Drinking games are a sacred and fundamental human activity. Whether you’re breaking the ice with strangers or having fun with friends, when an evening involves drinking, a good drinking game always helps to grease the wheels.
Of course, most of the best board games can become drinking games with little effort – just add alcohol. But this works far better with some titles than with others. When you’re on the wrong side of tipsy, you don’t want everyone to be sloshing pints around expensive boards and struggling with tiny miniatures. No, when you’re becoming too pissed to pilot your counter-filled control deck, and far too muddled to read through a multi-page rulebook, what you need is simple, silly entertainment.
We’ve gathered ten games that fit the bill here, from well-known drinking game classics to hidden gems well worth giving a shot (and then downing it). There are also some titles you might have enjoyed sober before, which will quickly become drinking game staples once you’ve tried mixing them with booze. We’ve got it all in this list: games to get you drinking, and others to enjoy once the merriment is well underway.
So make sure you’re above the legal drinking age where you are, then crack a bottle, read on, and bottoms up!
These are the best drinking games out there:
- Beer Pong
- One More Drink
- Flip Cup
- Game of Thrones Risk
- Exploding Kittens
Kicking things off with one from the Drinking Game Hall of Fame, Beer Pong has a little bit of everything. Skill. Drama. Spectacle. We’ve all enjoyed this game before, and that’s because it’s super solid and requires virtually no setup. You just need a ping pong ball, a bunch of plastic cups standing in two groups, some beer to fill them with, and away you go.
At any party, there’s always two people who think they’re Beer Pong pros
Bounce the ball and sink your shot into a beer, your opponent drinks. They land theirs, you drink. Beer Pong is always a hit because, at any given party, no matter the size, there’s always at least two people who reckon themselves Beer Pong pros, and will be itching to prove their prowess the second they get a glimpse of those distinctive shiny red cups. It’s also a drinking game where everyone gets worse as the night goes on, and hand-eye coordination steadily goes out the window, which is always a laugh. Sometimes you can’t beat the classics!
One More Drink
One of the finest examples we’ve found of ‘that common kind of drinking game with dares or challenges on cards’, One More Drink manages to strike a delicate balance.
It isn’t so tame that you’d be happy to play it with your parents, but’ at the same time’ it’s not so ‘edgy’ that it actually becomes unpleasant or offensive. That already puts it above a vast number of titles in its genre – but One More Drink also scores points for variety.
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There are some cards that ask questions; some that give straightforward instructions; and some that challenge you with tasks you would never perform sober, like “sing a song with a drink in your mouth, spit it back into your glass to save for later if no one can guess it”. Ew.
With 300 different cards in total, One More Drink should keep you going till everyone at the table is nice and buzzed.
One More Drink One More Drink $12.99 buy now Network N earns commission from qualifying purchases via Amazon Associates and other programs.
Everyone knows that drunk people have the best reflexes, so a game like Dobble (sold as ‘Spot It!’ in the USA), which requires sharp eyes and sharper reactions, is just the thing to bust out when you’re enjoying a beverage.
Dobble’s chaotic, noisy race lends itself perfectly to a drinking game
Each of Dobble’s 55 unique, circular cards shares one, but only one, symbol with every other card in the game. Don’t ask how this works; the answer, presumably, is witchcraft. Five quick party games within the Dobble tin all centre around spotting matching symbols – it’s a little like Snap, except fun. Each one a chaotic and noisy race, it’s not hard to think of ways to turn all of Dobble’s variants into a great drinking game. Perhaps the most suitable is Hot Potato, where one player (the loser) is left holding everyone’s cards at the end of each round. Guess who’s downing their glass…
Spot It! – A Dobble Game Spot It! – A Dobble Game $12.99 buy now Network N earns commission from qualifying purchases via Amazon Associates and other programs.
When your group can’t agree on what to play, Drink-A-Palooza is there to say ‘yes’ to everyone. An all-in-one drinking game kit, in Drink-A-Palooza players progress around a Monopoly-style board, playing different games based on where they land. You earn miniature beer bottles for each victory, and the first to fill their ‘six pack’ wins.
As for the games themselves, Drink-A-Palooza might not be breaking new ground, but it has all your old favourites. From King’s Cup (Ring of Fire) to Screw the Dealer, Quarters to Flip Cup, pretty much every drinking game you encountered at university is represented here.
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The only downside is that the cups you need for a couple of the rounds aren’t included.
Other than that, this is the perfect facilitator for a night of drinking games, preventing any of them from getting stale too quickly. It’s a great solution to an age-old problem which can kill an evening before it truly gets going: choice.
Drink-A-Palooza Drink-A-Palooza $49.99 $35.00 buy now Network N earns commission from qualifying purchases via Amazon Associates and other programs.
This bluffing game was originally played using beer mats, or so the story goes, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that Skull makes for the perfect pub play experience.
