How to Play Washers Game – Rules, Distance, Washer Boards DIY

You’ve made it! All you need to know about the washers game is in this article. We call this piece of well-put text the ultimate online resource for washers game.

There are so many variations of this game out there that learning about it gets frustrating sometimes. All we wanted to do is to reduce the amount of confusion one’s prone to when confronted with so many different variants of, basically, the same game. We have prepared a wonderful introduction to what washers game actually is and a thorough explanation of its different elements. Let’s start by explaining how a typical washers game should look like.

Washers Game Breakdown


The objective of the game is to earn points by throwing small pieces of metal called “washers” into a hole. The washers usually have 2” in diameter and the hole is denoted by a PVC pipe (a.k.a. the cooter) or a can.

Sometimes you might even see players tossing washers towards a box. Boxes and pits may vary in size and shape, but you will usually come across a standard one-hole box that has the dimensions of 16”x16”x4” and a cup in its center. The distance between the boxes should be approximately 20 feet. Most of the time players determine the distance by using a string, a rope or a chain attached to the front of both boxes.

The thrower should be standing next to or behind one box while tossing washers toward the other. Most players use an underhand throw but this decision comes down to your own preferences. We’ll offer you some tips and tricks on how to become an expert later on.

If you have played horseshoes before, you’ll get the scoring system rather quickly due to their similarity. For example, if you throw second, you can wash out/rebut/cancel any points that the first player or team has scored. Also, the score depends on where the washer lands.

Don’t worry, we’ll give you detailed rules depending on the variant of the game later on. Finally, you should know that the game of washers is usually played to a predetermined set of points, which may be 11 or 21.

Who invented washers game?


We can’t determine the date of washers game’s origin. We can’t even determine the place where it was invented. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that we are not able to say who came up with the rules first. To compensate for this lack of information, what we can offer is an anecdote about the origins of this game. Here’s how it goes:

“The Earth had begun to form from the void. With its formation came iron. Iron was then smelted by Homo sapiens and fashioned into thin hollow-centered rings called washers and little spoons. This mammal used the spoons to dig a couple of holes in the earth. The distance between the holes was reasonable. In no time, many of its kind began to pitch the washers in order to land them in the holes. People then challenged one another to pitch for honor. The rest is history.”

Considering the absence of actual facts, we have to say that this is the most reliable version to go by. One thing’s for sure, it has to be the most interest version there is.

When was the game “washers” invented?

We can certainly learn something from a previous couple of lines. To answer the question we have to approach the problem analytically. The conclusion is simple -- the game of washers was invented soon after time began! We hope this brings at least a couple of laughs if nothing else. Anyway, what we can do is guess that, since this game requires nothing but a few simple pieces of equipment, it has to date way back to the times where tossing tiny discs in a box was the only fun you had.

Washer game rules and scoring


Now here’s something we know for a fact: the rules and scoring of this game.

Depending on what variation of the washer pitching game you’re playing, rules will vary, too. It all comes down to what you agree on with the rest of the players before the game starts. If you can find common ground, the rules themselves become irrelevant. But there’s nothing wrong in knowing and understanding different approaches. At least you can become a regulator with all this knowledge.

Here’s the rule and score-related breakdown:

Washer pit rules

In this version of the game, the field consists of two washer pits positioned at a specific distance apart. Each of the pits should contain one recessed cup of approximately 4 inches in diameter. The player starts by throwing washers toward the cup to score points.

You’ll be able to measure the distance we’ve mentioned starting from cup centers. The “official” distance should be 25 feet. Of course, you can use smaller or greater distances in your backyard, that’s the beauty of the unofficial.

In order to determine the starting order of each game, players use a very sophisticated process called diddle. A diddle works like this:

One throw per player from both sides at the opposite cup. Whoever tosses the washer closer to the cup, or ideally, straight into it, goes first. The player who tossed the second closest washer goes next and so on (depending on how many players you have playing). Any close calls are settled by an additional diddle between the players who have their washers at the same distance from the target.

