The ultimate drinking game guide

This guide gives step-by-step instructions to (nearly) every drinking game you can think of.

The ultimate drinking game guide

Ultimate drinking game guide contents

International drinking game rules

Drinking games for two: Roxanne, Last name game

Easy drinking games: 21s, Fuzzy duck, I have never...

Card game drinking games: Ring of Fire, Ride the Bus, F%k the dealer*

Team drinking games: Beer pong, Boat race, Flip Cup

TV drinking games: * Downton Abbey drinking game, Question Time drinking game

Our ultimate guide will tell you everything you’ve ever needed to know about some of the most popular drinking games around. Whether you need to brush up on some of the finer points or if you’re hearing about them for the first time, we’ve left no drinking game stone unturned.

A drinking game is intended to break the ice and help you have a good time, which - providing you’re clever about it - we guarantee you will. It is, however, vital that you know your limits and don’t push yourself too far. Safety first, kids.

Drinking games are also a great way to save the pennies and still enjoy those back-to-uni nights out if you’re feeling that hard-pushed for January funds after splashing a load of cash at Christmas. Beat those January blues with a good old pre-drinking session!

All that’s left to do is make sure the fridge is well stocked, print off our ultimate drinking game guide, and let the good times roll...

International drinking game rules

Drinking games are too easy - trust us, they are. Once you’ve played something a few times you’ll quickly get your head around it, and where’s the fun in being good at a drinking game?!

To give you something else to think about we suggest that while playing any of the following drinking games you and your chums follow international drinking game rules. These are a set of rules compiled over centuries by drinkers from ever corner of the globe (sort of...). They can differ from town to town, and you’re welcome to introduce your own, but here are the constants that will make your evenings that little bit less memorable...

You can’t say names - You can’t call anyone by their first name, surname, or commonly used nicknames. Only new nicknames or variations of ‘Oi! You!’ are allowed.

No pointing - You can’t use your finger to point at anyone or anything - to point you must used your elbow or a clenched fist.

You can’t say ‘drink’ - The word ‘drink’, or any variation (drinking/drunk/drinks/drinking game) are off limits.

You can’t say ‘finger’ - You’ll be similarly punished for saying ‘finger’.

Left-hand drinking only - Anyone caught drinking with their right hand while the rules are in place can expect a forfeit.

No swearing - Pretty self explanatory, keep it clean folks!

No false accusation - Karma is a wonderful thing - if you accuse someone else of breaking the rules and it turns out they haven’t you’ll wish you’d kept your mouth shut.

Breaking any of these rules will normally result in you having to drink two-fingers worth of your drink - ermm, we mean... consuming two-digits worth of your beverage.

Drinking games for two


Sting and co. surely can’t have predicted that their 1978 single would be so popular over three decades after it was released - and if they did, they probably didn’t think it would be the soundtrack to student drinking game debauchery the world over...

1) Download/stream (or whatever else it is you do) the Police classic, Roxanne.

2) Turn up the volume to 11 and press play. Sit down if you can.

3) Person A: Whenever you hear the word ‘Roxanne’, stand up and drink.

4) Person B: Whenever you hear the words ‘red light’, stand up and drink.

5) Play again, but swap words this time, to make it fair...

Of course, if there are more than two of you the drinking game still works - simply split the group evenly between ‘Roxanne’ and ‘red light’.

Last name game

Simple enough, and can be played with anything from two to... well, as many people as you like. This is definitely one of the most infuriating games on our list - you’ll be screaming ‘THERE ARE NO MORE FAMOUS PEOPLE BEGINNING WITH M’ in no time.

1) Person A: Name ANY famous person in the whole world. Note: For the purposes of this drinking game only real people are allowed - no fictional characters.

2) Person B: You must name someone whose first name begins with the same letter as the previous person’s surname. For example, if person A has said Johnny Depp, you have to name someone whose name starts with a ‘D’, such as David Beckham. Person A then has to name someone whose name begins with a ‘B’, and so on.

3) The rule is ‘drink while you think’, so the more time you take to come up with an answer, the more you drink.

If you play this with more than two people, go around in a circle. As an additional rule you can change direction whenever anyone names someone whose first name and surname begin with the same letter, Janet Jackson for example.

Easy drinking games


How hard can it be to count to 21? Actually, surprisingly difficult when you consider this drinking game...

1) First player elects the direction e.g. '1 to my left..'

2) Players then continue counting. If anyone says two numbers ('3,4') the game changes direction, if someone says three ('5,6,7') then it carries on in the same direction but skips a player.

3) Anyone who screws up, drinks.

4) Whoever ends up as '21' also has to drink (although to be honest, it very rarely gets that far).

