When it comes to favorite carnival games, everyone has their own favorites. A lot of times your favorites might be ones you actually won – which is, when it comes to carnival games, a rarity.
To create this list we looked back at carnival games that were fun whether we lost or won, although it’s best to admit up front that the basketball game is one we excelled in once we figured out the trick (see below).
Favorite Carnival Games & Tips to Win
So here is a very subjective look at the best carnival games. Agree or disagree, everything on this list will likely bring back a few fun memories from the midway (even if those memories also involve a degree of frustration).
Test Your Strength
Typically, this comes in the form of a base that you must hit with a long mallet. It is also known as high striker or bell ringer. Once you strike the base, it sends a bell up a vertical post. If the bell hits the top – causing a satisfying ring – you win. This is a classic because most of the time even the biggest guys will fail. That’s because they are falling for the misdirection ingeniously worked right into the title.
This doesn’t really test your strength, it tests your accuracy. Your best strategy is to widen the space between your hands on the mallet, placing one hand near the head, all of which will give you greater accuracy when you strike. And hitting the base in the middle with force is what really makes the bell go all the way to the top.
So, it’s true: the hoop is not was wide as a regulation basketball hoop and the ball is likely over-inflated. This leads to many players, even those who are stars on a real basketball court, not winning at this game. To change that, you must forget what you have learned. Your best bet is a high arching shot which comes down through the hoop’s center – it’s your best chance. It’s still pretty hard, though.
This remains a classic for a very simple reason: who doesn’t enjoy watching someone swagger up to the ladder as if climbing it will be no big deal, then watching them fall on their backsides? Always funny! But the rope ladder can be conquered as soon as you stop treating it like a ladder. The trick is to completely avoid the rungs and concentrate on shimmying up the ladder using the side ropes. It’s also important to move the opposite hand and leg at the same time – i.e., move your left leg up along with your right hand, using the other two limbs to brace yourself.
Milk Bottle Throw
How we hate the milk bottle throw! Deceptively simple in its appearance, the milk bottle throw is actually difficult to win, which makes some people (here we mean “us”) a little crazy. The setup is simple: knock a pyramid of milk bottles over with the toss of a ball. What you don’t know is that the milk bottles are made of heavy material that is hard to knock over. The trick? Don’t aim at the top bottle or even where the bottles come together, but rather at the base of the lower bottles. A direct hit will send the whole thing toppling.
In this classic contest, you are expected to burst a balloon with a dart. This just in: the dart is probably not that sharp and the balloons are likely under-inflated, making them harder to pop. So the key is pretty much this: throw harder. Also, try to throw from a high point and hit the balloon at an angle. And, of course, be accurate. Easy, right?
These are our personal favorite carnival games, although there are many more, including the ring toss, coin toss (hint: wet the coin so it doesn’t bounce so much) and shoot the star (that really just comes down to good marksmanship). But no matter what you favorite is, win or lose, we will all eventually find ourselves back on the midway, trying again.