Starting point

Once you determine who’s the first to play, you can officially start the game. Standard pit games allow you to stand wherever you want inside the pit while throwing. If the pit area is not framed, players have to be at least one step away from the cup.

Each player should have two washers to throw. The first player throws both of them, one at a time. The scoring is determined by the proximity of the washer to the cup. Only one player can score per round.

Remember you’ll get no points if the washers fall completely out of the pit’s bounds. The washers in the pit will score depending on how close they are to the cup (the closest one gets one point). Whoever manages to get a washer inside the cup will earn 5 points. This move even has its own name - the cupper.

If player A throws a cupper and player B’s washer also ends up in the cup, player B’s cupper cancels the previous one. In this scenario, points would be awarded considering the washers that are left.

If player A gets one cupper and player B two of them, five points go to player B.

After all the players have tossed their washers the scoring is done.

A winning game


There are several ways for players to determine a winner. When one player or team reaches 11 points before their opponent scores their first point, the game is over. This is called skunk and the player or team with no points loses.

There’s another situation, called whitewash. A whitewash happens when a player or team reaches 17 points, while the opponent has only 1 point. The game ends when the leading player or team hits number 17 on the scoreboard.

The game can go full-term as well. This is achieved when a player/team reaches 21 or more points while the opponent has 20 points. In this case whoever has 21 or more points wins.

Washer pit dimensions

If you want to add an atmosphere of seriousness to your game then the pits are a must. They are not really necessary but they help with the scoring. What you’ll need for a pit are two 8” landscape timbers. You should cut them in two pieces of 5” and 3”. Connect the timbers and fill the pit with earth to the top of the frame. A cup is usually placed closer to the far end, around 31’’ from the pit’s front.

Washer pit distance

The distance between the two pits is completely up to you. Most players recommend that you measure a distance of 25 from the center of one cup to the center of the other. Of course, the greater the distance, the more difficult the game. However, you need to be careful not to put the pits too far apart as it may be overwhelming for the youngest players.

How to play washer board game?


Washer board game is yet another interesting version you may come across. As the name says, you’ll need a board for this one. Actually, you’ll need two of them if you are to do it right. According to the official rules, there needs to be 27’ apart from the front edge of one board to the other. The game is usually played with pitching bags filled with sand instead of metal washers. That way, the board will be more or less protected.

Though many people use washers to play the washer board game, we’ll give you an example with pitching bags here. That way you can get a sense of how you could play with different equipment. After this example, we’ll switch back to metal washers again.

The front edge of the board is called a foul line. You can play Singles or Doubles.

Singles play

The game consists of two pitchers playing against each other. Both players should stand in their designated lane during the game. Players then need to start the game at the headboard and alternate throwing bags until each player has tossed all of them. And, they get four bags each. Then, they should walk to the other side, take the score and start throwing again.

Doubles play


This variant is played by two teams of two players on each side. Each player should stand in their designated pitcher box. A pitcher box is a 4”x3” area at each end of the court and on both sides of each board (4 boxes in total). The same rules apply as for the singles play and each player has 4 bags to pitch.

Official rules for playing washers state that the player must pitch with the underhand throw. One foot must be inside the pitcher’s box completely when releasing the bag. Players must not cross the foul line with their feet before the bag has landed.

The player or team who scored in the last round has the right to play first in the next one. If nobody scores, the player who tossed first in the last inning will play first in the next round.

If bags begin to pile up inside the board hole and start interfering with the next pitch or if you’re not sure if a bag would have fallen through the hole, a player may ask to “rake” the bags that are inside the hole.

Traditionally, the game should be played to the predetermined number of 21 points.

One-hole washer board rules

If you have a set of two one-hole washer boards to play with, then this game is usually played by two or four people. A player gets one point if the washer lands on the board. If a washer is leaning over the edge of the cup, this is worth three points. Obviously, a player gets a maximum of five points if they manage to get the washer inside the cup. Playing a one-hole washer board requires a rule of placement. You should place your boards on a distance of 21 feet.

