Top 10: Drinking Games

Drinking games are a great way to socialize, laugh and generally have a good time. There are classic drinking games of skill or inquiry and also games tied to pop culture. The most important thing is to have fun, but set your rules ahead of time; there might be too much silliness later to make such decisions. For example, do players take a sip or a full shot for each drink? That decision might depend on the type of alcohol involved.


Here are 10 fun drinking games, including well-known games, pop-culture ones and a couple that might look new:

10. Quarters

One of the classics, Quarters basically involves bouncing a quarter into a glass. The size of the glass is up to you, but the skill involved can become shaky as the game progresses, and increasing or decreasing the glass size as you go could make it more fun.

The game works best on a hard table to enable better bouncing ability, but challenge yourself with a different surface if you’re up for it. When a player gets the coin into the glass, he or she chooses someone else to take a drink. Each player keeps shooting quarters until there’s a miss, and then the next player takes a turn.

9. I Never

Another classic, I Never is a way to get to know people or to embarrass them completely. The game requires honesty, so don’t play if you’re not willing to reveal the darker side of your personal history.

To start, make a statement about an experience. You might say, “I never took a cross-country trip.” That’s pretty tame, but anyone who has driven cross-country would take a drink. The statements can get rather personal and will likely become more so the more people drink. One benefit is that no explanations are required, which keeps a bit of mystery intact; drinking and not drinking are the only revelations needed.

8. Buzz

This game requires math, and you’ve been warned. It begins easily enough with each player counting a number in turn. However, whenever a number is divisible by seven, the player needs to say buzz instead of the number. If the person doesn’t say buzz at the right time; says it at the wrong time; or hesitates more than a few seconds, he or she must take a drink. The next person either continues counting or starts over with a goal of seeing how far the group can go without missing.

7. Name Game

Decide ahead of time whether to use real names, fictitious names or both. The first player says a famous person’s full name. The next player must say another famous name that begins with the first letter of the previous person’s last name. For instance, if you choose to name only political figures, Barack Obama might lead to Orrin Hatch, which might lead to Hillary Clinton, which might lead to Clarence Thomas and so on. You could also use actors or characters from movies, television or books.If a player makes a mistake or takes too long to answer, that player takes a drink. If a famous name starts with the same letter for both the first and last names, reverse the order of the game to challenge those who’ve already had a turn.


6. Flip, Sip or Strip

This one could get a little risqué. You can decide how far to go with the stripping; just make sure you won’t get arrested for public indecency. The game itself is simple: Flip a coin and guess whether it will land on heads or tails. If you’re correct, the player on your right takes the next turn; if you’re wrong, the player on your left is next, and you must either take a drink or remove a piece of clothing as payment for the error. The only other rule is that you can’t pick the same action more than twice in a row, so tune up your psychic powers if you don’t want to end up in your underwear.

5. Up the River, Down the River

You’ll need a deck of cards and a playing surface for this game, which is marginally like Texas Hold’em poker without the betting or the skill. Use beer or wine for this game as consumption can be pretty high. Pick a dealer or take turns acting as the dealer for different rounds.First, deal three cards to each player, turning them face-up for everyone to see. Then deal one central card for the group. Any player with a card of the same value takes a drink. The dealer then reveals a second card, going “up the river.” Players who match the second card’s value take two drinks. Matching a third card calls for three drinks.Next, the dealer goes “down the river.” This time, if someone matches the first card, he or she tells someone else to take a drink. Designating another person continues with two drinks for the second card and three for the third card. The dealer continues up and down the river until the deck is gone.

4. Thumper

Players sit in a circle and choose hand gestures to represent themselves. They can be clean, including thumbs-up or patting your head, or they can be dirty. You decide how far that goes, but everyone needs to learn everyone else’s gestures. The first player makes their particular gesture and then follows it with someone else’s gesture. That person then repeats their own gesture and follows it with another’s.When someone misses a cue; takes too long in choosing a follow-up motion; or performs a gesture that doesn’t belong to anyone, that person must take a drink. He or she also begins the next round. Vary the game by shortening the time allowed or by playing in slow motion.

3. Six Cups

You’ll need a few supplies for this and an adventurous spirit. First, gather six cups, such as plastic cups, mugs, shot-glasses, paper cups or any other type. Place them in a line and either number the cups or put numbered sticky notes on them. Next, pick the alcohol you want to use. You might want to choose beer or wine since there can be quite a bit of drinking; mixed drinks could also work.The first player roles a single die and then pours alcohol into the corresponding cup; set rules about how much to pour or leave it to the individual. The next player roles the die with two possible outcomes. If the number matches an empty cup, the player pours alcohol; if the number matches a cup that already has a drink in it, the player must drink. Set the rules in advance regarding when to stop.

2. Scattergories

With this skill-based game, players sit in a circle and someone chooses a topic. Examples include European countries, state capitals, car models, rock musicians, 1970s movies and so on. While going around the circle, each person names something in the category within a short time limit. Anyone who can’t answer takes a drink.A player can also lie if they can’t think of anything on-topic. If the next player calls them on it, the person who gave the wrong answer takes a drink. If the next person doesn’t catch the lie but the following one does, then the player who missed the lie takes a drink; no one else may call out a lie.

Repeats require a drink as do claims of lies when the answer was correct. Pick a set number of rounds to play for each category or change categories when a given number of misses occur in a row.

1. Game of Thrones

This works with any television show where character or story elements appear repeatedly. These games are the most fun in viewing parties, but if you’re drowning your sorrows some night, go for it on your own. The basic idea is to take a drink with every repetition. This can involve either celebrating or mocking; both are fun. For “Game of Thrones,” a few examples might include taking a drink whenever:

  • Tyrion takes a drink.
  • Someone calls Jaime the Kingslayer.
  • Hodor says his name.
  • Female nudity is shown.
  • Male nudity is shown; drink twice for this less-common occurrence.
  • Sansa says something naïve.
  • Someone comments on Tyrion’s size.
  • The dragons appear.
  • Daenerys proclaims her right to the throne.
  • Aria does something awesome.
  • There is a betrayal of some kind.

Set the rules early, perhaps choosing just a few elements each week. That way, anyone who drinks incorrectly has to take an additional drink. The game can apply to broadcasts or DVD viewings.

Drinking games are great icebreakers, but as always, be smart about it. Don’t drive, and don’t go beyond what you know is your own capacity. If hard liquor makes you too drunk, stick to beer or wine.

Otherwise, have fun!