games cne

35 games at the CNE ranked from easiest to hardest

35 games at the CNE ranked from easiest to hardest

The CNE brings with it an unholy display of food, fun, and family activities. No fair is complete without the midway game; a realization of risk management and expected value in exchange for a plush toy and the pride of winning.

Picking the right game to play can mean an afternoon of happiness while choosing the wrong one can result in a blow to your confidence and a waste of money. The secret? Picking the right game for you to win while having fun.

Here's the unofficial list of games at the CNE in Toronto ranked from easiest to hardest.

cne games

Name: Duck Pond
  • Cost: $3
  • Chances of Winning: Definite. This is the participation trophy of games- everyone wins.
  • How to Play: Just pick up a duck. The bottom dictates the prize.
  • Secret to Winning: Don’t just pick up the duck swimming by. Pick a duck that truly speaks to you.

cne games

Name: Hamster
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: High
  • How to Play: Gamers lob a ball into a hole placed suspiciously close to the crotch of a large human-size hamster.
  • Secret to Winning: Don’t let yourself be distracted by the placement of the hole.

cne games

Name: Axe Throwing
  • Cost: $5 for 3 throws
  • Chances of Winning: Very good.
  • How to Play: Throw a plush axe at a Velcro wall with the goal of hitting (or getting close to) the target.
  • Secret to Winning: It’s not a real axe, so don’t put a lot of spin on it.

cne games

Name: Hoop Shots
  • Cost: $5 for 3 shots
  • Chances of Winning: On the higher side.
  • How to Play: Players try to sink baskets, thankfully without the pressure of Drake cheering them on.
  • Secret to Winning: It’s not the same as a court, so adjust your moves and your expectations.
cne gamesName: Beer Pong
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Quite high
  • How to Play: Sink two balls in a row into red solo cups from a few feet back.
  • Secret to Winning: Hit the Mac and Cheeserie first to trigger your muscle memory from the college days to ensure a win.

cne games

Name: Funball
  • Cost: 50 cents
  • Chances of Winning: Pretty good.
  • How to Play: Throw a ball into a table with tons of holes in it. If it lands into a colored hole, you win the prize that corresponds to the colour.
  • Secret to Winning: Don’t throw too hard or too high- a gentle lob will do best.

cne games

Name: ExtravaCANza
  • Cost: $3 for 1 can
  • Chances of Winning: Pretty high.
  • How to Play: Players use a magnetized fishing pole to attempt to lift up empty soda cans.
  • Secret to Winning: Be patient and move on the slower side.

cne games

Name: Whac-A-Mole
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of winning: On the easier side of middle
  • How to Play: With the mallet, players must hit moles as they pop through the holes in the booth faster than all the other players.
  • Secret to Winning: Invite your vegetarian friends to play. They will hesitate to hit the adorable moles before remembering they’re fake.

cne games

Name: Water Race
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Good
  • How to Play: Players compete against each other in a water gun race. Physical avatars are moved by the force of each players’ water gun hitting their target. The players who finishes first, wins.
  • Secret to Winning: A good grip on the watergun and steady aim means you’ll be in first place.

cne games

Name: Over Under
  • Cost: $1 minimum bet, $5 dollar max
  • Chances of Winning: High for a gambling game
  • How to Play: People bet on whether the number the wheel lands on will be over seven, under seven or right on. Players who are correct double their money (for over or under) or for the gamers who choose to bet right on seven, they triple it.
  • Secret to Winning: Bet on your choice, and then also bet on seven. Your chances of winning are more than 50%.

cne games

Name: Skee Ball
  • Cost: $1 for five balls
  • Chances of Winning: Good
  • How to Play: It’s Skee ball! You roll a ball up a lane and aim to get it in specific circles.
  • Secret to Winning: Use control when rolling the ball.

cne games

Name: Plate Smash
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Good.
  • How to Play: Throw a baseball at a wall of plates and smash one to win.
  • Secret to Winning: Use good aim and channel Juan Guzman circa 1993.

cne games

Name:Balloons
  • Cost: $3 for one dart
  • Chances of Winning: Not awful.
  • How to Play: Players throw a dart at a wall of balloons. Pop a balloon and win a prize.
  • Secret to Winning: Hold the dart like a pencil in elementary, and wield it like an insult from an elementary school bully.

cne games

Name: One in Wins
  • Cost: $5 for 2 balls
  • Chances of Winning: Doable
  • How to Play: Throw a ball into a milk can to win a prize.
  • Secret to Winning: Don’t throw too hard or it will bounce around.

cne games

Name: Beer Smash
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: It’s a maybe
  • How to Play: With a baseball, smash two bottles lined up on a wall back to back to win a prize.
  • Secret to Winning: Don’t celebrate or choke after you’ve done it once- this one takes two to win.

cne games

Name: Add Up Darts
  • Cost: $5 for three darts
  • Chances of Winning: They average out to medium (the game is hard but players practice their math skills which is a win itself).
  • How to Play: Players throw darts at a board divided into squares with numbers on them. The sum of the numbers you hit dictate whether you win a prize (less than nine and more than 14 win) and what the prize is.
  • Secret to Winning: Use a steady hand and try to get the sum of your numbers to either 3 or 18- those have the biggest prizes.

cne games

Name: Shoot Out
  • Cost: $5 for 100 BB gun bullets
  • Chances of Winning: Moderate
  • How to Play: Players buy bullets for BB guns and have to hit a slip of paper as the target. If you’d shoot out the red star in the middle of the target paper, you win a prize
  • Secret to Winning: Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter

cne games

Name: Bowler Roller
  • Cost: 25 cents
  • Chances of winning: Middle of the road
  • How to Play: Players roll a bowling ball up a little wire lane with two hills in the wire. The goal is to go over the first little hill but not the second so the ball stays in the middle of the two humps.
  • Secret to Winning: The right amount of push (somewhere between a tap and swinging the door shut after a minor disagreement) gets the ball right where it should be.

