Everyone loves a good drinking game, this much is true. The very best of them tend to be drinking card games. Makes sense, who wouldn't want to revisit those old college memories of playing King's Cup? Or learn a new game by gathering (safely) with friends to play a drinking card game or two? With a bit of ingenuity, some of these games could even be played virtually; for example, you could designate a dealer in each house to make sure all the cards line up and are the same for each player. Sure, it's a little more complicated, but a good game with your buddies is worth it.
We've got the rules for some of our favorite drinking card games, below, along with some more elaborate ones you can buy online. Cheers!
Kings or King's Cup
King's Cup is, quite clearly, the king of the drinking games. This popular card game is a mainstay of college parties, especially with large groups, and always makes for a fun and entertaining time. If it’s been a while since you last played, here’s a refresher. To start, you’ll need a deck of cards, a cup, and your booze of choice. The players sit in a circle with the cup in the middle, taking turns picking a card from a shuffled pack. Each card has a designated action the player(s) must complete. Here’s the rundown of the actions for each card; note that there is usually more than one option for what the cards signify, so you may be used to a slightly different version:
Ace = Waterfalls. Starting with the person who drew the card, everyone starts drinking as the person to their left starts drinking, creating a “waterfall” effect around the table, and they can’t stop until the person on the left stops.
Two = You. The person who drew the card chooses someone else to drink.
Three = Me. The person who drew the card drinks.
Four = Floor. Everyone touches the floor; the last person to not touch the floor has to drink.
Five = Guys. All the guys in the circle drink.
Six = Chicks. All the women drink.
Seven = Heaven. Everyone points upward toward the ceiling (heaven), and the person who does it last has to drink.
Eight = Mate. Choose a drinking buddy; that person now has to drink every time you do, and you have to drink when they do. This lasts until either one of you draws eight again and chooses a new drinking buddy.
Nine = Rhyme. The person who drew the card says a word, and the person to their left has to come up with a word that rhymes. This continues around the circle until someone can’t find a rhyme. Then that person drinks.
Ten = Categories. Pick a category of things. For example, you might decide that everyone needs to list an NBA team. Starting with the person to your left, that person has to think of something in that category. This continues around the circle until someone can’t think of something in that category or the options have been exhausted; that person draws.
Jack = Never Have I Ever. All the players put up three fingers and, starting with the person who drew the card, name things they haven’t done, putting down fingers for things they have done. The first person out of fingers drinks.
Queen = Question Master. Whoever draws the Queen is the question master until someone else draws a queen. During their tenure as the question master, they can ask anyone a question anytime throughout the game. That person has to respond or drink.
King = Make a Rule. The person who draws this card makes a rule that everyone follows; anyone who doesn’t follow the rule has to drink. The perks of rulership, baby!
With simple gameplay and few rules, Beeramid makes for a fun, uncomplicated drinking game that anyone can learn or do. Using a tabletop, the dealer lays out shuffled cards in the shape of a pyramid, starting with seven on the bottom row (or as many as you want), six above that, and so on until reaching one. All the remaining cards are distributed to the players in even numbers so that everyone has the same amount. For ten seconds, all the players look at their cards and memorize them (or try to), and then they put their cards down.
The dealer then turns over the first card on the bottom row, and anyone who claims to have that card challenges another player to drink. That player has the option to either drink or call the original challenger’s bluff, as the challenger could be lying that they have the same card as the one that was turned over. If the person who is told to drink calls bluff, the challenger needs to reveal the card; if they don’t have it and lied, they drink twice, but if they did, the person who called their bluff drinks twice.
Screw The Dealer
If you have an interest in gambling, this is a fun one, as it’s all about guessing based on your knowledge of the card deck. All the players are dealt a card from a shuffled pack, and the player with the lowest card is the dealer, who re-collects the cards and reshuffles. The dealer then asks the person to their left to guess the card at the top of the deck. If the guess is right, the dealer has to take four sips of their drink. If the guess is wrong, the dealer gives the player another chance and gives them a clue by saying the card is higher or lower than the first guess.
If the second guess is still incorrect, that player has to drink the number of differences between the guess and the card. So for example, if the player guesses seven but the card is a five, the player takes two drinks. Sips, preferably, unless you want a very short game because everyone's too wasted to keep going.