Fuzzy duck

We’ve filed this one under ‘easy drinking games’ because it’s easy to teach - however in practice you’ll soon find it’s not quite so simple.

1) Everyone sits in a circle. The first person says 'fuzzy duck' to the person on the left.

2) This phrase is passed on around the circle. Each player can either repeat 'fuzzy duck' to the person on their left or ask 'does he?' to the person on their right, in which case the drinking game changes direction.

3) When the game switches direction the phrase is changed to 'ducky fuzz', continuing until someone once again says 'does he?' and it changes back to ‘fuzzy duck’.

4) Anyone who messes up has to drink. Speed is key to this drinking game, so a player who fumbles or breaks the rhythm has to pay the penalty!

I have never...

An excellent ice breaker for your first week at uni - though there is such a thing as giving away too much too soon. You’ll find out all your friends’ deepest, darkest secrets (and almost certainly reveal your own in the process)

1) Going round in a circle, each player takes it in turn to say 'I have never...' followed by something they haven't done (the more scandalous the better).

2) Anyone who has done whatever activity is named has to drink. That's pretty much it - the fun of this drinking game is in what you discover.

Card drinking games

Ring of Fire

Quite simply, the king of all drinking games. Made even better with a harmonica and the ability to play Johnny Cash. Rules vary per player but here are the Ring of Fire drinking game rules:

1) Arrange a pack of cards in a small circle around a pint glass, all face down.

2) Sit in a circle around the cards. Take it in turns to pick a card, making sure you don't break the circle (if you do, you must immediately down your drink).

3) For each card, there is a corresponding action. There are many variations on these suggestions and sometimes it’s even funnier to make up your own. Here are our faves:

2 for you - Nominate somebody else to drink two finger.

3 for me - Drink three fingers,

4 to the floor - Whoever gets this card has to get on the floor as soon as possible (if you don’t have enough room, just put your hand on the floor). As soon as someone else notices, they do the same. The last person to realise what’s going on has to drink.

5 Waterfall - Fill your drinks up, then everyone in the circle starts drinking at the same time. The person who picked the card can continue drinking for as long as they want, but the second person cannot stop drinking until they have, the third person cannot stop until the second has and so on.

6 Chicks - Girls drink

7 dicks - Guys drink (no it doesn’t rhyme like the other one).

8 for a mate - Nominate someone to drink with you.

9 Bust a rhyme - Whoever picks the card must say a phrase. The next person then says a phrase that rhymes and so on until someone screws up. They then have to drink.

10 Chinny - If someone turns over a 10, everyone else must scramble to the nearest wall and place their chin on it. The person who turns over then card then judges who was last and that person has to drink.

Jack Thumb Master - An oldy but a goody: The person who turns over a Jack becomes Thumb Master until someone turns another Jack over from the ring. At any point during the drinking game, the Thumb Master can put his thumb on the table or his/her forehead. Everyone else must follow, and the last person to realise has to drink.

Dancing Queen - This works in the same way that Thumb Master does, except the Dancing Queen, er, dances. Once the Dancing Queen starts up his/her favourite moves, everyone must follow and the last person to do so drinks.

King's cup - The first three people to pick up a King add some of their drink (whatever it is) to the cup in the middle - the fourth person drinks it.

Ace off your face - Down it!

Ride the Bus

This drinking game will probably get you inappropriately wasted. In fact, you should probably just skip this one altogether...

1) Get as many people as you can to play. Make a pretty pyramid of cards, placing one card in the first row, two in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth. Deal out the rest of the cards to everyone involved in the drinking game.

2) The dealer then flips over the card in the first row. The people who have that same card place it down anywhere and nominates someone of their choice to drink. If you have more than one card of that number, you can nominate two people, etc.

3) The dealer continues this down the rows, increasing the amount of drinks people are able to nominate, relating to the number of the row.

4) Once you reach the end of the pyramid, the player with the most cards left in their hand ‘rides the bus’...

5) … 10 cards are dealt face down in a line. The person riding the bus must flip one over. If it’s numbered 2-10 they are allowed to flip the next card. If they turn over a Jack, they must take one drink and add one card to the line. If it’s a queen they must take two drinks and add two cards and so on (turning over an Ace requires four drinks and four more cards).

6) The drinking game ends when the pile of cards has completely gone.

