Last Updated on March 3, 2020 by Jake
Washers is a classic yard and tailgating game that is a blast to play for both kids and adults. What makes washers a perfect family game is 1) how easy the rules are and 2) the game is super easy to set up and store when not in use. In this post, we’re going to go over everything you could possibly need to know for how to play washers!
How to Play Washers – Equipment and Set Up
There are only two things you need equipment wise to play washers. First is a set of washer boxes. Washer boxes are typically square and anywhere from 13″ to 18″ on each side. In the center of the washer box is a hole or tube that is meant to be the bull’s eye for washer toss.
Second, you need the washers themselves! Washers come in all different shapes and sizes, but most often are 2.5″ in diameter with a 1″ hole in the middle. You’ll need 8 total washers in two different colors for a total of 4 washers per team.
All in one washer sets are typically pretty affordable and a great washers set for beginners or avid players!
- ALL WEATHER WASHERS GAME – All Weather Washoe's Washer Toss Game is a back-yard game for adults and kids. Played with 2-4 players. It’s easy to learn, but super competitive fun
- WEATHERPROOF – Waterproof washer game boards won’t warp in humidity or rain, unlike wooden washer toss games. Use in damp weather, at the beach or poolside
- THROWING GAME – Like a horseshoes game, but safer. Players toss ring washers at the ring toss targets, scoring 3 points for the center and 1 point for the base…first to 21 points wins!
- HEAVY DUTY – Durable High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) target toss boards are designed to be durable outdoors. Pitching washers are coated to prevent rust. Comes fully assembled
- PORTABLE – Smaller than 3-hole washer games, the target toss boards measure 14. 5 x 14. 5 x 4. 5 inches and nest together for easy transport. Great for camping, picnics and parties
How Far Apart Should the Washers Boxes Be?
The official distance between washers boxes is 25 feet from the cup centers. Of course, you can feel free to make this distance shorter if you want to make the game easier!
Rules for How to Play Washers
There are countless variations for the rules of how to play washers. With that in mind, we are going to highlight the general washers guidelines that we see most often.
- Teams: Washers can be played with either 2 or 4 players. 2 players make a 1 vs 1 game and 4 players make a 2 vs 2 washers game.
- Note – If playing a 1 vs 1 game, players should toss washers to the same target washer box. If playing a 2 vs 2 game, you should stand at the opposite washer box from your partner. One of your opponents should be at the same washer box as you.
The game is divided up into rounds. Players toss washers at the washer box in an alternating fashion. So if I toss the first washer, my opponent tosses next, then back to me. For the first round, use a game of chance like rock paper scissors or a coin flip to decide who goes first.
After the first round, the team who scored the most points in the previous round pitches the first washer in the following round.
When you toss washers, at least one of your feet must remain entirely behind the front of the washer box you are positioned next to.
Washers Game Scoring
Counting up the score is one of the easiest parts of playing washers! Each washer that lands inside of the box but not inside the cup is worth 1 point.
Washers that land inside the cup are worth 3 points.
Scores are taken on a net basis so if I scored 5 points with my tosses and my opponent scored 7 in a round, my opponent would add 2 points to his score. Make sense?
Washers games are typically played where the first team to accumulate 21 or more points wins. That number can be easily changed to accommodate your preferences though. It’s very common to play washers to only 15 or 11 points for quicker games.
Washers Game Variations
A fun variation is to play with busts. Under these rules, a team can only win by scoring exactly 21 points. If you go over 21 points, your team’s point total gets reset to 15 points and you have to try again.
Busts creates some late game strategy and tension as there are often situations where players want to land a washer inside of the box but not inside of the hole!
Win by 2
Another fun caveat you can add to your game is that a team must win by 2 points. For example, if I am tied 20-20 with my opponent and she scores 1 point I’m still in the game and could come back to win 23-21.
Free for All
You can actually play a variation of washers where 4 players play individually. Each player throws 2 washers at the target and the player with the most points will subtract the amount of points the second best player got for that round to their score. So only 1 player scores in any given round.
Scoring tends to happen at a slower pace in free for all, so it’s best to only play first to 7 or 11 points in this variation.
How to Play Washers – Strategy and Tips
The most important thing for how to win at washers is consistency with your tosses. If you are consistent, it becomes super easy to make adjustments if your aim is off.
Specifically, you want to develop a repeatable throwing motion that delivers a consistent washer flight. Flinging a washer haphazardly will lead to bounce outs and inconsistent scoring. You want a washer flight that is predictable and minimizes bounce outs.
The best technique for throwing washers is to wrap your index finger around the front edge of the washer. Your middle finger should be resting directly under the middle of the washer, supporting it.
From there, you should point the washer at your target, and take your arm straight back and straight back through to your target (like a pendulum). Release the washer on the upswing.
This technique will create a washer flight that does not flip or rotate. The washer should almost look like it’s remaining still other than the fact that it’s flying through the air.
Pro tip – the front edge of the washer should be tilted towards the ground at around a 30 degree angle when you toss. A lowered front edge accomplishes two things. First, it makes it easier for the washer to get over the front of the washer box and/or the center hole. Second, it will make your bounce out rate drop significantly.
DIY Washers Game – How to Make Washers Game at Home
It is certainly possible for you to make your own DIY washers game at home! Full disclaimer though, it’s going to take some handyman know how to do it properly. To be completely honest with you, if you don’t regularly use tools it will be much easier to just buy an all in one set. That being said, here are the supplies you’ll need for a DIY Washers Game:
- 2 1″ x 4″ wood planks. Something like pine is cheap and easy to work with. You’ll need at least 12 feet of it.
- Two PVC Pipe 4″ in diameter. You could also buy a PVC pipe coupling.
- 8 washers, ideally 4 in each of two different colors.
- Plywood – we’ll need to cut a 15″ x 15″ square for the base of each washer box.
- Super glue and/or wood glue.
Optional (for making it portable):
- Nylon straps.
- 4 spring loaded latches.
Step by step for DIY Washers Game:
- First, cut the 1 x 4 into 4 pieces 15″ in length.
- Cut 45 degree slices from the corners of the wood in preparation for mitered corner joints.
- Glue the four pieces of wood together to make a square box.
- Cut a 15″ x 15″ square out of your plywood.
- Glue the mitered square to the plywood base.
- Cut the PVC pipe to be 4″ tall (to match the height of the box).
- Find the center point of the box and glue down the PVC pipe.
- Repeat for the second washers box.
- Cut two 6″ long nylon straps.
- Glue or screw the ends down – one on each box.
- Match up the sides that have the straps so they are side by side.
- On the two adjacent sides of each box, screw in spring loaded latches so they are flush.
To me, that’s all a little too complicated for my taste so I just bought a pre made washers game, but we hope this guide is helpful if you have the ambition to make a DIY washers game!
How to Play Washers – Wrap Up
I hope you’ve learned something in this post about how to play washers! It’s one of the best games to play at tailgates or just in the back yard with your family. If you want to check out other outdoor games, check out our post on corn hole or our post on outdoor games ideas!
Last update on 2022-06-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API