If the second guess is correct, the turn moves to the next player. The dealer is only able to get out of their duties in the event that three players in a row can’t guess the cards correctly on either their first or second guesses, and the person to the left of the dealer takes over. The game continues until the deck is gone. Or the players are. Whichever happens first.
Another staple of college parties, this classic card game has been around forever and is always a hoot to play. All you need is a standard card deck and a fair-sized group of people. With the object of the game being to be the first to get rid of all your cards, all the players sit in a circle and are dealt an equal number of cards each. Starting with the person to the left of the dealer, the game starts with aces, and the starting player puts down one or more ace face down and says how many aces they’re putting down.
But this is where the bullsh-ting comes in: If the player doesn’t have the card they’re supposed to play, they still have to play a card but lie, saying that that card is, say, an ace. The key is to be as believable as possible so someone doesn’t doubt your play. If someone does doubt the play, they call “Bullsh*t” and check the card; if the person who called bull is right, the player has to have the number of drinks as the cards they put down (one card, one drink, and so on) and they get the cards back.
If the person who called bull is wrong, they take as many drinks as there are cards, and they get the cards and have to get rid of them later. Gameplay continues from aces through twos, threes, and so on, until a king is played. The round then starts over with aces and continues until a player discards their final card.
Across the Bridge
If you’re looking for a simple, no-fuss card game to play that doesn’t involve a lot of rules or setup and gets straight to the drinking, "Across The Bridge" is a great option. Ten cards from a shuffled pack are placed face down next to each other in a row, with the objective being that players will move across the row by flipping cards over. If the overturned card is a numbered card, the player can turn over another one. If the overturned card has a face (so jacks, queens, kings, or aces), the player has to take a drink, remove that card from the lineup, and add more cards to the end of the bridge, making the line longer.
Depending on the type of face card, there are different numbers of cards that need to be added: A jack is one card, a queen is two, a king is three, and an ace is four. The turn then passes clockwise, and the game proceeds until a player reaches the final card. At that point, all the other players drink.
If you're looking for something a little more commercial, whether playing on Zoom with faraway friends or with your buddies during a backyard barbecue, these are our picks for the best drinking card games to play this summer.
Cards Against Humanity Drinking Game
While not originally designed with drinking in mind, Cards Against Humanity was arguably the best new card game of the 2010s and became an instant classic. So naturally, a CAH drinking game had to come along. Following traditional CAH gameplay, the Card Czar draws a black card with a fill-in-the-blank statement. All the other players have to select a white card (which has different items, people, places, or concepts on it) that they feel best fits the black card’s statement.
The Card Czar picks the white card they think fits best and gives the black card to the person who played the winning white card, allowing them to accumulate black cards toward the win; the role of Card Czar can then rotate to a different player.
To incorporate the drinking game part, the Card Czar will actually select white cards for first, second, and third place, and the players who played those cards have to drink according to what place they got (one shot for first place, chug half a can of beer for second place, and chug a quarter of a can of beer for third).
There are many other add-on rules you can find online, but this simple addition keeps all the fun of CAH without overcomplicating things. Plus, CAH goes quickly, so there will be plenty of drinking to be done.
Is the night half over and you're pretty gone but still swear that you're totally sober? This game could prove you very wrong with its varied gameplay. There are 125 cards divided between five different categories: Activity, Skill, Curse, Secret, and Decree.
The Activities card lists an action you have to perform, like having a staring contest with another player in which the first one to blink drinks. Skills give you a power or ability that you can use over the other players, like saying that whoever is using their phone has to drink. Curse is a challenge that will make the game more difficult, like having to go two rounds with one eye closed; if you mess up, you drink.
Secret cards come with secret instructions that you can give to different players; the secret message could be something like “Bail me out!” if there is an instruction you don’t want to do. Decree cards give the player who drew the card the ability to make a decree that applies to everyone, like having to drink with pinkies out, and whoever forgets or doesn’t do it has to drink. Each player takes a turn, and at the end of the game, whoever has had the smallest number of drinks is the winner.
This drinking card game is definitely for adults and those with a lewd sense of humor; it’s quite NSFW, so it makes for a ton of fun at adults-only parties. There are 180 cards, each with prompts and questions that either just the specific player or everyone has to follow.
