Rating the Top 10 Tailgate Games

Posted by John Cohrac on

There are a wide range of games for tailgating, they cover just able all aspects from drinking games, to silly pass the time, and competitive.  Whatever you desire you can find a tailgating game/activity to suit.   I will cover a few here and my take rating the best tailgate games. I will use a rating system that encompases a few key aspects.   Customizable to suit your theme, ease of transporting, complexity of rules, usefulness – relative to activity vs. Driving excess consumption.

Penn State Tailgating T-Shirt

Here are my top 10 Tailgate games with survey input.  Included are a list of games liked by at least 1 person and not on the Survey.  In this author’s opinion and as supported by the survey the best games provide for some entertainment and social interaction.  The least popular as a whole are games for the sake of drinking.   That being said there are some on this list that people in the Survey had never heard of and I encourgage you to check them out next time your at a tailgate.  One other aspect of a great tailgate is to mix things up and have options!

  1.     Cornhole – Fan Favorite &custom boards add to the Tailgate decor
  2.     Beer Pong – or just Pong
  3.     Giant Jenga
  4.     Flip Cup
  5.     Ladder Golf
  6.     Spike Ball
  7.     Frisbee
  8.     Play QB54 Tailgate Game
  9.    Washer Toss
  10.    Stump

Other games Mentioned:  Giant Connect 4, Spin Bat, Horse Race with Cards,  Football Catch, Slap Cup,

With that in mind here is a synopsis of the top 3 games and why they belong there.


While not the original favorite, it has become quite popular,

Penn State Inspired or Custom Desktop Cornhole Set

to the point there is even a Cornhole league and national championship on ESPN (The evil Network).  Similar to other backyard games like horseshoes, or quaits, lawn darts etc.  Cornhole is basically a Skill game of get closest to the mark or bulls eye.   What makes it an attractive game is its relatively easy to play, you can play as individuals or teams which is great to involve more people.   There are official rules obviously since it is now a sport but I have seen many different ways of scoring and taking of turns etc.  It matters relative to strategy but is fun just the same.  What is also interesting about cornhole is that the bags and the boards can also serve very well as tailgate props.  Customized Boards and bags are a huge tailgate favorite.   The only small drawback is to have good boards and bags you will need some extra room in your car or truck to accommodate this game.   Even before writing the blog I must admit this is my personal favorite of all tailgate games!

Beer Pong

While this game primarily evolved to from Drinking Parties, drinking is not a necessity to play.  Its basically a skill game of who can put a ping pong ball into the opponents 12 cups before the same is done to them.  It is pure form this involves drinking the beer from each cup as the opponent scores.  Another great game as the rules are easy and more than 2 people can play at once.  The best tailgate games provide for larger social crowds to participate and this one does the trick.   Also a good tailgate game in terms of custom table tops, balls and cups to add additional fan flair to your party.

Giant Jenga

While relatively new to the tailgate scene I love this one both for its uniqueness and its ability to entertain more than a couple of people at a time.  I personally made my own with custom colors to match Penn State and that also adds for a flair to the tailgate that is cool in its own right.  The game itself is basically don't be the looser game.  The player who tumbles the tower losses and everyone else looses.  This can also be played individually by as many as you want or in teams.   The challenge with this game outdoors is to keep it level and the goal is how high can you get the tower before it falls.  With my game being made of 2x4 you can image the height can get pretty tall.  Our best battle I believe got us to 47 layers and the tower was over everyone's head before it fell.   Best part is it was under a canopy in a pouring rain tailgate.  So that was a plus too since Cornhole doesn't work too well in the rain.

Rounding this out I will write a follow up blog on the games on this list that didn't rank too high but maybe they should.   Of note, I think Stump is somewhat unknown and perhaps a little risky with drinking and tailgates but its also quite fun.  Who can hammer a 10 penny nail into a wood stump with only single swipes of a hammer while doing a trick.  

QB54 – Relatively new, but I love this because its a brainchild of a small business and the fact that they are selling these by the thousands and its a relatively new and invented game is quite cool.

And of course Flip Cup which I left out but after reading the Survey responses and it had quite a few mentions realized its actually one of the better games as you can see it is in my list even though I did not initially have it there.

Enjoy your tailgates and try some of these if you have never, never a bad thing to have a variety of options to keep your tailgaters on their toes.



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