Beanbag toss (also known as cornhole, corn toss, bags, baggo, and tailgate toss, to name a few) is a super popular tailgating staple that also shows up at picnics, backyard cookouts, and mainly anywhere people gather for a good time. It’s portable and easy to play – almost everyone can participate. For the truly dedicated and talented, there are even cornhole championships.
For the rest of us, here’s a look at the game, how it’s played, and where the heck it came from.
The Cornhole 4-1-1
Beanbag toss is a game that has uncertain origins, but theories abound – and they are as colorful as you might imagine. One theory revolves around the Illinois-based Blackhawk tribe, who filled pig bladders with dry beans and would toss them around for fun. Another theory credits a German farmer, Matthias Kueperman, who reportedly saw some kids tossing heavy rocks into a hole. It looked entertaining enough but wasn’t exactly safe, so he sought to make a safer game. A last theory notes a Kentucky farmer came up with the idea in the early 1900s, but some say German immigrants were the ones responsible for bringing the game to the U.S.
Cornhole equipment can be as casual as a board raised on one end with a hole cut into it (times two), but there are also regulations that you might want to adhere to if you’re making the equipment yourself. After all, you don’t want your cornhole gear to be laughed out of the parking lot.
Official cornhole boards should be constructed from wood that measures 48 inches by 24 inches with a 6-inch diameter hole centered 9 inches from the top of the board. The back edge of the board should rise off the ground by about a foot and, of course, the surface should be free of bumps or bends that could screw up your game.
Official cornhole bags should weigh around 15 ounces and should measure 6 inches by 6 inches. Two cups of dried corn kernels are the standard filling per bag, giving rise to the name of the game itself.
The cornhole field has certain requirements as well. Boards should be spaced 27 feet from end to end and should face one another. A pitcher’s box area extends 3 feet from either side of the board, and players cannot cross the foul line (which runs along and extends to the edge of the board facing your opponent) when tossing the bag.
Cornhole Scoring Rules
There are a variety of scoring rules that accompany the official play. However, if you’re just horsing around with your friends and family, you may choose to relax some of these. Here is probably the simplest way to keep score during a friendly game.
A bag that passes through a hole scores three points. It can be tossed directly through, it can slide on the board before passing through, or it can be knocked in by another bag.
A bag that lands on the board scores one point, as long as it didn’t touch the ground before coming to a rest on the board.
The first team to reach or exceed 21 points wins the game.
Get Your Cornhole Right Here
Fortunately, if you’re not handy with a saw and sewing machine, there are plenty of regulation-size cornhole sets at Fanatics that are emblazoned with your favorite teams and sports.