Picture this: You and your friends are having drinks and talking in your living room. Now, do you really want them to be drinking and talking when they COULD be drinking and talking and leveling massive penalties against each other in the name of sportsmanship? That’s what I thought. Drinking games are the perfect way to break the ice at the beginning of the night or segue into deeper chats towards the end of the night. Whether you’re a big fan of high-energy shouty games or enjoy manipulating the rules to learn people’s ~secrets~ (ME), the following drinking game ideas could all be great ways to turn a simple night into a memory.
Every time I find myself wishing there were a low-key competitive element between me and my closest pals, I suddenly blank on every game I’ve ever heard about in my entire life. And because hastily typing “ideas for drinking games” into Google isn’t exactly the Party Vibe I like to harness, I’ve collected some of the most easily executed drinking games that require no more of you than a deck of cards and, of course, the ability to harangue your pals into some semblance of a circle.
1. Irish Poker
All you need for this game is a deck of cards and as many pals as you can peel away from a heated debate about the merits of Taylor Swift’s new album. Each player gets four cards laid facedown in front of them. The person to the left of the dealer has to guess whether their first card is black or red. If they guess right, they get to make any two people in the game drink. But if they guess wrong, they have to drink twice.
The guessing continues around the circle. For round two, players have to guess if their second card is higher or lower than their first and hand out four drinks to the circle (if they guessed correctly) or drink four drinks (if they guessed incorrectly).
For round three, players have to guess whether the number on the third card will be between the two cards already pulled or not, and drink or hand out six drinks depending on the result.
On the last card, players guess the suit. If they’re right, they hand out eight drinks and if they’re wrong they drink all eight.
2. The Cardboard Game
The cardboard game is a bit more free-wheeling, and it doesn’t require anything except—you guessed it—a piece of cardboard. Okay, and a sharpie and a quarter. But still, it’s pretty low maintenance. The cardboard can be a pizza box, a flattened cardboard box, or any other form as long as it’s at least about a foot and a half wide and you can write on it.
Players start by drawing circles anywhere on the cardboard and writing their names inside said circle. Then the first player flips a quarter onto the cardboard. If it lands on someone’s name, that person drinks. If it lands on unoccupied cardboard territory, the player draws a circle (whatever shape or size they want!) and writes a rule inside.
Players keep flipping the coin in turns, either landing on someone’s name, having to do whatever rule they land on, or making a new rule until the board is full. And then the fun really begins.
A couple of suggested rules to get the ball rolling:
- Player has to do an impression of the person across from them, and if the crowd determines it’s not good enough, they drink.
- Player has to swap one article of clothing with the person next to them.
- Player has to use a pickup line on the person across from them. The picker-upee decides whether the picker-upper has to drink based on the quality of the line.
- Player has to end every sentence with the word meow for the round. If they forget, they drink.
3. Friend Trivia
This one’s great for a friend group that’s known each other for a long time. Everyone gets three (or more) scraps of paper, and on each one they write a weird fact about themselves (or someone else present). All the scraps go into a bowl. The bowl then gets passed around the circle for every turn.
For each turn, a player pulls out a scrap, reads the piece of trivia, and after a count to three, everyone points to the person they think it’s about. Anyone who doesn’t get it right drinks, and if everyone does get it right, the person the trivia was about drinks.
4. King’s Cup (Also Known as Just Simply Kings)
There are a lot of variants to this game, but as I’m a firm believer that the best drinking games are the ones with the most potential to learn ~secrets~, I’m going to go ahead and stick with mine. The game starts with a deck of cards spread facedown in a circle around an unopened can of the beer/cider/spiked seltzer of your choice. Players take turns pulling cards and placing them under the tab of the can, slowly pushing the can open more and more with each card added under the tab. The person whose card finally opens the can has to drink it. Meanwhile, each card added has a different rule, so by the time the final card busts open the can, your group will have been playing with layers and layers of rules, making for a very messy (and very confusing) drinking game.
Here are the rules for each card:
- Ace: Waterfall. The person who drew the card starts drinking and the person to their left follows until the entire circle is drinking (like the wave, but more boozey). Nobody can stop drinking until the person to their right stops, starting with the person who pulled the card.
- 2: You. The person who drew the card gets to make someone else drink.
- 3: Me. The person who drew the card drinks.
- 4: Floor. The last player to put a hand on the floor drinks.
- 5: Guys. Guys drink.
- 6: Chicks. Ladies drink!
- 7: Heaven. The last person to point to the ceiling drinks.
- 8: Mate. Whoever drew the card gets to pick someone in the circle to be their mate. The mate has to drink anytime the card drawer drinks for the rest of the game.
- 9: Rhyme. The person who drew the card says a word, and players go around the circle trying to name rhymes for it. The first person to fail to come up with a rhyme drinks. If anyone tries a bullshit slant rhyme, it is absolutely necessary for the good of society to make them drink twice.
- 10: Categories. The person who drew the card names a category like “Disney Movies” or “US Presidents” (if they’re boring). The circle goes around naming things in that category until someone fails to come up with one. And if they fail, then they have to (you guessed it) drink!
- Jack: Never have I ever. Each player puts three fingers up and players go around in a circle saying things they’ve never, ever done. Anytime a player has, in fact, ever done the thing mentioned they must clap, drink, and put a finger down. The first person to put all 3 fingers down loses (at the game but probably not at life) and must drink.
- Queen: Question Master or Juicy Q. My friends have played this both ways, but more often we’ve played this card both ways at the same time. I’d recommend this combo. Whoever pulls a queen becomes the Question Master. Anyone who answers a question asked by the Question Master at any point during the game has to drink. We like to inaugurate the Question Master by having them ask a Juicy Q to the group—as in any deep, delving, or inappropriate question that everyone must answer. Pick and choose according to the vibes which rule (or both!) you’d like to play for this one!
- King: Make up a rule. Whoever picks up a king card gets to make a new rule for the game. Targeting heavily encouraged.
5. Fuck the Dealer
In Fuck the Dealer, there’s really only one loser, and you can probably already guess who that is. The game starts when everyone is seated in a circle and dealt one card—the player with the lowest ranking card becomes the dealer.
The dealer shuffles the deck and puts it in front of the group. The player on the dealer’s left guesses the value of the card on the top of the deck. The dealer checks and if the player is right, the dealer drinks four times. But if the guess is wrong, the dealer tells the guesser whether the card is lower or higher than their first guess.
Then the player guesses again. And if the second guess is correct, the dealer drinks twice. If the second guess is wrong, the player drinks the difference between their guess and the actual value of the card.
The same dealer then has the next player to the left guess the value of the new card on the top of the deck, and gameplay continues around the circle until you’re out of cards or, if you have any mercy at all, whenever the dealer starts looking very sad.