If you and your friend(s) enjoy playing sport, having a bet and abusing one another, it doesn't get any better than the Poor Man's Olympics.
While the IOC version is the domain of doped-up supermen, the Poor Man's Olympics allows real people, with nothing more than caffeine, alcohol and baked beans in their system, to get their competitive juices flowing.
Firstly, you'll need to pick a program. You can choose as many activities as you like, whether darts, snooker, mini-golf, ten pin bowling, soccer penalties, basketball free throws, pétanque, board games or cards. As long as a score can be kept, it can be included.
Secondly, you'll have to figure out how, exactly, your scoring system is going to work. Logically, each event should be of equal value – in other words, the doyen of darts should receive the same reward as the prince of penalties. However, is it to be winner takes all, or will a graduated points system apply? The former has the virtue of simplicity, as it involves nothing more than tallying how many events each competitor wins. The latter is more complicated, because any points awarded to the loser of a particular event will need to be calculated based on how he does in relation to the winner. So, if the free throws king automatically picks up 10 points, and if the loser happens to have sunk 83% as many shots as him, he will receive 83% as many points, or 8.3.
Thirdly, you'll need to decide how much time to devote to each event. If you want your Poor Man's Olympics to be brief, just do one game of darts, one game of snooker, etc. However, if you want to turn it in to a contest so epic that it will probably outlast both your marriages, you can play 180 holes of mini-golf, first to 1000 penalties, best of 101 games of snooker, etc. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and expected lifespan.
Fourthly, you'll have to agree on what spoils are to await the victor. One option is to bestow a prize on the overall champion, like a trophy or a case of beer. Another is to attach a financial value to each point – say, $1 – meaning that if Tom beats Dick by 23 points, he finishes up $23 richer. It's also worth remembering that this competition is designed for side bets. "I've got a six-pack that says you can't sink that putt, Dicky boy."
And that leads on to the most important part of any Poor Man's Olympics: trash talking. It's not the winning, it's the winning whilst belittling your friend that counts. God knows, if he becomes the eventual champion you're never going to hear the end of it (especially if the whole thing takes several decades from go to whoa), so you might as well get your retaliation in first. Old favourites include questioning his parentage and discussing what you and his wife got up to last night.