In addition, you will need to stand at the back of the board while pitching. This is important because you should measure the distance between the boards from the back of each board to the center of the opposite cup. Once measured, the distance can be secured by adding eye hooks and a rope to your boards. That way you won’t have to measure it all over again.

In order to determine who’s playing first, you can use the already mentioned diddle. A player from each team should toss and the washer closest to the hole determines the first pitcher. The player or team who scored last throws first once the game starts.

Remember that only one player or team per round may score. A round is over when each player has tossed all four washers.

The winner is the first player or team to reach a total of exactly 21 points. You can call a skunk if a game becomes too ‘humiliating’, for instance, if the score is 11-0 or 17-1.

One-hole washer throwing game board dimensions

Whether you’re a first-time player or a veteran, some dimension suggestions are just perfect and there’s no arguing about it. We’ve found one just like that.

In order to get the most out of this game, your scoring surface should be a ½ inch thick board, approximately 20 inches wide and 24 inches long, with a 4 ½ inches hole in the middle.

We’re going to present some DIY projects on how to build your own board later on as well.

Three-hole washer game rules

The scoring system for this game is quite simple. Be sure to face the washer boards horizontally and not sideways. Here are some basic rules for playing three-hole washer board game:

If you get your washer in the hole closest to you, you’ll get one point. The middle hole is worth three points and the hole farthest from you is five points.

The distance between the boards should be 10’ when you measure from the front of each board to the opposite one.

We find that using diddle is the most entertaining way to determine who plays first. On the other hand, if you don’t have the time or if you think you’re wasting throws this way, you can just flip a coin or play “rock, paper, scissors”. It’s entirely up to you. We’re just here to give you as many options as possible.

The rules are pretty much the same as for every washers game. Just follow the basic ones like alternating players, only one player scores per round and end the round when each of the players has pitched all four washers.

It seems like the game is most fun when you include point cancelation. For instance, if player 1 gets three points and player 2 gets five, then player 2 earns two points for that round. So you should certainly consider keeping this rule.

Again, the winner is the first player or team to reach 21. Don’t rush to it, though, try to have fun along the way!

Three-hole washer board dimensions

The standard size for a three-hole washer board is 40’’x16’’. The board has three holes of 4’’ in diameter. Each hole’s center is 12’’ from the center of the next hole.

We’ve found that the best washer boards are the ones with crown bags in each hole. These bags catch the washers when they fall in. It’s quite handy.

Five-hole washer board game rule

Having five holes on the board really take this game to a whole different level. Basically, the board consists of four holes close to each corner of the board with one hole in the middle. You’ll need to use six washers per player.

Game Breakdown

If a washer lands in any of the holes, that’s worth 3 points. Whoever comes closest to the middle hole earns 2 points. Washer that lands on the board but is not closest to the middle hole is worth 1 point.

The objective of the game is to try to toss a washer into one of the 5 target holes. You need to continue playing until one player or team reaches 21 points exactly after all 6 washers have been tossed in one round. If a team or player goes over 21 points in any of the rounds, they get no points. Only a player with 21 points wins the round.

The game can be played by 2 players or 2 teams of up to 3 members. To determine which player or team starts first, each player or team tosses 3 washers. The player or team that has scored the most points should start the round.

If the first player or team reaches exactly 21 points in a round, the opposing player or team must be allowed to take their final turn. If a player or team goes over 21 points in a round, all the points earned for that round by that player or team are canceled. The opposing player or team wins that round and starts the next round. In case of a tie, an extra round is played and highest score in that round wins the game. Rounds are only completed when all 6 washers have been tossed.

All washers must be tossed underhand. Each player must stand behind the toss line when tossing a washer. If a player's foot crosses the toss line when tossing a washer, his/her points for that toss are not counted and turn is lost. Distraction or interference with opposing players will result in lost turn.

Backboard Washer Board Rules

If you’re getting tired of all these slightly different variations of the washers game and you just want to add more players to the fun, then backboard washers will be just perfect for you.

It’s similar to regular washers and it’s scored in rounds as well, but the thing is that you can have an unlimited number of people playing.

