How To Play Cornhole

How To Play Cornhole | Cornhole Rules, Tips & Tricks

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There’s a slim chance that you are here to read this article because of a family reunion or tailgate party last night. Everyone there enjoyed a fantastic game of cornhole and unfortunately you were left out just because you didn’t know how to play Cornhole! While we are sorry about last night, we don’t want you to face that situation once again in the future. Hence, we are here to share all that you need to know about this exciting game. Are you ready? Let’s get rolling then.

What Is Cornhole?

Cornhole, also known as bag toss game, has gained immense popularity in recent times. It’s a great weekend family activity, an awesome aspect of tailgate parties, and a competitive sport that can earn you recognition at state level! The game consists of two Cornhole boards and eight bags (four for one team) filled with kernels of corn. Players of two teams are required to toss their bags in attempt to get them into the hole in the board. The game has its own rules using which players may gain or lose points. The first team to reach 21 points is declared the winner.

History Of Cornhole

It is quite difficult to trace down the actual point in time when Cornhole was invented. Some sources claim that it was started by a group of European farmers. This story has some logic to it- after all, farmers are ones who raise corn and they might just have made up this game to relish their leisure times. Meanwhile, other sources indicate that the game was derived from a similar one played by Midwestern children once upon a time where they threw rocks into a well.

While we may not know the person behind the discovery of this game, we know that an 1883 patent owned by Heyliger de Windt portrayed a game called “Parlor Quiots”. Quiots’ features are very similar to the modern Cornhole game and many thus believe that it was Quiots that gave birth to the modern game. The patent was sold by Windt to a toy manufacturer. Gradually, the game became well-known in greater America.

Terms Used In Cornhole

Cornhole is known in various different names. People know this game as Corn Toss, Baggo, Dadhole, Dummy Boards, Sack Toss, doghouse, or simply Bags. No don’t have to memorize them to start playing, just go with the name popular in your region.

However, you can get familiar with the words and phrases listed below. This way, you won’t end up being clueless in the arena.

  1. Ace/cow pie: one point scored when a bag comes to rest on the board surface
  2. Blocker: when a bag rests just in front of the hole and blocks other bags from sliding down into the hole
  3. Cornfusion: a situation where players cannot come into agreement about the score of an inning
  4. Cornhole/Drano: three points earned from a bag falling into the hole
  5. Cornucopia: when all four bags in an inning are successfully pitched into the hole by a player
  6. Screaming eagleEddie the eagle: when a bag is thrown afar from the board
  7. Trip Dip: when an individual player gets three cornholes out of four in an inning
  8. Jumper: a bag that lands on another bag and then springs up into the hole
  9. Police: cornhole game referee
  10. Shortbag: when a bag falls short and misses the board just by few inches
  11. Shucker: when a bag is pushed off the surface by an opponent’s bag
  12. Slider: cornhole achieved by a bag sliding into the hole
  13. Swish/Airmail: cornhole achieved by a bag that is pitched directly into the hole i.e. the bag makes no contact with the board/ground on its way.
  14. Wash: if the scores in an inning are tied, then the scores are said to be ‘washed out’ in that inning i.e. scores are reset to zero

Required Equipment

The game is fairly simple in the sense that it does not demand a lot of equipment; all you need are two cornhole boards and two sets of bean bags to start playing! Here are the Cornhole board plans for you.

  • Cornhole Board Dimensions

The American Cornhole Association (ACA) controls the constitution of this game and administers professional tournaments. Therefore, throughout this article, we will refer to the official rules and regulations set by ACA.

Although cornhole boards are available in various sizes in the market, ACA has defined the ideal dimensions for professional cornhole boards. We encourage you to buy a board that meets these dimensions because who knows, you might become a pro soon!

A professional-sized bean bag board dimensions are 4 feet by 2 feet. The front side is raised at 2.5 to 4 inches while the Cornhole board legs are raised at 12 inches. The hole is 6 inches in diameter and is centered 9 inches from the back and 12 inches from either side. Both the front and back ends are at 90 degrees.

In addition, ACA requires the board surface to be sanded for a smooth texture. It should be painted with latex paint which has a mediocre gloss in order to ensure that the surface does not become excessively slippery. The preferred color is white, although other colors will work as well as long as they are easy to see.

  • Bean Bag Specifications

You need two sets of bean bags, each set consisting of four bags. The bags should be of two colors for the two sets. Each bag is 6 inches x 6 inches with a pound of corn kernel stuffed in it. Bags not following these ACA regulated size may make the game easier or more difficult.

Setting up the game

The game can either be played between two individuals or between two teams where each team has two players (i.e. a total of four players in the game). As for the location, casual players prefer to play on the lawn, in the backyard, and even in the park or at the beach.

