Kan Jam has become crazy popular in recent years for one simple reason: it’s great for the backyard, outdoors, beach, and even tailgate.
In this Kan Jam review, you’ll learn how to play the game and figure out what the rules are. You’ll even learn other related questions like what Kan Jam set is right for you.
What is Kan Jam
Kan Jam is an outdoor game that looks a little bit like disc golf at first glance. You throw a frisbee into a target (a Kan) and score to win. But the intricacies of this game make it a whole lot more fun and accessible for everyone.
Four players are divided into two teams. Members of the same team stand at opposite goals similar to how you play Cornhole.
Place the goals 50 feet apart. You can adjust the distance to accommodate different levels of skill. The team member who has the disc (“Thrower”) will throw it towards the Kan where their partner (“Deflector”) is standing.
There are four (4) ways to score:
- The Dinger (1 point) – a Dinger occurs when the Thrower throws the disc and it hits the Kan.
- The Deuce (2 points) – the Deuce happens when the thrower throws the disc and the Deflector deflects the disc so that it hits the Kan.
- The Bucket (3 points) – Bucket is when the Thrower throws, the Deflector deflects, and the disc goes into the Kan.
- Instant Win – this is when the Thrower manages to land the disc inside the Kan either through the front slot or the top of the Kan without the help of the Deflector.
The objective of the game is to score exactly 21 points or score an instant win. If you’re going to go over 21 after your latest throw, the points are instead subtracted from your score.
For example, let’s say you had 20 points. You toss the disc and score a Deuce – a beautiful 2-pointer. Since 20 + 2 is higher than 21, you instead subtract the score. It becomes 20 – 2. Instead of 22, you now have 18.
If you are playing Kan Jam 1v1, then the scoring looks a little different. You and your opponent will each stand by Kans opposite each other. If your throw hits the Kan, you earn 2 points. If it goes in through the top of the Kan, you earn 3 points. Once you or your opponent have 20 points, the only way to win is to throw the disc through the top of the Kan. Throwing the disc through the front slot is an Instant Win, like in 2v2.
Rules of Kan Jam
Kan Jam’s rules are short and sweet. They’re easy enough to grasp that you can be a walking rule book in under a minute (and don’t worry, we’re not even going to test you on it). Kan Jam’s rules can be summarized like this:
- Teams flip the disc and call heads or tails to see who goes first. The team that goes last has an advantage since they can decide what they will do with their last throw if the other team to go reaches 21 first (this team can choose to try and tie up the game or go for the Instant Win). Going second is referred to as having “The Hammer”.
- Each team gets one throw per round. One round is finished when each team has thrown once.
- If both teams reach 21 in the same round, the game goes into overtime. During overtime, each player throws once and the team with the highest score after everyone has thrown wins. Overtime can be repeated if both teams still have an equal score.
- Kans should be 50 feet apart (16 feet for Mini or if you’re playing on water). Players cannot cross the front of the Kan when throwing or deflecting. If the front of the Kan is crossed, the points from the throw are negated.
- No “carrying”. A carry occurs when a player catches, pinches, or otherwise grabs the disc. The best way to deflect is to hit the disc at or into the Kan so that no one accuses you of carrying and negates your throw.
The rules above are Kan Jam’s official rules, but anyone who has ever played Monopoly knows that house rules conquer all. Feel free to twist and turn the rules to your own personal preferences.
Who is Kan Jam for
Kan Jam started in the 1990s when the founders, Charles and Mitch, threw frisbees at a banged-up garbage can. Ever since then, Kan Jam has become a great pick for a party game.
Kan Jam is for anyone who wants to have fun at a get-together, bring the family closer, or spend quality time with those you enjoy being around. There’s no age limit and anyone who can toss a frisbee can give Kan Jam a go. It’s often played on college campuses, at the park, on beaches, in gymnasiums, and in plenty of yards.
Are Kan Jam accessories necessary?
Kan Jam does have some packages that are sold with optional accessories. Sometimes it’s an extra disc, sometimes another Kan, and sometimes the accessory is having an American red, white, and blue-themed set.
But the most common accessory (and the one that most people ask about) is the glow-in-the-dark add-on. If you decide to go with the glow, you’ll get two Kans, a frisbee with an attached LED light, and LED lights that you can put inside Kans to light them up from the outside. These lights can change colors and come with a remote to turn them on/off or to change the intensity of the light.
