I am hugely competitive. I've come close to losing friendships over foosball. There's a growing list of people that won't play a game with me. It's tragic, obnoxious and completely my own fault. The tradeoff of that sad fact is that I consider myself an expert on the subject of outdoor recreation, and as such, I thought we should talk about the must-have essential park and lawn games to have for this glorious Portland summer.

Even when I didn't have a backyard, I always found these six outdoor games good to have for picnics and beach trips. Let's get into it.

(Disclaimer: These are more esoteric outdoor games. If you don't already have a football and a basketball in the house, you should absolutely start there.)

Product image via Amazon
Product image via Amazon

It appears this product listing is doing everything it can to avoid using the term "Jenga," but that's exactly what this is. The classic kids game has been supersized for adults. You might've seen this at a bar, but it's truly thrilling to pull it out of the basement during a barbecue and see who's game for a round. It's the perfect surprise for a party. And right now, you can save $20 on the set.

Product image via Amazon
Product image via Amazon

Carbonara, tiramisu, John Turturro and bocce: the four greatest Italian contributions to American culture. Easy to play and requiring absolutely no prerequisite skill, bocce is an all-time great lawn and park game. If you haven't played it, grab the three oldest men in your neighborhood and get a game going pronto. This set (travel bag included) is a steal at $36.

Product image via Amazon
Product image via Amazon

A recurring theme of outdoor lawn and park games: they should be easy to play, and you should be able to do so at a reasonable degree of intoxication. The nexus between those two is this huge Connect Four game. Solid wood and legitimately fun, it's one of my favorites. Comes with a travel case for toting to the park or beach.

Product image via Amazon
Product image via Amazon

This one errs on the more athletic side of lawn activities. It involves all kinds of jumping, diving and spiking to win the game. Others might know it by it's more common name of spike ball. You get four friends together, two people per team, and take turns smashing the ball into the center of the net. It quickly gets raucous. At $30, it's an affordable addition to the arsenal.

Product image via Amazon
Product image via Amazon

Here's a game where the fun you have talking about it equals or exceeds the fun you have playing it. A good game of badminton involves a specialized lexicon (including but not limited to: shuttlecock, smash, etc.) that you can use to let your depraved wit really shine. And if the last time you played badminton was middle school gym class, I can't recommend enough picking a set up and giving it another run. Easily one of my favorites. And this pro-level $90 set from Baden should last you a long time.

Product image via Amazon
Product image via Amazon

The cornerstone of any backyard, tailgate or birthday party. Cornhole feels like it's older than time itself. It's a social game that you can play with a beer in your hand. Truly the epitome a lawn game. If you haven't got a solid set, you can't beat this $40 kit from GoSports. But if you're looking for a more durable wood kit, you should look into investing about $120.

That's it! Those are my six. What game did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

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