a glass bottle on a pole. If you aren’t sold on this game yet then this isn’t for you. To play, the poles must be placed a set distance apart; the further away they are, the harder the game. An unopened bottle is then placed on top of the stick. Once the game is set up and you have broken up into teams of two or three the real fun begins. The goal of the game is to throw your Frisbee and knock over the bottle on the pole either by directly hitting it or by hitting the pole. Hitting the pole or the bottle will net your team one point. If the bottle hits the ground then your team scores an additional point. Additionally the Frisbee must be caught after every throw, failure to do so on the defending side will net the thrower an additional point. If all 3 of these occur the throwing team will score a maximum of 3 points. Games are played to 21. To make the game even more challenging, you can require players to hold a beer in their non throwing hand. If a player fails to catch either the frisbee or the knocked off bottle, take a drink. For a more in depth summary of the game check out this video. Polish Horseshoes is a game that will keep you coming back and is sure to entertain on warm summer days

Hopefully this summer you can find some time to play some of these lawn games and as you’re pounding down on your friends nail be sure to check out Niki Ganong’s The Field Guide to Drinking in America.