Root Beer Float Challenge

Root Beer Float Challenge

Designer: Brady Peterson, Tim Swindle
Publisher: Gray Matters Games | BGG Entry
2-8 players 30 min ages 8+ MSRP $25
Time to Teach/Learn: 2 minutes
Written by: Stephen Conway

You have come together to crown a new champion by assembling that most tasty treat – the root beer float! The ice cream, the soda, the straws and cherries are laid out and ready. Using these charming props, you will compete to complete a series of hilarious challenges – sometimes on your own, sometimes with a team, and sometimes head-to-head. Be the first to collect the right combination of ingredients and you’ll claim the crown!

Instead of a box, the game itself comes in a giant root beer can! The can is more than just a gimmick. It is actually an integral part of the game.

Inside the can are four sturdy straws, two cherries, and a large scoop of ice cream (a white plastic ball). These are the ingredients you’ll use to complete challenges.

There are three decks of challenge cards (solo, co-op, and head-to-head) and a 6-sided die. The backs of the cards are color coded and have one to three ingredients displayed. The die has sides that match the colors of the decks.

Last but not least is a deck of individual ingredient cards. These are the trophies you’ll collect for completing challenges.

The goal of the game is to collect the right set of ingredient cards to make a root beer float. You’ll need a can of root beer, some ice cream, a cherry, and a straw.

On your turn, you roll the die and draw a challenge card from the deck that matches the color you rolled.

If it’s a solo challenge, you’re on your own. If it’s head-to-head, pick a player to compete with. If it’s co-op, pick a partner to help.

The challenge cards are wacky and ridiculous. Each one will lay out what props you need to use and the goal you need to accomplish. Here’s a few examples:

Solo Challenge – Bounce the ice cream ball into the can from one straw length away.

Co-Op Challenge – One player balances two straws on the back of their hand. They must transfer the two straws to the back of their teammate’s hand. The straws cannot fall.

Head-to-Head Challenge – Players balance a cherry on their heads then walk ten paces forward and ten paces backward. The player who returns first (or goes the farthest) wins.

Give the challenge your best shot! Not every one will go your way and that’s ok! The game goes fast; you’ll get ‘em next time. And if you land upon a challenge that is beyond your capabilities, no problem, just pick a new one.

If you complete the challenge, you collect an ingredient card of your choice from the ones shown on the back of the card. In a co-op challenge your teammate gets one, too. In a head-to-head challenge, your opponent will collect one if you lose!

The first to collect the right ingredients for the root beer float wins the game.

Root Beer Challenge celebrates the joy of active, silly fun. It brings the spirit of the playground indoors. Each challenge is an event in and of itself – a mini-game that includes opportunities for little triumphs and laugh-out-loud disasters. The scale and the stakes are balanced such that the fun comes from the playing, from testing yourself against each silly challenge, whether you succeed or fail. In fact, the failures are often more fun, more hilarious, and more memorable!

Many years ago, the beloved founder of the Major Fun Award, Bernie DeKoven, wrote a book called Junkyard Sports. In it, he lays the foundation for over 75 different games using low or no cost found objects. Think of the made up games played at recess; games you assembled with rules to accommodate the equipment, time, and players you had on hand.

Root Beer Float Challenge carries a torch that was lit by Junkyard Sports. The game reminds us that this flavor of active silly fun is always available and can be created on the fly. It is not something we need to abandon or deny ourselves as “mature” adults. The door to play is never closed. Sometimes all we need is a small push to peek through and rediscover Major Fun.

December 2022

About Stephen Conway

Currently serving as Major Fun. I'm also a writer, filmmaker, game designer, podcaster, and host of The Spiel (

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