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What is Cornhole and why can it be played on the beach, in the park, in the garden or anywhere else outside.

26. August 2017 - Alexander Schmidt

What Is Cornhole? This Is How to Play the Fun Game | Game Rules


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Fancy trying out a new outdoor throwing game? What is Cornhole and what is all the fuzz about? This is why Cornhole is an absolute hit in the USA and will conquer the world!

Sackhole. Yes, that is indeed the German name of this game. Is it obvious what is Cornhole about? You throw little sacks into a hole, the sack hole… 😀

But well, despite my scepticism about Anglicisms, I have to say: the American names Cornhole, Bean Bag or simply Bags sound much better. I wonder if it’s because of the name that the game is more popular in the USA than in Germany. And this despite the fact that the origins of the game lie in this country?

Be that as it may, this is a great outdoor game for the garden, the park, the beach or the campsite. So if you’re looking for an alternative to other popular throwing games like Ladder Golf, Kubb, Mölkky or Crossboccia is looking for, should definitely try it out!

What Is Cornhole? The Facts at a Glance

What is Cornhole all about and why is it one of the most popular outdoor games in the US.

Deulling Cornhole by Ryan Snyder at CC BY 2.0

  • Players: 2-4
  • Accessories: 2 goals with blind hole and 2 x 4 small bags
  • Age: from approx. 6 years, so a good game for families!
  • Game principle: The two goals, which look like slightly slanted boards with a hole in them, are placed opposite each other at a distance of 8 m. When playing with children, it is advisable to place them at a distance of 8 m from each other. When playing with children, you might want to reduce the distance a little.

The teams also face each other and the players now aim with the small bags at the goal or board of the opponent. More on this in the rules of the game!

Cornhole Equipment

In Cornhole, the goals look like slanted boards with a hole in them.

Steelers Cornhole Game by Chris Winters at CC BY-SA 2.0

Admittedly, compared to other throwing games (like the ones mentioned above), the equipment is significantly more expensive and a less practical to transport, due to the 2 goals or boards needed. However, this is not a problem for those travelling by car.

The size of the boards can vary, in America 120 cm x 60 cm are common. The German Cornhole Association, however, plays on somewhat smaller boards measuring 90 cm x 60 cm.

Traditionally, the small throwing bags are filled with dried maize or beans, but in newer bought editions, plastic granules are usually used.
As with most of the other throwing games presented at Abenteuer Freundschaft, you can theoretically build a complete cornhole set yourself and we have found a link to a good manual in English for you.

If you have got a taste for it and want to order your own cornhole set via amazon (see below) and do so via one of the following affiliate links, you are supporting us without the product becoming more expensive for you in the slightest. There are different editions to buy, including smaller ones that are much cheaper and more suitable for children.

Cornhole Rules

Cornhole is also known as Bean Bag, Bags or Sackhole.

Trip to PA 51 Allen Bierce by CC BY 2.0

Tossing Zones and Opening Rights

Before the start of each game, a draw (e.g. coin toss) is made to decide on throwing zones and opening rights. The winner of the draw gets to decide:

a) either in which throwing zone he wants to stand

b) or whoever opens the first round

Depending on that, the loser then gets to decide on the other, i.e.

a) who opens the first frame

b) in which throwing zone he wants to stand

The throwing zones are demarcated areas to the left and right of the cornhole boards, separated by the imaginary line connecting the two boards. In practice, this means that throwing zone A means for one team to stand to the left of the board, for the other team to stand to the right and throwing zone B vice versa.

For opening rights, after the first round, the team that won the previous round is always allowed to start. This also applies to all sets. In the event of a tie, the opening right remains with the team that opened in the last round.

Procedure of the Match

The game is divided into sets, which in turn are divided into frames or rows. In most cases, the game is played in a best-of-three mode, i.e. the team that wins 2 sets first is the winner. This in turn is achieved if a team has 21 points or more after a round.

In each frame or round, the players of the 2 teams take turns throwing at the opponent’s board. It is important to make sure that they are in the correct throwing zone. Regardless of the number of players, each team has 4 bags per frame to throw at the opposing cornhole board.

Scoring

3 points get all bags thrown by the … uh … blind hole

1 point is awarded to all bags that are still on the boards at the end of a round, i.e. after both teams have thrown all 4 bags.

0 points are awarded for bags, however…

  • …who slide off the cornhole board or are thrown off
  • …which are on the board but in contact with the ground
  • …where the thrower has left the throwing zone. (Bag is immediately removed from the board in this case)
  • …which have landed on the board or even in the hole, but have previously hit the ground. (Bag will be removed from the board immediately in this case)

For each frame / pass, an intermediate score is calculated and written down. For this, the points of both teams are added together according to the above rules and then the difference is formed.

Attention! Only this difference will be credited to the team that won the frame for the set!

Example: In one round, team A placed 2 bags on the board and threw 2 through the hole, resulting in 8 points. Team B, however, managed to throw 3 bags into the hole, one missed. This results in 9 points or a difference of 1 point. And this 1 point is credited to team B in this round.

If a team has gained so many points (difference points!) at the end of a round that their total score is 21 or more, they win the set and it is finished. (21 points are always recorded, even if they are exceeded).

If you want to read the official German rules again, including the additional rules when there are several players, you can do so on the website of the German Cornhole Association.

This is what is Cornhole und how to play it. Have fun!

You’re always looking for good outing tips and ideas for indoor activities and gifts? Abenteuer Freundschaft is a leisure ideas portal where you can discover a wide range of inspiration for activities with friends, family and partners.

Stay up to date and follow Abenteuer Freundschaft on Facebook on Instagram!

Image source Cover image: Cornhole by Daniel Nguyen under CC BY 2.0.

*There are affiliate links in this article. This means that if you order a product through one of these links on amazon, Abenteuer Freundschaft will receive a small commission. For you, the product will not cost a cent more and you support our work in this way.


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