Also, you can throw the washers overhand or underhand. You can even bounce them off the grass or of the backboard, it really doesn’t matter at all. People of all ages and skill levels can play the game. Make a rule that the kids are to toss from shorter distances and adults should toss from, let’s say, 20 feet out. The elderly can sit in their lawn chair and toss without even standing up.

Some of the basic rules state that each player should toss six washers per round. There should be ten rounds to complete the game and the highest score wins.

You’ll have a box with a PVC tube in the middle and a backboard screw. This is important because of the scoring system.

If you have a washer in the box you earn a point. But if you land a washer in the PVC tube, that’s 3 points. Only the most skilled ones will get 10 points because a washer needs to hang on the backboard screw for this to happen.

Backboard washer game is perfect for the whole family and it’s extremely cheap to make.

Washer box rules


Now we have a game that you can play using regulation washer boxes. The rules are very simple in this game, too. Washer in the box gives you 1 point and 3 points if it’s in the cup. But if you happen to be so lucky to land a washer on top of any of the edges of the washer box then you will automatically become the winner of the game!

Players throw the washers in an attempt to get them n, on or near the box or in the pipe. When throwing, the player may stride forward of the front of the box or remain entirely in the back of the box, but at least one foot must remain behind the front of the box.

In the traditional four-player game, players throw two washers each, throwing both before the opponent throws their two. A player may throw both washers at once, but you should pay attention not to decrease accuracy. The scoring team throws first in the next round.

Players earn one point for a washer landing within one foot of the box or leaning next to the box, or under the box. Two points are scored if a washer rests lying on the top edge of the box. Three points are scored for washers landing inside the box, but not in the pipe, and five points when the washer lands inside the pipe.

Washer game scoreboard

To keep your score you can use different things depending on how sophisticated you want your game to be. A simple piece of paper and a pen would suffice. You can order different scoreboards online or you can even build one on your own. All you need is some plywood and a couple of markers and some sort of scoring clips. Again, it all depends on your affinities. You can even find some scoreboards with cup holders, how neat is that!

How to win at washers game

There are ways to change the rules and scoring in washers, however, you’ll need to take care of that before the game starts. Now, we’ll give you some tips on how to make sure you’re winning in washers. The first team or player that reaches 21 points is the official winner.

In case your score goes over 21 points, you’ll get a penalty and your score will be reduced.

For instance, if you have a score of 18 points and you score an additional 5 (topping 21), your previous score will be reduced by 5 (leaving you with 13).

Best way to pitch washers - How to throw

In order to master your pitching, we recommend you follow our perfect pitching method:

Start by wrapping your thumb and forefinger around the washer. In order to keep the washer in place, you’ll need to place your middle finger underneath it. And, when you’re ready to pitch, focus on moving your arm in a straight line toward the washer board or pit.

Basic rules and equipment dimensions

Official washers game distance

The official game field should consist of 2 pits, where each one of them contains a cup of 4 inches in diameter. The official distance from the cup centers is precisely 25 feet.

How many washers in washer toss game

Each player will get precisely three washers. The hole that’s the closest carries 1 point, the one in the middle carries 3 points and the farthest one a total of 5 points.

What size washers for game

When it comes to the size of the washers, their measurements are 1”x 2 ½ “x ⅛ “.

Washer game DIY

Washer game is super easy to build. If you have some basic tools in your shed, you’re all set! All you need material-wise is some plywood, glue and a rope. Of course, this is all optional and not really necessary. But if you have the time and the will to build something on your own, this is the perfect opportunity. All your friends and family will enjoy the game, even more so if they know you built it with your own two hands.

Keep reading and you’ll find some simple and awesome DIY projects.

How to build a washer pit

We already mentioned a simple washer pit that you can build in the text above. This is just going to be a little step-by-step guide to help you out in your endeavor.

