How to Play Kan Jam: Rules and Basic Gameplay Instructions

To the untrained eye, KanJam rules can make the whole game seem like little more than “throw a frisbee at a trash can.” Look a little closer, however, and you’ll soon find a challenging game that is every bit as unique as it is enjoyable.

Played in two teams of two, the goal is relatively straightforward:

Rack up points by taking a flying disc and jamming it into, or against, specially designed kan (hence the name). Rack up 21 points before the other team, and you win the game.

In today’s guide, we’ll show you exactly how to score those points, as well as outlining all of the KanJam dos and don’ts that you need to know about.

What is Kan Jam? 

Kan Jam Game Info image

Described as being “like horseshoes, only with flying discs,” KanJam follows the trend set by games like Fricket of taking the classic frisbee-throwing game and adding a creative twist to it.

Invented by friends Charles Sciandra and Paul Swisher, KanJam quickly took off in their native Buffalo, inspiring the two friends to take things to the next level by launching the KanJam company.

The duo sold their first KanJam set in 2005 and haven’t looked back since, with this one-of-a-kind game proving so popular that today players from across the globe meet to compete in the annual KanJam World Championships.

Of course, there’s no reason why you have to take your game to such competitive levels. Whether you’re looking for an alternative to games like Crossnet for your next day at the beach, or whether you’re simply curious to see what all of the fuss is about, here’s everything you need to know to learn how to play KanJam.

Number of Players Required: 4+. A competitive game requires 2 teams of 2 players each. More players could get involved in a winner-stays-on or knockout-tournament fashion.

Who can play it: All ages.

Difficulty: Medium

Main Objective: Get the flying disc to hit the kan or enter the kan in order to score points. The first team to reach exactly 21 points without going over wins the game.

Why we love it: It’s one of the more innovative games we’ve come across, adding a whole new competitive edge to classic flying-disc-based games while still proving easy enough to learn for kids and grown-ups of all ages.

Playing Kan Jam : What You’ll Need

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On the face of it, KanJam looks just like throwing a frisbee at a trash can. So, in theory, getting those items together should mean that you’re kitted out ready to play. Yet while that may work for a casual, ad-hoc game, real KanJam requires an actual KanJam set that has been purpose-made to ensure you really get maximum enjoyment from your game.

KanJam Original Disc Throwing Game
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These sets come complete with two specially designed, plastic targets that look like cans. These are your KanJam kans. They have a slot in the middle and a flying disc that has been specially designed to fit comfortably through that slot, a combination that is essential for bagging those all-important Instant Wins.

That’s pretty much all you need to get started, though you can buy additional KanJam discs in case you need a spare.

Setting Up Your Kan-Jam Game 

Official KanJam rules state that the two KanJam kans are spaced 50 feet apart, though if you’re a beginner -or if you simply don’t have the space- you can always place your kans closer together.

The game begins with both players from one team taking up a position behind each can. 

With that, you’re ready to commence play.

Kan Jam Rules and Gameplay

The game begins with the first player throwing the disc towards their partner’s can. The goal is to either hit that can or, failing that, make it so that their partner can deflect the disc and hit it into or against the kan.

The partner then throws the disc to the other player’s can with the same objective.

Both teams swap, and the game continues in this alternating fashion. 

An Example of Kan Jam Gameplay

If this sounds a little confusing, imagine that you have Player A and Player B on one team, and Player C and Player D on another.

The game begins with Player A throwing the disc towards Player B. Player B then throws to Player A.

The teams swap, and Player C throws to Player D before Player D throws to Player C. This goes on until one team reaches exactly 21 points or an Instant Win is scored.

Keeping Score in Kan Jam

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There are three ways to score points in KanJam:

  • A Dinger – (1 point): When you throw the disc and your partner deflects it so that it hits the can
  • Deuce – (2 points): When you throw the disc and hit the kan with no assistance from your partner.
  • Bucket – (3 points): When you throw the disc and your partner “jams” it directly into the kan.

The first team to score exactly 21 points wins the game, unless the disc is thrown and goes directly into the kan via the small slot at the front of the kan. When this happens, it’s known as an Instant Win. The game is over and whoever scored the Instant Win emerges victorious.

Kan-Jam Rules on Going Over 21 Points

Of course, there may be times when you accidentally score more points than you need to.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re on 20 points. You only need 1 point to win the game but you accidentally score a bucket instead of a dinger. That means you’ve scored two points too many.

In this scenario, your score would be reduced by the score for that last throw. So you’d now be on 17 instead of 20.

How to Play Kan Jam – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions About Kan Jam

Can You Use Your Feet in Kan Jam?

Although it’s much easier to use your hands, there’s nothing to stop you using your feet, legs, or any other part of your body. The official KanJam rules state that you can use anything you like as long as you avoid a “double-tap” (hitting the disc twice).

What Happens in the Event of a Tie?

Should both teams reach 21 points within the same number of rounds, the game goes into sudden death.

That means that the game would continue, and the first team to win an individual round would be the winner. So, for example, if both teams had 21 points, but then Team 1 scored a bucket and Team 2 landed a dinger, Team 2 would be the winners.

Popular Alternatives to Classic Kan Jam for Frisbee Fans

As a game so well known for its uniqueness, it’s no surprise that KanJam has already spawned its own innovative spin-offs that are every bit as creative as the original.

First up, there’s the KanJam marathon. In this variation, the ‘first-to-21’ rule is abandoned in favor of an iron-man approach in which the team with the most points at the end of a set time period wins the game. In this version, getting the disc through the slot at the front of the kan is worth 10 points rather than an instant win.

Finally, there’s KanJam Strike Jam, a game which has more in common with foursquare and spikeball, but still offers all of the excitement and exhilaration of classic KanJam.

For other fun outdoor party games for your next family barbeque or camping trip, be sure to check out Quoits rules.

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