Bagball Review
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Players: 2 players or teams (ages 6+)
Playing Time: about 20 minutes

Another warm, sunny spring weekend sent me outside to try out another new outdoor game. This week’s choice was a beanbag-tossing game called Bagball.

Bagball’s game board (a nylon board that has six holes, onto which nets are attached) has two sides, so you can use it to play two different games. On the Bagball side, each of the board’s six nets has a point value, from 10 to 30 points. Players each get three beanbags (either red or blue), and they stand 10-15 feet away from the board, taking turns throwing their bags. If one of the bags lands inside a net, that player gets the designated number of points. Once both players have thrown their three bags, the round is over. Players add up their points and keep track of them using the counter at the top of the game board—then the next round begins. The first player to 300 points wins the game.

On the other side of the board is a baseball-themed game called Big League Bagball. For this game, the nets are no longer assigned point values. Two of them are Out. The other four are hits—Single, Double, Triple, or Home Run. The game is played in nine innings. In each inning, each player gets to be both a batter and a fielder. The batter is given four square beanbags to throw. If he or she manages to get the bag into one of the Hit nets, the fielder has a chance to try to throw one of his or her two round beanbags into one of the two Out nets. If successful, the hit doesn’t count. If unsuccessful, play continues. Once the batter either gets three outs or tosses all four bags, the batter tallies up his or her runs and keeps track of the score on the game board. Then players switch, the batter becoming the fielder and vice versa. The player with the most points at the end of nine innings is the winner.

Before you can play Bagball, there’s some rather complex assembly required. Fortunately, though, once the board is set up, there’s no taking it apart and putting it back together next time—the board just stays assembled. Of course, that also means it requires some storage space—and it’s not as portable as some other outdoor games. But it does save setup time.

Bagball definitely provides a challenge—because it’s not as easy as it may look. Often, even if you do get a beanbag into a net, it’ll come flying right back out again—and that can sometimes be a bit frustrating. It’s not really a skill that will improve with practice, either. Actually, I got worse.

I’ll be honest here—this game made me say some words that shouldn’t be said in front of young players. But if you’re capable of relaxing and letting go of your competitive side, it’s a straightforward game that will challenge players of all ages—without anyone having much of an unfair advantage. And I love the fact that you can keep score right on the game board—instead of having to keep track of your points in your head.

I recommend Bagball over Big League Bagball, which is more complex—and a little confusing. If you know the rules of baseball, you’ll be able to figure it out, but there are still a lot of things to keep track of. It poses even more of a challenge, and the rules aren’t nearly as straightforward.

When it comes to outdoor games, Bagball is good for some outdoor family fun—but if you’re looking for something that’s both simple and portable, I’d recommend picking up Top Toss instead.

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