Hail Mary: Last Minute Tailgate Party Games

People love elaborate tailgate parties with themes, games, and great food. These events typically require some serious planning and prep work. If you have just discover that your husband invited his entire gang over for the sports ball match tomorrow, you might feel defeated. 

Don’t boo, I am here to help you sink a last-second buzzer beater! You can still throw an awesome last-minute tailgate party. You are going to have to come up with the food on your own, but as for games we got you covered better than Deon Sanders. Here are some creative and simple games you can put together for a last-minute tailgate party.

Note: While there are many great games that you could buy at the store for this list, we are focusing on things that you can put together from items around the house and spending as little money as possible.

Last Minute Tailgate Party Games

DIY Cornhole

You don’t have the time or carpentry skills to construct your own cornhole board (also known as bags in some circles). And you don’t want to spend money to buy a set at the store. But you can still mimic this competitive and approachable tailgate classic.

Materials Needed:

  • 2 cardboard boxes 
  • Box cutter
  • Pen/Marker
  • Bowl, empty coffee can, yogurt cup, anything that is a circle about 4-5 inches in diameter.

How to Play

Granted it’s not gonna look as pretty as freshly painted wooden boards, but it’s still fun. You need two big cardboard boxes in the bottom you cut a hole and then you cut the sidewall at an angle so that you can sit them on the ground and have a cornhole-style board.

Then you need some beanbags to toss. Because you’re using cardboard and not solid wood, it’s good to have something lighter than the traditional cornhole bag. Hacky sacks or similar items work well. You can also use small socks filled with a little bit of sand or rice.

Football Golf

Sticking with the theme of throwing things to score points, we have Football Golf. A loose facsimile of golf played with a football instead of a golf ball and clubs. Each player attempts to get their football into the goal/hole in as few throws as possible. 

What You Need:

  • Footballs (you can use small foam footballs if actual footballs are not available)
  • Large buckets or laundry baskets
  • Tape or chalk (for marking “fairways”, “water hazards”, “sand traps”, out of bounds, etc.)

How to Play

Using your buckets or laundry baskets, find a location to put it in your home or outside on your tailgate party a lot. This is your “hole”. Then using your tap or chalk, you can mark fairways, water hazards, and sand traps. Create as many holes as you want, each one unique in length and design, just like a real golf course. 

The rest of the game is simple, you play just like you were golfing minus the clubs. Try to throw your ball into the hole in as few attempts as possible. The unique shape of the football tends to cause it to bounce in random directions making this a challenge if you do not get a hole-in-one! 

Hammer and Nail

If you want a manly game that won’t take any prep time, then hammer and nail is perfect for you. Assuming you have a hammer and some nails in the garage. 

What you need:

  • A hammer
  • Nails (The bigger the better)
  • Block of wood, stump 2 x 4

How to Play

The game is quite simple. You can play in different ways. The simplest way is to see who can hammer a nail into the board with as few swings as possible. You can also divide into teams and see which team can hammer in the nail fastest. Each player takes one swing at a time.

Learn More: Manly Bachelor Party Games

Liars Dice

Liar’s Dice is a great game for tailgate parties, as it involves bluffing and strategy, making it a fun and engaging activity.

Materials Needed:

  • Dice (at least 5 per player)
  • Cups (one for each player)
  • A flat surface to play on

How to Play: Each player gets five dice and a cup. Players shake their dice in the cup and then slam the cup upside down on the table, keeping their dice hidden. Players take turns guessing the total number of dice showing a certain face value among all the dice, not just their own. The next player can either raise the bid or call the previous player’s bluff. If the bluff is called, all players reveal their dice. If the total is at least as high as the bid, the bidder wins; if it’s lower, the bluffer wins. The game continues until only one player remains.

You can see a more detailed explanation of Liar’s Dice in this guide to bachelor party games.


Fowling is a variation on bowling that has recently become popular. Two teams compete to knock down each other‘s bowling pins. Instead of a bowling ball, they use a football and throw it at the pins. 

What do you need:

  • Football
  • Bowling pins
  • Measuring tape, to measure the distance between the two sides

You might be thinking: “I don’t have two sets of bowling pins just lying around, what am I a crazy person?”. That’s OK we don’t need to use bowling pins, we can use anything that will serve the same purpose. They could be empty pop bottles with water in them, they can be short pieces of 2 x 4 cut to about 12 inches in length, or anything that will stand on its own.

How to Play

The game is simple. Set your bowling pins in the normal bowling pin alignment with the two sets facing each other 30- 40 feet apart. Each team has two throws to knock as many pins down as they can. If you want to get complicated, you can score it like normal bowling. Otherwise you can just count the total number of pins each round. Then add up the total after 10 rounds.

Meme Caption Contest

Want to offer a more low-key game while your guests are snacking and enjoying the game? Display goofy candid photos of the party attendees or just one individual in attendance. Then allow your guest to write captions for the photo to create a meme. Everyone can vote on which one they think is best.

What You Need:

  • Camera (everyone has a phone)
  • Ability to print a copy of the photo

Paper Football Kick-Off

You can trace the origins of paper football back to American middle schools from decades ago. These innovative youngsters struggled to entertain themselves in a world without mobile internet access. Out of necessity, a new game was born that only required what the students had access to: paper. You can honor these pioneers by resurrecting this classic. 

Materials Needed:

  • Paper

How to Play

Have each guest create their own paper football and compete in a competitive tournament using just their hands. Most people probably know how this game is played but here is a tutorial just in case:


Tic-Tac-Toe Toss

Tic-Tac-Toe may not seem very exciting, so let’s make it bigger and add some throwing! This version of the game is a combination of cornhole and tic-tac-toe on a large scale. You throw bags to claim a spot on the board and “mark” it with your “X” or “O”. 

Materials Needed:

  • Tape or chalk (to create the grid)
  • Small bean bags or balls

How to Play: Create a large Tic-Tac-Toe grid on the ground using tape or chalk. Take turns tossing the bean bags or balls onto the grid, trying to get three in a row to win. This can be played with teams or individuals.

Have Fun

These games are designed to be simple, affordable, and quick to set up, making them perfect for last-minute tailgate fun!


Shane is a big fan of learning new games. He is very competitive and enjoys games that incorporate some physical skill. He approaches most contests with a contrarian approach, always looking for an edge!

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