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Whether waxing nostalgic or incorporating the latest tech, tailgate games are designed to amp up the excitement on game day as players have fun in the great outdoors.
We conducted hours of research on the best tailgate games, evaluating models on ease of transport and setup, interactive features, and multi-player capabilities. A good tailgate party provides games that people of all ages, kids and adults, can participate in, so we looked for games that catered to a broad crowd. We also considered high-energy games that foster good-spirited competition. Our top picks include the Ladder Toss from GoSports, the Robotic Quarterback from All Pro Passer, and the Rubber Horseshoe Set from Win Sports.
Ahead, find the best tailgate games to play with your crew on game day.
Kan Jam Ultimate Disc Game Set
Lightweight for easy transport
No assembly required
Some players note the cans fall down easily
Combining teamwork, agility, and accuracy, KanJam is one of the most dynamic and enjoyable outdoor games you can find. It’s especially great if you’re looking for a more active game to play at the tailgate. Players take turns throwing and deflecting the flying disc for points. This set includes everything you need to play, including two KanJam goals and an official KanJam flying disc.
Along with KanJam’s signature black-and-yellow colorway, find your favorite NHL, NFL, MLB, and NCAA teams, a USA-themed design, and a glow-in-the-dark option.
Spikeball 3 Ball Kit
Easy to transport
The Standard 3-Ball Kit is an affordable option for those new to Spikeball, the popular lawn game where players serve, set, or spike the ball off a small trampoline. A no-frills set includes an adjustable net with sturdy and foldable legs and three official spike balls. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee, so any broken parts will be replaced for free. Expect to break a sweat and get physical, as this game is one of the most active in the roundup.
GoSports Premium Metal Ladder Toss Game Set
Easy to transport
Requires some assembly
A more laid-back tailgate game is ladder ball, also known as bolo toss, monkey ball, or Norwegian golf. The quality GoSports Premium Metal Ladder Toss Game Set features superior construction, with durable steel ladders to prevent wobbly play. Along with the two ladders, you get two steel targets, six rubber bolos, and a premium carrying case. Some customers say the bolos are prone to leaking sand after a number of uses, but overall the reviews indicate that this is one of the strongest and most reliable ladder ball sets you can buy, especially when compared to plastic sets.
YardGames Giant Tumbling Timbers
Blocks are heavy to transport
YardGames Giant Tumbling Towers gives the classic Jenga a fun and exciting update with extra-large blocks for a tower that can stack over 5 feet high. All 56 blocks, made of quality pine for a smooth finish, fit into a nylon carrying case, also included for transport. Some customers report that the blocks are heavy to transport if traveling a significant distance.
Discraft Ultra-Star Sport Disc
Tournament-grade size and grip
Easy to transport
Game can get repetitive
When it comes to frisbee, Discraft’s Ultra-Star is one of the most purchased and highest rated on the market. It’s designed with flight rings on the outer edge to improve your grip and is sized according to regulation in ultimate tournaments. Customers favor its dependable accuracy and sleek design. We love the glow-in-the-dark option, perfect for tailgating night games.
All Pro Passer Robotic Quarterback
Interactive, high-energy game
Great for kids and young adults
Easy to transport
Foam football can be flimsy
Best for kids
Go long or go home. The All Pro Passer Robotic Quarterback throws a perfect spiral every time in this multi-player catching and running game for football fans. Players choose from play selection to determine running patterns before launching the foam football. The apparatus sends the football up to 25 yards for players to catch. We love that this lightweight game is easy to transport and set up.
Dimensions: 2 x 18 x 6 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Material: Plastic, polyurethane, metal | Age Recommendation: Kids
Nightmatch Glow-in-the-Dark LED Football
Great for night games
Football is not regulation size
If you're looking to get lit at a tailgate, consider the Nightmatch Glow-in-the-Dark LED Football. Ideal for night games, this weather and waterproof football lights up when slammed to the ground and stays lilluminated in the air. Note that the football is not regulation size, and some customers report it is more of a junior size than regulation size 6. The football comes with two packs of batteries and a pump for assembly.
Dimensions: 12.32 x 6.81 x 4.88 inches | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Material: Not listed | Age Recommendation: All ages
Win Sports Rubber Horseshoe Set
Rubber horseshoes makes for lighter transport
Some customers report stakes can be a bit flimsy
Rubber horseshoes for lightweight transport make this classic game a new tailgate favorite. The Win Sports Rubber Horseshoe set includes four rubber horseshoes, two yellow indoor stakes with mats to hold the stakes, as well as two red stakes for outdoor play and a handy carrying bag. The game features easy setup and storage, plus it's suitable for kids. Note that regulation horseshoes includes four horseshoes per player, and this game only comes with two horseshoes per player.
Wild Sports NCAA Tailgate Cornhole
Lots of team options
Easy to transport
Not regulation size
A classic tailgate game, cornhole is easy to set up, play, and pack away. The Wild Sports NCAA set comes in a wide variety of team logos, which is an awesome way to support your favorite squad. Satisfied users report easy assembly, right out of the box. Foldable legs and a handle make transport lightweight enough for one person to carry it and get the party started.
What to Look for In a Tailgate Game
"Tailgating usually takes place in the parking lots of Major League Baseball stadiums and motorsports events, such as NASCAR races," explains James Zahn, Senior Editor at The Toy Insider.
While we love a backyard party, you’ll most likely be tailgating elsewhere, so make sure your tailgating games are easy to take with you. Chances are, your trunk will already be packed with a grill, cooler, and camp chairs, so you’ll want a tailgating game that is compact. If it’s heavy, difficult to assemble or disassemble, or simply too big, you’re less likely to want to load it in and out of your car each game day. "If you’re tailgating, this isn’t like an all-day party in the park. Families should have choices that are fun and engaging but can be played with and put away very quickly," Zahn says.
Before a big game, Zahn notes, you’ll want to amp up the excitement, so select a tailgate game that is highly interactive, high-energy, and competitive. Also, make sure to account for skill level of all players, young and old.
Multiple player games are key to get everyone in your crew involved. According to Zahn, "you want to have games and activities that cater to multiple age groups from kids to adults."
What is Tailgating?
"Tailgating is a tradition in which friends and family gather for food and fun games before or after a sporting event," explains Zahn. He notes that although the idea of tailgating will usually conjure up thoughts of fall—particularly the football season, it’s a year-round activity.
What do you wear to a tailgate?
According to Zahn, what you wear to a tailgate is all about fandom, so tailgaters tend to wear their team colors. "It could be jerseys or hats, or T-shirts representing a favorite team or driver, depending on the event," he says. Se Seasonality is also a factor: "Summer at the ballpark or fall at the stadium could mean light and breezy as opposed to layering up."
How do you throw a fun tailgate party?
Zahn says that there's minimal lift to throwing a successful tailgate. "Gather a crew of your best friends and family members and be sure to have plenty of food (burgers and dogs are the staples), some folding tables and chairs, and an assortment of awesome games and activities," he says.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Jill Di Donato, a lifestyle writer and editor for The Spruce with over 15 years of experience. For this roundup, Jill researched dozens of tailgating games, evaluating each model's basic features, extras, and customer reviews. All of the picks featured have demonstrated durability, portability, and are appropriate for a variety of ages.
Additional input was provided by James Zahn, Senior Editor at The Toy Insider.