Based off the title I’m sure many of you out there are expecting the contents of this write up to contain material that would be considered either salacious or sexual in nature. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you but this is about a game that is pretty popular here in the Midwest and is played everywhere from backyard barbecues to tailgating parties to bar parking lots.
Part of the beauty of cornhole lies in its simplicity. You don’t need to be a muscle bound jock or have the stamina of a marathon runner in order to play. All you do need to play is two sets of four bean bags. Each set of bean bags should be a different color. Next you need a piece of plywood that is sloped upwards from the front to the back. There’s a hole cut towards the rear of the plywood and the goal of the game is to toss the bean bag through the center of the hole. You can either purchase a pre-made cornhole set replete with team logo or if you’re feeling industrious, build one yourself. How much simpler can it get than that?
Ideally, your piece of plywood should measure four feet by two feet but I’ve seen cornhole sets that are a foot or so smaller. The height of the raised back end should be one foot and taper down to the front where it measures about two and a half inches from the ground. Players then line up around thirty three feet away from the platform and try and toss their bean bags through the center of the hole. For each toss that makes it through the hole the player is awards three points. For each toss that lands on the board the player is awarded one point. For each toss that either misses the board entirely or skids off the board, tough shit. First player to get to twenty one wins.
Sometimes in life underneath even the simplest of pleasures lies a degree of complexity. Cornhole, like life, is no different.
The first thing you need to figure out is the scoring method you’re going to use to get to the magic twenty one. There are two types.
Total scoring is the easiest way. Each player counts up their points at the end of an inning and is awarded said number of points.
Player One - four bean bags thrown total points = 7
Player Two – four bean bags thrown total point = 5
Player One leads Player Two by a score of 7-5
The next type of scoring method is the most popular and is known as the cancellation method. Using the same example described above Player One would lead Player Two by a score of 2-0 since the scores cancel themselves out and the player is awarded only the difference between the scores.
Once you get good you’ll be able to employ a bunch of strategies that usually revolve around knocking another players bean bag off the board (no points, opposing players bean bag must stay on the board or go through the hole to be awarded any points!) or placing your bean bag in such a way as to block the other players approach to the hole.
The Language of Cornhole
Based on how well you’re playing and how much you’re drinking, the language of cornhole can get pretty salty. This is especially true if you’ve decided to throw some wagers into the mix to make the game more interesting. That type of language aside, here are some terms that any true cornhole player throughout the land would recognize. Note, some I lifted from those folks over at Wikipedia
Ace - A bag that lands on the board and is worth one point.
Blocker A bag that lands directly in front of the hole thereby blocking it from the opposing player trying to toss a “slider”. See below
Drano – a bag that either slides into the hole or “swishes”. See below
Dirty Bag – a bag that misses the board entirely
Hanger - A bag that is on the lip of the hole
Leprechaun - All four bags on the board but none in the hole.
Pressure Cooker– A tight match -especially used in cancellation scoring. Also, when a player blasts a fart right before the opposing player makes their toss.
Slider - A bag that lands on the board and slides through the hole.
Swish - A bag that goes directly through the hole. Basketball term for “Nothing but net”.
Wash - Used in cancellation scoring when both scores cancel themselves out and result in zero points being scored.
That’s about it folks. From personal experience I can tell you that I’ve idled away many a summer/fall afternoon with a cooler full of frosty beverages, the smell of barbecue in the air, some good tunes on the stereo and close friends playing countless games of cornhole.
Just goes to show ya, sometimes the simplest pleasures in life are also the finest.