Top Toss Review
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Players: 2 players or teams
Playing Time: about 30 minutes

Like any typical Midwesterner, I find that it’s nearly impossible to stay inside once spring arrives. Why sit inside and read a book if you can sit outside and read a book? Why eat dinner inside when you can eat out on the deck? Why play a game inside when you can play outside instead? So as soon as the weather was warm enough, I was out in the backyard, playing Top Toss.

Top Toss is an outdoor game that’s challenging enough to keep you playing all afternoon but simple enough that you can play with the whole family. Set-up is surprisingly quick—and once you’ve set up the metal Top Toss Tower, you’re ready to play. The tower looks a bit like a crooked ladder with three rungs: a long yellow rung on the bottom, a medium-length orange run in the middle, and a short blue run on the top. Players (or teams) are each given three bolo balls—each made of two rubber balls that are connected by a nylon cord. They stand 25 feet away from the tower (or closer, for younger players) and take turns tossing their bolo balls, earning points for each ball that they get to wrap around one of the rungs (one point if it wraps around the yellow rung, two points for the orange, and three points for the blue). After both players (or teams) have tossed their three bolo balls, they retrieve the balls and start the next round. Play continues until someone reaches 21 points.

Like many outdoor games, Top Toss has a horseshoes feel to it—you’re taking one object and trying to throw it at another object in order to score points. But, unlike horseshoes, Top Toss is both portable and family-friendly. The tower can be set up just about anywhere—whether it’s in your backyard or your neighborhood park. And the rubber balls are light and relatively soft. It does take a little bit of space, so you’ve got to set it up accordingly—but, fortunately, if your house does end up taking a hit or two, you won’t have to worry too much about denting your siding.

Not only is it quick to set up and extremely portable (it even comes with its own carrying bag—but be a little careful with it, since the first time I loaded mine up and flung it over my shoulder, the bottom of the bag ripped), but Top Toss is also fun to play. That’s not to say it isn’t challenging—it’ll definitely take a little practice. But once you figure out how to toss the bolo balls, it’s a perfectly simple, casual game to play with the family on a lazy spring afternoon.

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