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When the party starts, get in the game

  • Hancock resident Ian Ketchum, 23, left, tosses a horseshoe in a heated backyard game of horseshoes while Steve Solito, 23, of Allston, Mass., watches and waits for his turn to throw.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Looking for another game to play? Grab some bocce balls and head outside.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • What would summertime fun be without backyard games? There are numerous options for fun, and not much is needed to play.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

There is nothing better than a back yard gathering in the summer months.

With the sun shining a little longer every day and temperatures warming as well, having a place to host friends and family is a must.

And now that wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals is almost a necessity, it is time to break out the backyard games.

You will need a grill, some chairs and maybe a fire pit (and throw in some Citronella candles for good measure). But for exceptionally nice days when you’re expecting a crowd, grab the horse shoes and bocce balls too.

There are dozens of backyard games to play when hosting anywhere from a few friends to a large get-together. But here are a few classics you’ll want to know before heading to your first outdoor party of the summer.

Horseshoes

One of the all-time favorites, playing horseshoes requires four total players (two on each team), two horse shoes per team and two sand pits with a metal pin standing upright in the center of the pit. The goal is to toss your horse shoes as close to the bar in the opposite pit as possible.

During a turn, one player from a team tosses both horse shoes to the opposite pit. Then their opponent on the same side throws his or her horse shoes. The score is determined by which teams’ horse shoes come closest to the pin.

If the shoe lands approximately six inches from the pin, that is one point. A “leaner,” in which the horse shoe lands and leans up against the pin, is two points. A ringer, when the horse shoe encircles the pin, is worth three points. It’s up to the players to determine the final score.

KanJam

To simplify this game, some refer to it as “trash can frisbee.” Similar to horseshoes, each team has two players (four total) and each team will have a player on opposite ends facing each other. Instead of a horseshoe pit, players need a trash can of equal size on either side, with a slit in the front big enough for a frisbee to fit (KanJam is also a company that makes these trash cans for the game).

Each player can only have one hand free. The other needs to be occupied with something — a drink, some food. Whatever is handy.

The object is to throw the frisbee into the trash can opposite you, while your teammate uses his or her free hand to deflect the frisbee into the open top of the can. You get points for simply hitting the trash can as well.

Throwing the frisbee and having your teammate deflect it into the side of the can is one point. A direct hit of the can without help from your teammate is worth two points. If you throw the frisbee and your teammate knocks it into the open top of the can or through the open front slot, that counts for three points. And if you throw the frisbee through the front slot or into the open top without assistance from your teammate, it’s an instant win.

Wiffleball

Wiffleball is essentially baseball with a lot of the same rules, but played with a smaller plastic bat and a plastic ball. Holes in the plastic ball make it easier to throw some pitches with wild movement, which makes up for the much smaller field.

First establish the number of people on each team (how many people want to play), then determine the base paths. Other than those ground rules, you’re on your own with positions, home run boundaries, number of outs per inning, etc.

Cornhole

Like KanJam, cornhole can also be referred to by a much simpler name: bean bag toss. In cornhole, players take turns throwing bean bags at an angled platform with a single hole near the top of the board. Sinking a bean bag in the hole counts for three points, while getting a bag to land on the board is one point. Teams play to 21. But just remember, if both teams get a bag in the hole or on the board, the points cancel each other out.

Each team tosses four bean bags per turn, alternating throws with the other team. The setup is very similar to horseshoes and KanJam, with two boards that are facing each other, and teammates on opposite sides.

Polish horseshoes

In a way, Polish horseshoes combines several aspects of games that have already been mentioned. Polish horseshoes is played with two teams of two and a frisbee, although this time teammates are together instead of on opposite ends. Two wooden stakes placed an adequate distance apart are driven into the ground, and an empty bottle sits on top of each stake.

The object is to take turns trying to knock your opponents’ bottle off by throwing the frisbee at the bottle or stake. Like KanJam, each player must only have one free hand.

Hitting the bottle directly with the frisbee is two points, and knocking the bottle off by hitting the stake is one point. The first team to 21 wins.

However, catching the bottle before it hits the ground negates any points. The frisbee must be caught as well, and anytime the frisbee is not caught a point is awarded to the team that threw it.

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