Skull is simple, but try it and you’ll find subtle brilliance here
It helps that it’s super easy to learn, and to teach. Players each have a set of four cards: one skull and three flowers. They take it in turns to place one of their cards face down in front of them, and, at any point, someone can start bidding, stating the number of flowers they think they can find before they uncover a skull. Whoever wins the bid must then prove they can cash the cheque their mouth has written, beginning with their own cards. Succeed and you’re halfway to winning; fail and you lose a card permanently. And that’s basically all there is to it. It’s so straightforward that, at first, it can be hard to see the game in Skull at all, but give it a try and you’ll discover it’s subtly brilliant, full of canny bluffing and tense risk-taking.
It only gets better with a little Dutch courage, as players proceed to get drunker and their swaggering bravado increases. It’s also child’s play to turn Skull into a drinking game (though children, obviously, should not). Simply drink whenever you hit a Skull, and make everyone else drink when you successfully complete a round.
Skull – Party Game Skull – Party Game $22.63 buy now Network N earns commission from qualifying purchases via Amazon Associates and other programs.
How lucky were you when they were handing out Dexterity scores? The classic drinking game of Flip Cup is the best way to find out.
The rules are straightforward, simply down your drink as quickly as possible, place your cup on the edge of the table and hit its base as many times as it takes in order to ‘flip’ it and have it land, balancing, face down. Then move onto the next one – the first to complete a whole row of cups is the winner.
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Unless you’re planning on drinking an ungodly amount (or only pour a little alcohol into each cup) Flip Cup works best as a team game, played as a relay race.
This multiplies the excitement and also the stress of the race, as your teammates cheer you on or (more probably) belittle you and your lack of flipping talent.
Drinking games are often funny (or at least many make that claim) but often they lean too heavily on shock value. Few are as packed with actual hilarity as Blau.
Blau. is literally the perfect icebreaker game
The concept is extremely straightforward: each card in this game’s 60-card deck contains a unique task or ruling which determines who has to drink. Some of these are one-time actions: “Prepare to take a selfie, count down from three, whoever isn’t in the picture must drink.” Whereas others persist for a whole round and drinking is the penalty for forgetting: “Everyone must repeat the last word of every sentence twice twice.” All of them are unique, creative, and designed to produce silly situations.
Blau. is the perfect icebreaker game. Hot tip – it’s best experienced gradually, uncovering a new card every so often while you chat. That way the rules stick around for far longer, and you don’t blast through the deck too fast.
Game of Thrones Risk
It turns out a strategy board game can actually be just the thing to play when drinking. It just has to be simple, universally known, and not so expensive that you’re scared to bring it out when there’s an increased risk of spillage at the table.
Risk is the answer on all counts. Do your best incompetent, drunken general impression as you nudge little plastic troops towards one another, get increasingly frustrated at dice rolls, and openly plot against your friends.
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The Game of Thrones edition of Risk is particularly good for the purpose – based on the ill-fated HBO series, it gives the opportunity to invent your own ending. As well as lovely pieces sporting the symbols of five of the setting’s factions, this variant features ports, which open up the map, preventing bottlenecks and turtling.
We recommend the Skirmish edition, which sticks fairly close to the gameplay of the original. The Deluxe version adds castles, currency, and character cards, but that’ll seem far too much of a hassle after your second or third pint.
Risk: Game of Thrones Risk: Game of Thrones $99.99 buy now Network N earns commission from qualifying purchases via Amazon Associates and other programs.
The creators of Precarious have found a clever way to add some additional excitement to a classic drinking game archetype – replacing the cards dictating who must drink with a teetering tower of terror.
Players can either accept a humiliating forfeit card or attempt to slide a block from the tower and place it on top. These blocks each have an instruction on them, designed to get everyone downing their drinks. You also get four shot glasses in the box, so that’s a nice little bonus.
Regular Jenga’s pretty tricky when you’re stone-cold sober, so it’s not likely to be long before someone sends the blocks crashing down. Better hope it’s not you, though – there’s a price to pay for toppling the Precarious tower.
A light party game that mixes well with alcohol, Exploding Kittens is a variant of Russian roulette with fire-breathing felines.
Players each take turns drawing a single card from the central deck. If they uncover one of the titular exploding kittens they are out (and must drink, if you’re playing with drinking game rules).
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However, there are plenty of ways to dodge a demise caused by combustible cat – such as the potent Defuse cards, which let you slip Exploding Kittens back into the deck anywhere you choose. Other special cards let players glimpse what’s coming up in the deck, skip their turn, force other players to draw multiple times, and all sorts of other shenanigans.
Exploding Kittens is great fun and super simple. The rules are all explained on the cards so, as long as you can see straight, you can’t go wrong. If that’s no longer the case, it’s probably high time you turned in for the night anyway. Wargamer says: please drink (and game) responsibly.
Exploding Kittens Exploding Kittens $19.82 buy now Network N earns commission from qualifying purchases via Amazon Associates and other programs.