Each player takes a turn drawing a card from the top of the pack and reading out the query on the back of it, and then either they or everyone has to drink if the question applies to them. For example, if you ever “studied abroad in Europe and it totally changed your life” or “if you think pineapple is an acceptable topping for pizza,” you drink. There are tons of fun questions, and as the game (and drinking) progresses, there are bound to be plenty of funny, revelatory moments.
Under the Influence
Under The Influence’s no-holds-barred card prompts are guaranteed to ensure some wild times. The 200 cards are divided into four categories: Who’s Who, Under The Influence, Shots No Chaser, and Brain Benders.
Each category has different questions, challenges, prompts, or instructions that the player(s) have to follow; they can be as tame as a truth-or-dare questions or something more risqué, like daring a player to take off an article of clothing (if they don’t, they have to drink). Depending on the vibe of the party, you can remove the more extreme challenges, but if you’re really looking for a crazy time that you’ll remember (hazily), leave them in.
With easy-to-follow gameplay that everyone can learn quickly — even those who have already had a few drinks by now — Last Call combines elements of other classic games like Do or Dare and drinking challenges. The cards are divided into four categories. In Call Out, the person drawing the card picks the person who best fits the question or prompts on the card, who then
In the Last Place category, all the players complete a challenge, and the loser drinks. Finally, in Last Who, the person who last did the action on the card (like calling their grandparents)
Drunk gibberish is truly a language all its own, and we've all had that experience of either trying to understand what our totally sloshed friends are saying or attempting to be understood ourselves. Incohearent turns that challenge into a game, with the players trying to guess the drunken gibberish words and sentences. The cards feature two sides, with a nonsense phrase on one side and the answer on the other.
Each player takes turns being the judge and timing the others with the included hourglass. After flipping the timer, the judge holds up the card so only they can see the answer but the group can see the nonsense phrase, and whoever guesses the phrase correctly wins the card. The turn ends when either the timer runs out or three cards have been deciphered, and then the turn moves to the next player. While drinking is not explicitly a part of the game, it can be fun to play this game while already drunk to make figuring out the gibberish more difficult (or easy?).
These Cards Will Get You Drunk
With over a hundred cards featuring tons of hilarious prompts and suggestions, These Cards Will Get You Drunk is sure to turn that casual hangout into a night to remember (or probably not). Suitable for two to eight players, the turns pass counterclockwise, with the person whose turn it is drawing a card.
There are a variety of card categories, such as Vote, in which the group votes on who best fits the prompt as well as specifying who has to drink, and Compete, which has questions or challenges that the player or the whole group has to do.
Truth or Drink
This stylish Kickstarter-funded card game is actually five card games in one! Inside each pack are five different sets of cards, which are divided up by the type of gameplay you want. Want a light-hearted Q&A game for a friendly couples game night? Happy Hour and On The Rocks feature straight-laced but fun questions that are appropriate for a general audience.
If you want something a bit NSFW for a party, break out Extra Dirty for some devilish questions. Someone doesn't want to answer the question, no matter how tame? Drink! There's always the option to combine packs as well.
What, are you too scared? Are you chicken? Bawk bawk bawk! You'll find out if you're chicken or not with this adult version of the classic chicken game. A player draws a "Dare" card that they can then either complete or chicken out of. If they complete the dare, they get to pick a GOAT reward card.
Players try to collect the most GOAT cards to win the title of Greatest of all Time, or GOAT. But if a player doesn't do the dare? They have to pick a "Chicken" card and drink according to the instructions on the card.
Beer Pressure brings fun prompts to the fore as you and your pals tie one on. While silly, most are pretty up to speed and involve everything from swapping shirts and guessing who's the most likely to fall for a pyramid scheme to speculating about which friend is best suited to host a podcast.
It's fun, sometimes wonderfully simple (the "shotgun a beer" card is effective) and creates a climate of interaction, funny reveals, and plenty of opportunities to sip that Old Fashioned cocktail or fresh-hop IPA.
Time to celebrate the summer by embracing your inner wild child with your nearest and dearest and some (or all!) of these incredibly fun games. If you need a nudge, here are some great seasonal cocktail recipes. Just remember to do it responsibly!
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