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Beer pong is a common physical drinking game.
Drinking games are games which involve the drinking of alcoholic beverages. People have been playing drinking games since ancient times. Currently, they are most popular among college students. One consequence of this popularity is that drinking games have been banned at some American universities.


Ancient Greece

According to Rupert Thompson of the University of Cambridgemarker, the earliest reference to drinking games in Western literature is from Plato's Symposium The Drinking Party. The game was simple: fill a bowl with wine, drink it, slap it, and pass it on to the next person. Kottabos is one of the earliest known drinking games from ancient Greece, dated to the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Players would use dregs to hit targets across the room with their wine. Often, there were special prizes and penalties for one's performance in the game.

Ancient China

Drinking games were enjoyed in ancient Chinamarker, usually incorporating the use of dice or verbal exchange of riddles. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Chinese used a silver canister where written lots could be drawn that designated which player had to drink and specifically how much; for example, from 1, 5, 7, or 10 measures of drink that the youngest player, or the last player to join the game, or the most talkative player, or the host, or the player with the greatest alcohol tolerance, etc. had to drink There were even drinking game referee officials, including a 'registrar of the rules' who knew all the rules to the game, a 'registrar of the horn' who tossed a silver flag down on calling out second offenses, and a 'governor' who decided one's third call of offense. These referees were used mainly for maintaining order (as drinking games often became rowdy) and for reviewing faults that could be punished with a player drinking a penalty cup. If a guest was considered a 'coward' for dropping out of the game, he could be branded as a 'deserter' and not invited back to further drinking bouts. There was another game where little puppets and dolls dressed as western foreigners with blue eyes (Iranian peoples) were set up and when one fell over, the person it pointed to had to empty his cup of wine.

Types of games

Bonging is popular among college students.


The simplest drinking games are endurance games in which players compete to out-drink each other. Players take turns taking shots, and the last person standing is the winner. Some games have rules involving the "cascade", "fountain" or "waterfall", which encourages each player to drink constantly from their cup so long as the player before him does not stop drinking. Such games can also favor speed over quantity, in which case players race to drink a beer the fastest. One such game is called wizard sticks.

Tolerance games are simply about seeing which player can last the longest. It can be as simple as two people matching each other drink for drink until one of the participants "passes out". Power hour and its variant, centurion, fall under this category.


Many pub or bar games involve competitive drinking for speed and not necessarily for the quantity consumed. The object of these games may not be inebriation, but may simply involve "bragging rights" or wagers of cash which benefit the fastest drinker. Examples of such drinking games are Edward Fortyhands, boat races, case races, Tour De Franzia, beer bonging, shotgunning, flip cup(a team-based speed game), and yard. The trick to speed drinking is opening the throat.

World records

The Guinness Book of Records began to list world records for speed drinking in this category in the early 1960s. These early drinking records involved drinking beer from challenging vessels such as the yard of ale glass, which, if not correctly mastered, resulted in the user receiving a blast of beer in his or her face. The 1969 edition of the Guinness Book lists The Broom (age 20) as having consumed a 2.5 pint yard of ale in 6.5 seconds on December 17, 1964. The 1974 edition lists Jack Boyle, age 52, of Barrow-in-Furnessmarker as having consumed a 3 pint yard of ale in 10.15 seconds on May 14, 1971. In the mid 1970s, Guinness began to list speed records achieved using any drinking vessel. The 1977 edition dropped the earlier records established by Hill and Boyle, and listed a 2.5 pint yard record by the RAF at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshiremarker in 5.0 seconds and a three pint yard record established at Corby Town F.C. on January 23, 1976 in 5.5 seconds". The 1977 edition listed the new world record established at the Gingerbreadman Pub by Steven Petrosino, (age 25) of New Cumberland, Pennsylvaniamarker on June 22, 1977. Petrosino drank 1 litre of beer in 1.3 seconds.Petrosino approached the challenge scientifically, and used two specially designed half-litre drinking vessels to establish this world beer record. The 1977 edition also lists Peter G. Dowdeswell of Earls Bartonmarker for drinking two pints of beer from a single vessel in 2.3 seconds on June 11, 1975 and two litres in 6.0 seconds on 7 February 1975. These records were all dropped from the Guinness book in 1991 due to concerns about litigation.

Competitive Skill Games

Some party and pub games centre the doing of a particular act of skill, rather than on either the amount a participant drinks or the speed with which they do so. Noteable examples include quarters, chandeliers, and their variant, Jayred. To some extent, the focus of the players on doing the act of skill, rather than simply drinking, means that these games could be played for a longer time without participants getting significantly intoxicated.

These games, however, do not allow the participants to choose how much they drink, as this is dependent on the act of skill. This means that the drinking will necessarily be distributed unevenly between players, depending on the how skilled the players are at the act that is the basis of the game. This is especially true of the game Jayred, in which good players will barely drink, while bad players will get quite intoxicated, quite quickly.


Thinking games rely on the players' powers of observation, recollection, logic and articulation. Such games are not difficult at the onset, but become much more challenging as the game continues as players become inebriated and their coordination and memory deteriorate.

Numerous types of thinking games exist, including 21, beer checkers, bizz buzz, buffalo, bullshit, tourettes, matchboxes, never have I ever, roman numerals, fuzzy duck, pennying, and zoom schwartz profigliano. Trivia games, such as Trivial Pursuit, are sometimes played as drinking games.


Several games involve a skill such as scoring a ping-pong or darts. Players must have good aim throughout the entire game, even as they become increasingly inebriated. Examples of these games include beer pong, caps, pong, and beer darts.

Card and dice

Kings is played with cards.
Several popular drinking games involving cards are asshole, fuck the dealer, Idalgo ,horserace, Kings, liar's poker, pyramid, bloody knuckles, Ring of Fire, and ride the bus.

Dice games include beer die, dudo, kinito, kranen, liar's dice, Mexico, mia, pounce!, ship, captain, and crew, tablero da Gucci, and three man.


Film drinking games are played while watching a movie (sometimes a TV show or a sporting event) and have a set of rules for who drinks when and how much based on on-screen events and dialogue. The rules may be the same for all players, or alternatively players may each be assigned rules related to particular characters. The rules are designed so that rarer events require larger drinks. Rule sets for such games are usually arbitrary and local, although they are sometimes published by fan clubs.

Matching the characters in the film Withnail and I has become an accepted drinking game, although the levels of consumption required for a single player are hazardous.


Rock and pop music tracks can also be used as a basis for drinking games, Roxanne by The Police being one example. Another popular song that can be used is Thunderstruck by AC/DC.

Sporting Events

Sport related drinking games involve the participants each selecting a scenario of the game resulting their drink being downed. Examples of this include participants each picking a footballer in a game. Should this player score or sent off a drink must be taking, or extreme versions include a drink for every touch a player takes of the ball. Multiple players may also be selected.

Video Game

Drink while playing a video game.Example: NCAA Football drink every first down, score, sack, and turnover. Another example would be for driving games in which case the contestants drink the number of shots of the position they placed (1st place takes 1 shot, 2nd takes 2, etc.). Many students prefer to play this game while racing in Mario Kart and have called the drinking game D.U.I. because of the connotation.




  • Benn, Charles (2002). China's Golden Age: Everyday Life in the Tang Dynasty. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517665-0.
  • Schafer, Edward H. (1963). The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A study of T’ang Exotics. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles. 1st paperback edition: 1985. ISBN 0-520-05462-8.

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