An outdoor game that you can make yourself for under $10? That’s Mölkky! From the moment I learned about this game I’ve been excited to check it out. Even a sloppy, semi-capable carpenter like myself can chop up pieces of wood and number them. This is a game that almost anybody can make, and for a really great price.
First off… what is Mölkky?? I like to refer to Mölkky as “Yard Bowling.” Basically, Mölkky consists of tossing a short piece of wood ( the Mölkky ) toward 12 numbered pins ( the Skittles ). If you knock down one Skittle, you get as many points as the number on the pin. If you knock down several of the Skittles, you get 1 point per fallen Skittle. Games are played to exactly 50 points. Check here for more Rules and Building Info.
How to Make a Mölkky Game
- First off, you’ll need to find wood. Mölkky is most commonly played with round, 2.5″ dimeter wood pieces. Good luck finding anything that size. After searching far and wide, I ended up finding 3″ beams intended as fence posts. For $5.90, the price was right.
- The fence post I purchased was pretty raw and rough. I went over it with some really high grit sand paper to knock down the bigger sliver pieces. This took a little time, but made the finished pieces much higher quality. I used a palm sander, but a belt sander would have sped up the process.
- Once you’re sanded, it’s time to chop your pieces. The common size for a Skittle is 6″ tall ( to the high point ). Since I used a wider piece of wood to begin with, I ended up making my Skittles taller. I cut a 12″ piece from my fence post, then cut that in half at a 45 degree angle. That gave me pieces that are roughly 7.25″ tall ( 4.5″ short side ). Pick a size and go with it! You could even mix it up and have the pieces be all sorts of sizes. The tossing stick ( Mölkky ) I cut to 9″. This left me with about a foot of leftover fence post. You could make an extra tossing stick with it – which would be kind of nice to have, really. ( maybe even have 2 sizes )
- Next I took my cut pieces and prettied them up a bit. This wasn’t the best wood in the world, and most pieces have a split on them someplace, including the throwing stick. Since you handle the Mölkky a lot, I puttied the cracked spot with some water based wood putty. No promises that will stay in there forever, but the big crack would have bothered me.
- For the Skittles, I wanted to soften the edges a little. I quickly hit all cut edges and the number face with 120 grit sandpaper. This dulls the edges, and makes the number face a little smoother for the numbers you’ll be adding.
- Time to add the numbers. I gave everything a quick wipe down to remove the dust from sanding. Next, I drew numbers on the Skittles with a pencil. You could skip that part, but it cuts down any marker mistakes… I used a Sharpee for drawing the numbers. I wider marker would have worked better, but I went with what was handy.
- We’re sanded, cut, sanded, and numbered. Next up is finishing the pieces. I used some old polyurethane floor finish I had around. Use whatever you want. Paint, stain, poly, or even leave them raw. I ended up putting on about 3 coats before I was happy with the finish. This rough wood took a few coats to get as smooth as I wanted. I hit it with 220 sandpaper between the 2nd and 3rd coat to knock down any raised edges.
That’s it! This game is REALLY easy to make. All it took was a $6 piece of fencing, sandpaper, a marker, and some finish. If you’ve got a saw around the house, you can make this game!
I mentioned earlier that I used 3″ wood instead of the standard 2.5″. Now that I’ve played the game, I think that’s the only way to go. The 3″ pieces can be hard to stand on grass – so 2.5″ would have been even harder. Also, the added size makes for bigger targets. To me that’s more fun!
If you can’t find any 3″ fence beam like I did, you can still use several things to make a Mölkky game. There are several types of landscaping timber that would be okay, you could rip down 4×4’s to work, or you could even use pieces of PVC pipe. I read about one guy who loves to play that way. Be creative. Mölkky is cheap to make and fun to play. Well worth checking out.
Mölkky Game Links:
Molkky Photo Gallery
Making Molkky Gallery
So you want to have a Cornhole Tournament? First step is to figure out what type of tournament to have. Then, you’ll have to consider issues of money, location, supplies, organization, and more! With all these things to think about, it’s easy to miss an important step.
I’ve asked around in the Cornhole forum for some information about tournaments. The following is the second of 3 guest articles by “tednwv” from the Cornhole Players forum. Ted has shared with us the many facets of putting together a cornhole tournament, based on his experiences. Obviously some things below may not be as important than others, and it’s possible certain things may have been overlooked. We’d love to hear any and all of your comments! ( as long as they’re helpful, of course )
Throwing Together A Cornhole Tournament
Guest article by Ted Dillon, Cornhole Forum member “tednwv“.