After the players have gathered, set up the pair of cornhole boards on flat ground- you don’t want your boards shifting out of position. The boards should be 27 feet apart, facing each other. For children, this distance may be reduced. It’s a good idea to play on a north-south orientation to avoid the sun’s glare.

If there are four players in the game, each member of a team should pitch their bags at opposite boards. If there are only two players in the game, then both players stand at opposite ends.

A coin toss is done to decide which team goes first (you may play rock-paper-scissors instead). Each team gets four bags and they throw their bags after alternate turns until all bags have been thrown. When all bags are thrown, an inning is said to be completed. The process repeats and the first team to reach 21 points is declared the winner! It’s a good idea to have a referee to ensure a fair game.

Cornhole Rules

  • When making throws, your front foot should not cross the front edge of the board you are standing next to. The spot you throw from is the pitcher’s box; the box is three feet wide and its length is the entire length of the cornhole board’s lateral edge.
  • Bean bags must be thrown within 20 seconds. The timer starts ticking once you position yourself in the pitcher’s box and take the aim of pitching.
  • An opponent should stand at least two feet behind the player who is pitching so that the player does not get distracted.
  • The team which wins in an inning takes the first turn in the next inning. If there is no winner in an inning, the player who pitched second in the previous inning will pitch first in the new inning.
  • A player should use the same arm for throwing throughout the entire game. In case of medical emergencies, this rule may be considered.
  • A player should use the same pitcher’s box throughout the game

Cornhole Scoring

A team can earn points through the following ways:

  • 3 points are earned when a bag goes into the hole
  • 1 point is earned if a bean bag lands on the cornhole board surface
  • No points are awarded for bags landing on the ground
  • 3 points are earned if a bag is knocked into the hole by an opponent’s bag

‘Cancellation scoring’ is followed in a baggo bean bag toss game. In each inning, the points of the lower position team are subtracted from that of the higher position team. The resultant value is the score of the higher position team for that inning. For instance, if Team A scores 5 points in an inning and Team B scores 6 points, then the inning score will be zero for Team A and one for Team B.

The game goes on inning after inning until the cumulative score of a team from all the innings reaches or exceeds 21- that team is declared the winner. A game may end as a ‘skunk’ if a team scores 7 points or more before the opposition can open their account.

Beware of Fouls

A violation of any of the Cornhole rules may lead to a foul. If a player commits a foul during a throw, that foul bag should be removed from the game area as a penalty. In case the foul bag disrupts the position of other bags on the board surface or knocks a bag into the hole, the foul bag should be removed and the previous positions of the other bags should be restored.

A player may commit a foul in the following cases:

  • The player steps out of the pitcher’s box while throwing his bag
  • The player takes more than 20 seconds to pitch the bag
  • Bags must be thrown underhand
  • The player throws his bag from a pitcher’s box other than his
  • If a bag lands on the board surface after bouncing off the ground

Cornhole Tips and Tricks

Since now you know all the rules and regulations of the game, you are ready to play cornhole. This game will get easier and easier as you continue playing and all the secrets of scoring will come to your wisdom eventually. However, we have some Cornhole tips and secrets to share with you to accelerate the excellence. Through prolonged analysis of the game we have come with some extraordinary techniques that will help you stand out in the game. Have a look at them below.

  1. Be confident and aim properly. Never ever throw your bag before aiming!
  2. The angle of projection with the horizontal ground should be roughly 45 degrees. A throw too high will fall short as it will travel more vertically, and a throw too low will carry excessive horizontal momentum, thus risking the bag to slide down the surface after landing.
  3. Pay attention to the game to avoid fouls. Do not to overstep or exceed the time limit.
  4. Aim for the lower part of the board as you can get your bag to slide into the hole. Aiming for the back of the board carries the risk of an overthrow. Moreover, if any of your bags land on the surface, it’ll help to block the path of your opponent’s bags.
  5. Produce a spin on your bag when pitching. This is a great technique to get your bag fly the desired distance.
  6. Maintain your body balance when throwing. Most out-of-target throws result from poor stance and bad body balance.
  7. If you are a righty, then choose the pitcher’s box on the left. Vice versa for lefties.
  8. Keep calm and play! Abide by the bean bag toss rules and avoid penalties. Simple as that.

Conclusion

Cornhole, or bean bag toss game, is a fairly simple game. All the Corn toss rules and related information have been covered above. So now that you know how to play cornhole, you can go out into the battle arena with all guns blazing! Remember that it’s a game, so enjoy it to the fullest. If you really want to hone your skills, you need to play over and over again. Practice will surely make you perfect. Good luck!

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