cne games

Name: Ghost Blaster
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of winning: Possible but not guaranteed
  • How to Play: Players sit at different seats with guns loaded with little balls pointed at eight targets. You have to knock down your eight targets with balls before anyone else does.
  • Secret to Winning: Make every ball count. One missed ball could mean the difference between victory and humiliating defeat.

cne games

Name: Monkey Business
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Slightly on the harder side.
  • How to Play: Players roll balls up a lane like Skee Ball, and the monkeys representing each player moves along according to how many balls sink into each hole. Different holes mean different speeds of advancing.
  • Secret to Winning: Play this game before you hit the cocktails as you’ll need to target specific holes to be successful.

cne games

Name: Nerf N Strike
  • Cost: $3 for one nerf bullet
  • Chances of Winning: A little challenging but not impossible
  • How to Play: Hit an empty soda can with a nerf gun shooting little nerf pellets.
  • Secret to Winning: Grow up with parents who let you use nerf guns. Alternatively, harbour a deep resentment for Diet Root Beer.

cne games

Name: Mr Frog
  • Cost: Two tries for $5.
  • Chances of Winning: Not so great
  • How to Play: The goal is to hit a jelloid frog from a catapult into a lilypad using a big mallet.
  • Secret to Winning: Check out the length of the cords that the mallets are on, and then use the one with the longest cord for more command of your instrument. Use a hard right or left angle, and then hit it as hard as you can.

cne games

Name: Bottle Up
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: On the tougher end
  • How to Play: Players have to loop a ring from a fishing net around the neck of an empty bottle that’s laying on its side, and lift it to stand up. The game is over when bottle falls off the table.
  • Secret to Winning: Much like chugging from a beer bottle, successful bottle lifters tend to do it all in one motion without hesitating.

cne games

Name: Birthday
  • Cost: $2
  • Chances of Winning: Weirdly, a little less than one in twelve because Christmas and New Years also have squares.
  • How to Play: Put money on your birthday month. The wheel spins, and if it hits your birthday month, you win a prize.
  • Secret to Winning: According to the authors of Freakonomics, being born earlier in the year gives children an advantage in school and sports. Even though this game is randomly distributed, I’ll still encourage people to be born in January and February for that reason.

cne games

Name: Ring-A-Bottle
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Low
  • How to Play: It’s ring toss! Toss a ring and try to land it on a bottle.
  • Secret to Winning: Shoot for the moon, even when you miss you’ll land among the stars (seriously, throw high and you’re more likely to get something).

cne games

Name: Crown and Anchor
  • Cost: $1 minimum bet, $5 dollar max
  • Chances of Winning: Low. This is straight up gambling with no skill involved.
  • How to Play: Players choose one of six symbols to put their money on, and if the wheel lands on your symbol, you win.
  • Secret to Winning: Have lady luck on your side.

cne games

Name: Hang Time
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Less good than you think.
  • How to Play: Players try to hang off a pull-up bar for two minutes. That’s it. That’s the game.
  • Secret to Winning: Have good upper body strength, or be willing to endure physical pain in exchange for a shoddily made stuffed animal.

cne games

Name: Bushel Baskets
  • Cost: $2 for 1 ball
  • Chance of Winning: Seems high but it’s not.
  • How to Play: Throw a ball into a bushel basket. If it stays in, you win.
  • Secret to Winning: This is deceptively hard and takes the right slow pitch to get it in and keep it in.

cne games

Name: Break and Run
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Depends on how much of a pool aficionado you are.
  • How to Play: At a pool table, players call a shot, and if successfully executed, they win a prize.
  • Secret to Winning: Only play this if you’re good at pool.

cne games

Name: Block Buster
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Harder than it looks
  • How to Play: Throw a baseball to try to knock three stacked blocks off a table.
  • Secret to Winning: Aim low for the base of the bottom blocks.

cne games

Name: Spinning Slots
  • Cost: $1 minimum bet, $5 dollar max
  • Chances of Winning: It’s gambling, so the house always wins.
  • How to Play: This is a deconstructed version of a slot. You can bet on certain symbols, and someone spins a bunch of arrows around a circle with symbols on the outside. If it points to your symbol, you win.
  • Secret to Winning: Just have fun and don’t get too invested.

cne games

Name: Rail Runner
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Pretty low
  • How to Play: This is an individual game consisting of a ball and thick wires you control via handles. Use two handles to get the ball to stay in the middle of a wire between two hills.
  • Secret to Winning: This one is extra hard because the ball is so small and unpredictable. Use a steady hand and your best fine motor skills to make it work.

cne games

Name: The Wizard
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Low.
  • How to Play: Hold a loop around a circular wire as it moves up and down. If the loop touches the wire, you lose, but if you make it to the bottom, you win a prize.
  • Secret to Winning: Move quickly and stay ahead of the curve to make it to the bottom before the wire does.

cne games

Name: Knock Em Over
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Not high
  • How to Play: Throw a ball and knock over bottles to win.
  • Secret to Winning: Don’t hold back. This is a game requires a strong throw.

cne games

Name: Gun Ball
  • Cost: $5
  • Chances of Winning: Impossible (“it’s evil,” said a young gentleman who had already spent spent $60.)
  • How to Play: A baseball hooks into a gun, and players have to shoot the baseball into three heavy cups. All cups have to be knocked over for a win.
  • Secret to Winning: The only secret is to walk away before your wallet is empty. Like the veggie burger, this one is addictive but impossible.

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