You can probably get almost everything you need from a local home improvement store. Here’s what you’ll need for one pit:

  • I. 4 pieces of wood cut to your desired size.
  • II. 4 metal L brackets
  • III. 16 nails — 4 for each bracket. Make sure the nails are a good fit (not too long, not too short)
  • IV. 10 2.5” washers. You can order them online and you can get them in cool colors
  • V. 1 PVC pipe coupling, at least a 6” depth and 3” diameter. The bigger the depth and diameter, the easier it will be to score.

Your first task is to clear out any grass in the pit area. After that, lay down your wood in order to get an idea where to dig out the space for your planks. Just dig straight lines, lay your planks in, and keep digging until they sit at a depth you think is suitable. Next, you’ll need to hammer in your first L bracket. Hold two planks flush together and start hammering. You’ll need to repeat the process until all of your L brackets are hammered in. The planks should feel solid at this point. All you have to do now is to push in the surrounding dirt until the pit is comfortably snub in the ground.
Repeat the whole process one more time and start playing washers!

How to make a washers game board - wooden


Let’s have a quick look at this simple plan for building a one-hole washer board:


  • I. four 16” 2x4s
  • II. four 13” 2x4s
  • ​III. two 16x16” ½”-plywood squares
  • ​IV. grit sandpaper
  • ​V. 16 3-inch wood screws
  • VI. 24 1¼” wood screws
  • ​VII. two 4”-diameter PVC couplers
  • ​VIII. two 13”x13” squares outdoor carpets
  • IX. adhesive in a tube
  • X. spray paint​
  • XI. eight 2-inch-diameter metal washers


  • I. tape measure
  • II. table saw, jigsaw or a handsaw
  • III. power drill and drill bits
  • ​IV. marker
  • V. scissors

You can cut the eight 2x4 pieces from two 6-foot boards. The same goes for the plywood squares. If you don’t find the PVC couplers, get a short section of 4-inch PVC pipe and cut it into 3½-inch lengths.

Cut the 2x4s and plywood to size and sand them smooth.

Drill two holes through the longer boards and into the shorter boards.

Drill holes and attach the plywood to the base with the 1¼-inch screws. Spray two or three coats of spar urethane on them.

Place the carpet square in the box using an all-purpose adhesive to secure it to the plywood. Then, apply a bead of the adhesive to the bottom of the PVC coupler and glue the cut-out carpet circle inside. Cut the carpet into two 13x13-inch squares. Position the PVC coupler in the center (about 4¼ inches from each carpet edge) and trace the outside and inside edges. After that just cut out the outer circle. Then trim the cut-out circle to the inner circle and you’re all set!

Washer game plans (where to find)

Just surf the internet and you’ll find some well-made game plans that you can use. The game is quite popular, so you won’t have a lot of problems finding what you need online. There are many useful sites that offer different DIY project plans and we certainly advise you to take your time and pick what you think is best for you.


How to cover washer boards

There are many ways to cover your washer boards to make them look even better. You can use all sorts of paint and sprays or even put a layer of outdoor carpet on them. The carpet can add a certain feel to it and it will also absorb the hits. One way to make your wooden boards look old and cool is to put a layer of black tea on them. Just make a pot of tea and let it cool down. Then apply a thin layer of it on the wood and leave it to dry. The oxidation will do the rest. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this little trick can make!

Best paint for washers game

In case you’re wondering how to paint the washer boards and protect them at the same time, hit them with Krylon! And, when they wear out (which is pretty much inevitable), give them one more layer of it. Remember, it’s not a beauty pageant, it’s washers.

What is the size of PVC cups for washers game?


The size of PVC cups is either 3” x 3​1⁄2” or 4”.

Coffee can washers game

You can even create the can in washers by using a large coffee can. In this case, you’ll have one can in the center and you’ll be taking turns in throwing washers in it. Every washer you throw into the can carries 2 points, while every washer that goes outside the box grants you one single point.

Where to buy washers for washer toss game

If you want to buy washers and start playing the washer toss game, we recommend doing it via Not only is it the fastest way to find the washers you want but it’s also where you’ll have as many options as you wish to choose from. Most importantly, what separates you from the washers you want is a couple of mouse-clicks. So go ahead and get yours right away!

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