Edited by Jeremy.
I would like to talk about my experiences on putting together/attending cornhole tournaments and what I perceive others to like. (This is my opinion so don’t scrutinize me over it)
(You can replace the word “Teams” with “Players” anywhere below if you are running a Singles Tournament. A Singles Tournament is one player playing against another player.)
- Choose to hold a “Benefit Tournament” or a “100% Payout”. For a Benefit Tournament, you’ll start by picking your favorite charity or organization. Most tournament directors will split the pot 50/50. Half the entry fees will go to the organization you choose, and the other half will be the team payouts. 100% payout basically means that whatever you decide to charge for an entry fee will go back to the teams.
- Decide on the entry fee, date, time and location. Take into consideration the number of players, the space the boards will take up, restrooms, and food & drinks. A good entry fee for a basic team tournament would be $20-$40. (Half that for Singles Tournament). Decide if you want to have teams pre-register or sign up the day of the event. Teams could get discounts if they register early. If you decide on sign ups the day of the event, give it at least an hour before the tournament begins so teams can practice. It would be better to give yourself 1 1/2 hrs. The last half hour could be used for placing teams in brackets.
- Have plenty of boards and bags ready! Teams don’t like sitting around for a very long time. The more boards and bags you have, the more practice the teams can get in before the tournament starts.
- Use all matching boards and bags. If you have different sets of boards and bags, teams will question whether or not one set of boards/bags are better than the other. If all the boards are made and painted to look the same, teams will accept it better. Boards should be set 27 ft. apart, from front to front.
- Music! Have some type of music playing in the background. Make it a happy/loose atmosphere! Don’t have it blasting too loud though. Another option would be to see if a local radio station could do a “Live Broadcast” at your event. Maybe even a DJ?
- Decide on Single Elimination, Double Elimination or Round Robin. Have brackets ready to go for the tournament you decide. Your decision should be influenced by the number of players that are planning to attend and the time allotted for the tournament. More on Different Types of Tournaments.
- Have Brackets Ready. If you estimate that you will have 20-25 teams, then print all of the brackets for 20-25 teams. Brackets are usually numbered in the order that the matches will be played. Have someone specifically in charge of the bracket and keep it rolling smoothly. Don’t have boards empty with no one playing. When a board is empty, fill it with another game in the order of the bracket. Keep the tournament rolling.
- Pay-outs. How will you pay out the winners? Decide if you want to pay out to the Top 3, Top 2, or have a “Winner Takes All” tournament.
- Top 3 can be a split of 60%-30%-10% of half the entry fees.
- Top 2 can be split many different ways. 90%-10%, 80%-20%, 70%-30%, 60%-40% of half the entry fees. I would not recommend a 50%-50% split. What is the point in playing for the championship if you get paid the same for 1st or 2nd?
- Winner Takes All is self explanatory.
- Forming Teams. You will need to decide how teams are going to be formed. You have two options. (This will not be an option if you decide on a Singles Tournament)
- Option 1: The teams have already been set, everyone came to the tournament with their own partner.
- Option 2: Place every players name in a hat and draw two names at a time, those two players will be on a team. This is also referred to as “Blind Draw Tournament”. My experience shows this has little interest for the more serious teams.
- Rules. Decide on a set of rules. Most people refer to the rules from the ACA or ACO web sites. You can also make your own rules however you like. Make sure you have at least one person “in charge” who can make decisions on game conflicts and will stand by their decision. Make it clear that the person “in charge” has the final say in the rulings.
- Filling the Tournament Bracket. Now you will need to decide on how to draw for the spots on the tournament bracket. There are two options for doing this.
- Option 1: Place each team’s name in a hat and begin drawing the teams one at a time placing the first team drawn on the first blank line, the second team drawn on the second blank line and so on.
- Option 2: Place all the numbers in a hat and when the teams sign up, they pick a number out and that is where they will be placed in the bracket. This seems to be quicker. Saves time after registration is over so you can get the tournament started on time.
- The Coin Flip. The coin flip will decide a few things. Whoever wins the coin flip has choice of throwing either first or last, and/or choice of which side of the board to throw from. Generally it decides who throws first. Most non-sanctioned tournaments will let players throw from the same side of the board if they want. It never really changes. Just when you are ready to start your next match, flip a coin to see who goes first.
