Set up the ladders to face each other five paces (ten steps) apart. This will result in ladders that are approximately 30 feet apart for adults and are correspondingly closer for children of different ages. Ladder toss may be played on any reasonable smooth surface such as concrete, gravel, sand or grass.
Number of Players
Ladder toss is normally played with either two or four people. If two people are playing both people take one set of three bolos and meet at one ladder. If four people are playing it is done with two teams of two people each. One person from each team is at each ladder, with the two players at one ladder having the bolos. The person with the biggest nose, or the ugliest person or perhaps the person that calls a coin toss goes first. It doesn't make much difference.
Throwing the Bolos
One person tosses his bolos, one at a time, at the opposite ladder using an underhand tossing motion while staying behind the ladder closest to him. The other person follows the same method until all the bolos have been thrown. If using two players the players then walk to the other ladder and repeat the procedure; if teams are used the second player from each team tosses the bolos back. The last player to score a point throws first or, in the case of no points having been scored, the person or team that threw the first bolo. The objective is to wrap one of your bolos around one of the rungs of the ladder and stay on the ladder until the last bolo is thrown for that round. A common tactic is throw your own bolo in such a way that it knocks your opponents bolo off of the ladder so that it doesn't score.Scoring
Bolos that finish a round still on the ladder count 3 points if on the top rung, 2 points on the center rung and 1 point if on the bottom rung. Bolos that bounce off the ground and end up staying on the ladder count as appropriate points. Two bolos from opposing teams sharing a rung cancel each other out with no points being scored for either one.
Example 1: Player A throws his bolos in such a way that he has one bolo on each rung. At this time he has 3+2+1 = 6 points, though he can't count them yet. Player B bounces one bolo off the ground and onto the bottom rung with her other two wrapping around the center rung. Player A now has three points as his bolos on the bottom and center rungs have been canceled out. Player B has 2 points as her bolo on the bottom rung and one of the ones on the center rung cancel out the bolos from player A, leaving her with one bolo on the center rung.
Example 2: Player A again throws his bolos ending with one bolo on each rung. Player B throws two bolos that miss entirely, but the third one knocks off player A's bolo on the top rung and then falls to the second rung. Player A gets 1 point for the bolo on the bottom rung and player B gets no points as her one bolo on the ladder is used to cancel the bolo from player A that has remained on the second rung.Winning
Points are scored until one player gets exactly 21 points. Note that both players must complete their throws each time before the score can be calculated - even if player A has 21 points player B may be able to nullify some of them with her throw.
If a player goes over 21 points their score is dropped back to 10 points and they must continue to play and try again to get exactly 21 points.
Example 1: Player A has 18 points and throws a bolo onto each of the top and middle rungs. Player B notes that he now has 23 points and, throwing all her bolos at once, somehow manages to only reach halfway to the ladder with them. She gets no points, but player A is now reduced from 18 points to 10 points.
Example 2: Player A has 19 points and throws a bolo onto the top rung with the other two missing the ladder. Player B throws one bolo that strikes player A's bolo and knocks it to the second rung - her other two bolos go astray. Player A gets two points and instead of going back to 10 points again has won the game.
Ladder toss is one of more interesting family games to be developed in the last few years. Have fun with yours and enjoy!