Fk the dealerNot literally. This is basically like 'Higher or Lower', but far more interesting...1)One person, The Dealer, shuffles a deck of cards and places it down in front of them. They then pick up the top card and the first player (the person on their left) must try and guess the number on it.2)If the player guesses correctly, The Dealer must drink. If they are incorrect, The Dealer tells them whether the actual number is higher or lower than their answer.3)The first player then guesses again. If they get it right, The Dealer drinks, but if they get it wrong, the player drinks and the guessing passes on to the next person (repeating the same process). Used cards are placed face up for everyone to see and grouped according to number - this means it gradually gets easier and easier to guess what's left in the pack.4)In order for the role of The Dealer to be passed on, two players in a row must guess the card incorrectly. The deck is then passed on to the next person in the circle.5)Play continues until all the cards are gone. By this time most people have been The Dealer, so essentially everyone is fked.

Team drinking games

Beer pong

A U.S. classic drinking game that will test your ball skills as well as your alcohol endurance. Great drinking game for four or more players.

1) Divide into 2 teams and position yourselves at opposite ends of a table, each group with 6 -10 plastic cups of beer in a triangle in front of them.

2) Each player from team A throws a ping pong ball at the opponents’ cups. They can throw the balls at the same time or take turns, it’s up to them. If either ball lands in one of the opposition’s cups, a player from the rival team must down the contents.

3) If both balls land in the same cup, the throwing team automatically wins (so if you’re receiving, as soon as one ball lands in a cup remove that cup ASAP to stop this from happening).

4) When receiving, you can swipe balls away as long as they have bounced first (bouncing a ball into a cup means a two cup punishment rather than just one).

5) As cups are emptied, those that remain can be re-positioned so they're closer together.

6) The losing team is the first one to finish all their beer. As a punishment, they must then drink everything left in the winning team's cups as well.

To vary the drinking game, you can work from low to high percentage drinks, or have an array of beer and other drinks in each contest.

You can get those iconic red cups from (and if you quote when you pay you get 10% more cups with every order).

Boat race

Great if you and your friends fancy competing against someone else - such as a rival halls of residence or sports team. Each team must be even with at least 4 people per group.

1) Each team stand in a line, one behind the other. Everyone holds a pint.

2) One the word 'Go', the first person must drink their pint as quickly as possible. As soon as they finish, they must put the glass on their head and the next person starts drinking.

3) Each member of the team must wait until the person in front of them has finished drinking before they can start. The winning team is the first one to finish.

Flip Cup

Flip Cup is messy. You will spill beer so do not play if you are precious about your table or floor. This drinking game came from New Jersey so is probably meant to be played using those cool red paper cups that people use at frat parties in American films. But boring plastic ones will do too. You’ll also need a relatively long table and two teams of at least six people.

1) Divide the number of players evenly between two teams and line up along opposite sides of the table.

2) Place a cup in front of each player and fill about a third of the cups with beer.

3) First two people on each team downs their beer.

4) As soon as the cup is empty, the player puts it face up on the edge of the table. Using one hand, they must flip the cup until it lands on the table, face down.

5) When this is done, the next player in the team starts the process again.

6) The first team to flip all their cups is the winner of the drinking game!

TV drinking games

Downtown Abbey drinking game

The rules, courtesy of Asylum:

Drink two fingers whenever The Dowager Countess offers a pithy one-liner.

Down your drink whenever someone from Corrie or Emmerdale turns up in the show.

Drink one finger whenever someone you’re watching with complains about the Aviva adverts.

Drink two fingers whenever Cybil pouts.

Drink two fingers whenever O’Brian looks like she’s thinking about mouth ulcers.

Down your drink whenever someone you’re watching with recognises Hugh Boneville from Notting Hill.

Drink one finger whenever Matthew Crawley looks unconvincing in an army uniform.

Drink one finger whenever someone you’re watching with asks who Lady Edith Crawley is.

Drink one finger whenever someone in the show cries.

Drink whenever a piece of new technology is referenced.

Question Time drinking game

Drinking goes POLITICAL. The Question Time drinking game makes you realise just how repetitive the programme is. And needless to say, David Dimbleby is a particular inspiration for this one...

Drink when David Dimbleby attempts to crack a joke.

Drink when David Dimbleby confuses the gender of a questioner from the audience.

Drink when David Dimbleby says: ‘I'm afraid that's all we've got time for’.

Drink when a contributor uses the phrase ‘political correctness gone mad’.

Drink when a government panellist informs the audience that they ‘don't really understand what we're trying to do’.

Drink every time a minister blames anything on ‘the mess Labour left us in’.

Drink when David Dimbleby says: ‘If you'd like to follow us on Twitter, here's our hashtag’.

Drink when someone says: ‘We're all in this together’.

Drink when someone says: ‘we all have to tighten our belts’.

[Image: AdsitAdventures]

[Image: ccarlstead]

[Image: wolfsavard]


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