- Start Your Tournament! Play until a winner has been decided.
The MOST IMPORTANT part of any tournament is explaining the rules and format BEFORE the tournament begins! When you print your flyers or post your tournament online, put the rules and format in it so there won’t be any questions. You could also put an email or phone number if teams have questions concerning the tournament. If teams don’t like the rules, they won’t show up.
REMEMBER! The more games you can guarantee a team to play, the more teams you will get to play! Teams are looking for the biggest bang for their buck!
With Spring upon us, we’re entering tournament season! Tournaments can be epic affairs with hundreds of people, but they can also be a blast at a backyard BBQ or family reunion. Even if it’s a small event, it helps to know a bit about what types of tournaments work best in which situations.
I’ve asked around in the Cornhole forum for some information about tournaments. The following is the first of 3 guest articles by “tednwv” from the Cornhole Players forum.
Different Types of Touraments
Single Elimination tournament. My experience is you will have a hard time bringing in teams for this. Teams do not want to take the chance of coming to a tournament, losing one game, and being done! However, you can run a Single Elimination tournament and make it a “best 2 out of 3” format. A team must win 2 out of 3 games against their opponent to advance. The losing team will get to play 2 games, even though it’s a Single Elimination tournament.
Double Elimination tournament. This seems to draw more teams. Teams have to lose 2 games before they are eliminated. The three basic options are as follows.
- Option 1: The most common way is to have two teams play. The winner advances on in the winners bracket and the loser goes to the losers bracket. The loser has only one more loss to go before being eliminated from the tournament. (2 game guarantee)
- Option 2: Have two teams play each other in a 3 game set. The first team to win 2 games advances on in the winners bracket and the loser goes to the losers bracket. The loser has only one more loss to go before being eliminated from the tournament. (3 game guarantee)
- Option 3: Have two teams play each other in a 3 game set. The first team to win 2 games advances on in the winners bracket and the loser goes to the losers bracket. The losers bracket is also the best 2 out of 3. (4 game guarantee). This option makes for a longer tournament. But…teams that are hanging around waiting to play will venture over to your concession stand! (They may even play in some of the Carnival Games as explained below.)
Round Robin tournament. This is a better tournament from my experience. Round Robin tournaments will guarantee teams an X amount of games. If you have 10 teams, then each team will play 9 games. Teams can play each other once or twice, however you decide. The team with the most wins is the WINNER!
Combine Types of Tournaments. The BEST “bang for your buck” tournaments are Round Robin with a Single Elimination or Double Elimination at the end. Each team plays each other once for a “seeding”. The team with the most wins is the #1 seed. Second most wins is #2 seed, etc… Now, #1 seed will play #10 seed, #2 seed will play #9 seed, and so on in the first round of the Single or Double Elimination part of the tournament. Teams will drive further for this type of Round Robin tournament than for any other. Of course, this is my own experience!
Guest article by Ted Dillon, Cornhole Forum member “tednwv“.
Edited by Jeremy.
Painting crisp lines can be a major headache. Over the last few years, a hint from “Shaggy” at CornholePlayers.net has been amazingly helpful. So helpful, that this process has since been referred to as “The Shaggy Method” to most members of the forum. Customize your Outdoor Games with crisp, clean painted lines with these steps!
5 Steps for Painting Crisp Lines – The Shaggy Method
1. Paint the entire area with your base color.
2. Tape out the desired design or pattern. Cut tape where necessary.
3. With the tape still in place, add a second coat of your base color.
4. Leaving the tape in place, paint the same area with your final finish color.
5. Remove your tape to see your super crisp lines!
Why This Works:
Any line bleeding will occur when you repaint the base color. Since it’s base color on base color, the bleeding won’t be visible. That initial bleed-through clogs these areas, preventing any future bleed-through with the next color.
- For the cleanest lines, use a razor blade to score the paint at the tape edges.
- Peel off the tape after the paint is dry to the touch, but before it’s completely cured, to avoid pulling up too much paint.
- Touch up any bleeding that still occurs, use a small paint brush.
- To touch up spray paint, spray the paint on a paper plate and then use the brush to brush it on more accurately.
- Alternate Method: Simply to make sure the painters tape is stuck to the surface really well. Check this by running a hard edge over the tape, like the edge of a credit card.
This article uses information and photos from the following:
Painting Process Photos
The “Original” Shaggy Method Post