If you have a history of wanting to play party games at night, this can be a fun addition to a Kan Jam set but it’s not for everyone. If you have a glow-in-the-dark frisbee and portable lights that have some kick to them (two high-powered flashlights work fine), then you have all that you need to make your own nighttime version of Kan Jam.
All in all, the nighttime set can be a fun addition but isn’t required to enjoy the game.
Kan Jam variations
If throwing a frisbee at a glorified garbage can and turning it into a team sport doesn’t sound fun enough for you, there are a couple of variations of Kan Jam that may scratch your particular itch.
For the Mini or Splash set, you can try using a ping pong ball instead of a disc for a more intense game. The same rules can apply for Dingers, Deuces, Buckets, and Instant Wins, but hitting the ball midair will be more challenging.
If you have the full-size Kan Jam set and a football, you can play something like an actual football game between the two Kans. Each time a player throws the ball and hits the Kan, it’s 1 point. Any time a player throws the ball into the top of the Kan, it’s 3 points. There’s an official version of this called Kan Jam Hardcount, but the rules are a little more complex than necessary.
If you are playing a football-ish version of Kan Jam, feel free to mix and match the rules how you like them. Institute a no-tackling rule or a rule that the ball-carrier has to be tackled. Go nuts.
If you’d like to see an actual video of Kan Jam Hardcount being played to give you some ideas, here ya go:
Frequently Asked Questions
How easily can I store my Kan Jam set?
Storage for Kan Jam is easy. The disc is the same size as a frisbee and both Kan’s ship as flat sheets of plastic that fold into a circle. Kans can be disassembled back into a flat sheet of plastic for storage or transport.
Can we play Kan Jam on the beach?
Yes! Kan Jam can be played anywhere that you can set Kans down.
How can we make Kans more stable?
There are official rules regarding Kans falling, so they aren’t supposed to be anchored down, but we think the game is a little more fun when Kans aren’t falling. Here are some tactics you might want to try:
• Drive stakes into the ground in a triangle shape on the inside of the Kan. One stake should be on the same side as the slot and the two other stakes should be on sides opposite of each other. Make sure these stakes are about a foot out of the ground; the objective is to stop the Kan from tipping over.
• Drill holes on two opposite sides of Kans to drive a U spike into the ground.
• Make a cross-section of duct tape on the inside of Kans. If you look at Kan from the top, the duct tape should form an X shape. Place rocks on this cross-section to weigh Kans down. You could also consider placing a small child on the X to weigh Kans down, but this sounds like a bad idea, like microwaving a spoon.
What is the best way to keep score?
Kan Jam gets asked this question a lot, so they made an app to solve this problem. It’s available on Android and Apple. We downloaded and tested the app out for this Kan Jam review and it’s easy to use with no detectable bugs. You can pick who threw last on which team and add or subtract 1-3 points.
If you don’t want to use an app to keep score (sometimes the point of an outside game is to get away from our phones!) then the options are pretty open: call out scores after every toss, count in sign language, use cave art. Just make sure it’s not your notorious-for-number-fudging uncle keeping score.
Can all ages play Kan Jam?
Kan Jam is designed with all age groups in mind. As the video above mentioned, you can see eight-year-olds or eighty-year-olds playing and having a good time. All that’s needed is the ability to throw a frisbee and have a good time.
What are the dimensions of assembled Kan jam objects?
Original: The frisbee is 11 inches across and Kans is 20 inches tall, 12 inches across.
Mini: The frisbee is 4 inches across and Kans is 9.125 inches tall, 5.75 inches across.
Splash: The frisbee is 4 inches across and Kans is 8.7 inches tall, 6.3 inches across.
When unassembled, Kans are flat sheets of plastic, so storage is easy regardless of the assembled sizes above.
The Kan Jam brand
Kan Jam is proud of being a USA-based company since its founding. All of their manufacturing is done in the USA, storage is located in the USA, and their team members can all be found waving the banner of Uncle Sam. The idea for Kan Jam started in the 1990s when the founders were throwing frisbees at trash cans, but the game itself has only been around since 2006.
Since its foundation, Kan Jam is sold in over 12,000 retail locations around the USA, 23 countries in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
If you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted, and sometimes crazy game to play outside, Kan Jam is a good fit for you. It allows several people to spend time together, grow bonds, and have fun outdoors.