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Washer Toss: What Is It And How To Play The Game (Full Guide)

November 07, 2022 6 min read

Washer Toss: What Is It And How To Play The Game (Full Guide)


When you think of backyard games, games like cornhole, horseshoes, or even social pong will probably be the first to pop into your mind. They’re all well-known and widely played. 

Washer toss is not nearly as widely known as the three previous backyard games, but it has a growing fan base that loves the added challenge that the game presents.  

While games like cornhole have a large scoring area, and you can get points in games like horseshoes just for landing close to the target, washer toss requires a higher level of precision. 

You’re throwing a steel washer with a diameter of 2.5 inches at an 18-inch x 18-inch box. And you have to get your tiny washer in the box from 20 feet away to score. 

If you’re looking for a high-skill backyard game that will be a challenge for you and your family or friends, then washer toss is the game for you. 


Table of Contents

History of the Washer Toss Game

Setting Up the Washer Toss Game

How to Play Washer Toss

House Rules for the Washer Toss Game

Where Can You Get a Quality Washer Toss Set?


Elakai Outdoor washer toss game

History of the Washer Toss Game

There are several different theories about where washer tossing originated. Some purport that the game originated in ancient Greece more than two thousand years ago. While it’s possible that washer tossing has roots in a game from greek antiquity, the modern version of the game is much closer toparlor quoits—the predecessor of cornhole.  

The more plausible theories paint a very different picture. Instead of ancient Greece, these traditions point to either 1800s Indiana or 1900s West Texas.

Some think that 1800s Midwestern pioneers from Indiana would take turns tossing their spare washers into a cup during their breaks. Others believe the game originated in a similar way but on the oil fields of Texas in the early 1900s instead of the forests of Indiana. 

Whether it was initially played by pioneers or blue-collar workers is of little consequence. Because either way, the washer toss game is undisputably American.

The game has changed considerably over the years, and multiple variations exist. Originally the game was played by digging two holes in the ground and tossing the washers into them. Eventually, boards with multiple holes were introduced, and each hole was worth a different amount of points. The version that most play today involves a small square board with a box in the center.


elakai washer toss game

Setting Up The Washer Toss Game

Unless you’re looking to do some manual labor and dig two 3-inch holes, setting up the game is as easy as learning how to play washer toss. In addition, it’s entirely self-contained and can be played indoors or outdoors. 

To set up the game, simply place the boards twenty feet apart (approximately seven paces) on a relatively flat surface. 

Then once teams are chosen and the colored washers are distributed, play can begin.


washer toss game rings in hand

How to Play Washer Toss

If you’ve ever played cornhole, then learning how to play washer toss will be a breeze. The games are functionally similar, and both can be played with either two or four players. 

How To Play Washer Toss with 2 Players

For solo teams, both players stand on opposite sides of the same target and take turns tossing their washers at the target across from them. Once both players have tossed all their washers, they calculate the number of points each team earned that round and cancel them out (we’ll cover scoring below). Play then continues with players tossing from the opposite end of the playing field. 

One quick note, when you’re tossing your washers, make sure you don’t step over the foul line. The foul line is the front edge of the box you’re standing next to. If you step over the line, you forfeit that toss, which is worth zero points. Play then continues as usual.

How to Play Washer Toss with 4 Players

Gameplay remains unchanged in a 4 player game. The one thing to keep in mind during a four player game is that teammates must stand directly across from each other.

Play then proceeds with players tossing their washers and calculating their scores as described above. 

How Scoring Works in Washer Toss

Washer toss uses the same “cancelation” scoring system as many other outdoor games like cornhole, where only one team is allowed to score in a single round. 

Once all four washers have been tossed, count the number of washers that each team made into the target. Washers that land inside the outer box are worth 1 point each. Washers that land in the inner box, are worth 3 points each. And washers that land outside of the target aren’t worth any points. 

Once you’ve figured out how many points each team has earned, the team that scores the higher number subtracts the other team’s points from their own. Then, the remaining number is added to their total score, and the next round can begin. 

If both teams have the same number of points at the end of the round, neither receives any points for that round.


washer toss scoring rules


If team A tosses one washer in the inner box and three washers in the outer box, their score would be 6. If team B tosses two washers in the outer box but the rest land outside of the box, their score would be 2. At the end of the round, team A would receive 4 points to their total score, and team B would receive 0.

The Game Over Stake

The Game Over Stake is a scoring feature unique toElakai’s Portable Washer Toss Game. Our portable washer toss set comes with a metal pin in the center of each box. If a player tosses their washer into the innner box and gets a ringer (think horseshoes), then your team automatically wins!

If you thought making it into the inner box was hard enough, this will surely add an extra layer of difficulty to your backyard gameplay.

How to Win the Game

Games are typically played until one team wins by scoring 21 points!

As a secondary win condition, a team may forfeit if their opponents score 11 points before they win a round. However, a team cannot forfeit if they’ve already scored any number of points. 

And remember, if a team gets a ringer on the center pin, they automatically win the game! No rebuttals or extra throws allowed.


washer toss game house rules

House Rules for the Washer Toss Game

While there’s certainly a large enough skill gap to keep players engaged for quite some time, there are some fun variations and house rules you can implement if you want to change things up a bit. 

21 or Bust Rule

This rule is a staple in backyard gaming. It’s used in every game, from cornhole to horseshoes. Normally in washer toss, the game is played until a team meets or exceeds twenty-one points at the end of a round. 

Under this house rule, a team must scoreexactly twenty-one points to win. If they exceed twenty-one, they are knocked back to fifteen points at the beginning of the next round. 

This adds an additional layer of complexity since you must outscore your opponents each round without going bust.

Two-Hole Washer Toss

This house rule works best with two players, but it can be done with teams of two.

Instead of setting up the boxes twenty feet apart as you would in standard play, set them up one behind the other. Then walk back twenty feet (about seven paces). 

During play, one player tosses all of their washers one at a time. Then the next player tosses all of theirs. 

If you have two players, each tosses four washers. If you have four players, each teammate tosses two washers. 


All washers that fall within the box are worth 1 point. A washer that lands in the first inner box is worth 3 points, as usual, but a washer that lands in the second inner box is worth 6 points. 

And washers that land on the wooden edge between the two boxes are worth 0 points.


washer toss game in grass

Where Can You Get A Quality Washer Toss Set?

If you’re looking for a high-quality, durable washer toss set that you can take with you on any adventure, then you’ve come to the right place! 

At Elakai, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with some of the highest-quality outdoor games on the market.

Our Portable Washer Toss Set is made out of Acacia wood and features 1-inch thick artificial turf to reduce the game’s sound profile. The turf-covered interior also helps keep the steel washers from dinging the bottom of the target. 

Our outdoor games aren’t only built to last; they’re crafted to catch the eye. We design our games to be as aesthetically pleasing as they are fun to play. So when you bust out your premium backyard games, you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.

Whether you’re buying for yourself or need a gift idea for that friend/family member who seemly has everything, Elakai is your one-stop shop for premium outdoor games. 

Get yours today!

1 Response

Ronald Terrell
Ronald Terrell

August 03, 2023

Would like to purchase washer toss game & how much

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