The official rules of the backyard game of Polish horseshoes require specific equipment, but you can modify the game with some ingenuity. To play the game strictly by the rules, you need two ski poles, two empty beer bottles and a plastic disc, commonly known as a Frisbee.
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Polish horseshoes can be played on any large, flat patch of ground. Games often sprout up in backyards, picnic grounds and college campuses across the country. Position two poles at least 25 feet apart. Place an empty beer bottle on top of each pole.
Most Polish horseshoe matches feature two teams of two players, although singles may also compete. Play begins with teams standing behind their respective poles. Teams take turns throwing the Frisbee at the other team's pole, attempting to knock the empty beer bottle off the pole. Players earn points for their accuracy, racing to a predetermined total, typically either 11 or 21 points.
The team throwing the Frisbee is called the offense. An offensive player must release the Frisbee from behind their own pole. Hitting the beer bottle and knocking it from the opponent's pole, known as a "dinger" earns the throwing team three points. Striking the pole with the Frisbee and knocking the beer bottle off the pole earns the offensive team two points. Hitting the pole without dislodging the bottle earns one point.
The receiving, or defensive, team must catch the offensive team's Frisbee each time it is thrown. If the defensive team fails to catch the Frisbee, the throwing team earns a point. Players are not allowed to catch the Frisbee until it crosses the pole, however, and only catchable Frisbees result in penalty points.
The defense may also negate offensive points. Catching the bottle before it hits the ground reduces the offense's score by one point, as does catching the Frisbee. For instance, if the offensive team scores a dinger but the defensive team catches the bottle and the Frisbee, the offensive team earns only one point. To add a degree of difficulty, all players must hold a drink in one hand, making it much harder to catch the Frisbee and falling bottles.