KanJam (sometimes spelled kanjam or Kan-Jam) is a flying disc game, played with a flying disc and two cans in which you deflect the disc. The KanJam company is based in western New York.
KanJam was created in the 1980s by Charles Sciandra and Paul Swisher in Buffalo, New York, originally being called “Garbage Can Frisbee”. The game was started just by the two friends messing around, and throwing a disc into a can. The game was mostly played locally in the Buffalo area until the mid 1990s, when Sciandra and Swisher established a company. The developers sought a patent for the concept but ran into problems distinguishing it from other pre-existing games—most notably the game of Tiddlywinks—although this obstacle was overcome through the introduction of the “instant win” feature. After several years of development, a patent was granted and KanJam went on sale in 2005.
Sales started after the developers were able to sell the game to schools in North Tonawanda, the district in which Swisher works as a science teacher, as part of their physical education program. In 2006, Swisher sold his share to Mitchel Rubin. Sciandra and Rubin reorganized the company and founded Kan Jam LLC, made the game more retail- and user-friendly, and began selling games from their basement. By 2007, approximately 14,000 units were sold. They moved their operation to a larger facility.
Kan Jam is now played in all 50 states, across Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, across Europe and many other countries around the world.
Variations of the original game include Kan Jam Mini and Kan Jam Splash. Kan Jam Mini is designed to be played indoors or out, on table tops, the floor and anywhere it fits. The Kan Jam Mini has a smaller goal and disc than the original game. Kan Jam Splash is designed to be played in water and has a buoyant base. The Kan Jam Splash also has a smaller sized goal and disc.
The object of the game is to score points by throwing and deflecting the flying disc and hitting or entering the goal. The game ends when a team scores exactly 21 points or “chogs” the disc for an instant win. Players must get exactly 21, if you go over it reverts back to 17 points.
A coin toss or similar procedure is used to determine which team goes first. The game is broken up into turns, with an equal number of turns for each team. However, this does not apply in the case of an instant win. The goals (“kans”) are spaced approximately 50 feet apart. A team consists of two people each standing at opposing ends of the playing field. One player throws the disk, while the other acts as the “deflector,” who is free to move anywhere, unlike the thrower, but the deflector may not catch, carry, or double hit the disc. The original deflector then throws the disc back to the original thrower from his end in order to score, and then the next team takes their turn.
No points are awarded if the thrower goes over the line, or if the disc hits the ground before reaching the goal. Three points are awarded to the attacking team if the opposition 1 points, respectively.
Points are awarded for a Dinger, when the flying disc is deflected by your partner into the side of the kan (1 point), a Deuce (a.k.a. “direct hit” or “direct”), when the flying disc hits the side of the kan without help from the deflector (2 points), or a Bucket, when the flying disc is deflected through the top or into the front slot (3 points). In addition, when a player throws the disc into the middle of the kan through the front slot or the top without help from the deflector, he scores a “chog” for an instant win.
The game is over when a team scores exactly 21 points – if a team scores more than 21 after a turn, then the score returns to 17 points. In the event of a tie, each team has one more turn and the winner is the team that scores the most points. A team must achieve an exact score of 21 points to win, and teams must complete an equal number of turns (except when an Instant Win is scored).
There are two official KanJam Tournaments, the World Championship, and the Klassic. The Klassic has been played every year since 2004, the World Championship since 1990. The World Championship is held in North Tonawanda, NY, on the 2nd Saturday of August. Notable teams include Dorkus Malorkus, who have won four championships and four Klassics, Rebel Survivors who have won three championships and three Klassics, and Sole Survivors who have won three championships and two Klassics. 2014’s championship was won by “Stallion Survivors”.