You Can Rent These Giant Lawn Games for Your Next BBQ

A Portland-based designer crafts oversize games for the people.

By Sylvia Randall-Muñoz May 10, 2016

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Ladderball. Massive, multicolored "stacking blocks." A four foot tall "frisbee four" board. You've probably played them all under their, er, traditional names, but because of trademark restrictions, Recreation Department keeps it strictly descriptive. 

The Recreation Department began to crystallize over a year ago, when founder Simon Yuen, a product designer and custom fabricator, made large dry erase board easels to play Pictionary at parties. That one idea grew into “a huge arsenal of games for my friends” as Cornhole and Ladder Ball joined his creations. Yuen even constructed a beer can target range to complement his roommate’s Nerf gun collection. 

The artful handmade lawn games were a hit among his friends. So in August 2015, he launched the Recreation Department’s website to give everyone a chance to play. Anyone can rent the games for $75–$125 for a 12–hour period, depending on the game, with discounts for longer rentals.

 “I’m literally making fun," gushes Yuen. "It’s so gratifying.” 

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So far, Yuen says weddings are his main occasion thus far. ("There’s nothing worse than a boring wedding.”) The "Stacking Blocks" are the ultimate crowd pleaser, with Cornhole pulling a close second. While Yuen launched the Recreation Department magnifying these classic games, he hopes to develop his own games in the future. Currently, he is at work crafting an ancient Nordic game called Kubb, nicknamed Viking Chess.

"You have two opposing teams, and each team has a series of dowels that you throw to knock over the other team’s large wooden blocks," explains Yuen. "I just thought, who doesn’t like throwing wooden things?” 

He adds, "These are simple games that you can play with your kids or while you’re drinking with friends. Because it’s fun."

Visit for more info.

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