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College Drinking Games

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Heavy drinking has increased among young adults, particularly at colleges. For many college students, heavy alcohol use often occurs while playing drinking games. Between 47% and 62% of college students participate in these games. The games are considered good ice-breakers and are sometimes used to reduce social anxiety and get to know people at parties.

Drinking games typically involve a set of rules designed to ensure a large consumption of alcohol. These games commonly take place at parties and bars. The objective is usually to drink competitively for speed or to win via others becoming drunk. The games are often designed in a way that being inebriated significantly increases the fun.

There are many popular drinking games. They fall under several categories:

  • Endurance games – The simplest drinking games are endurance games in which players compete to out-drink each other. Players take turns drinking and the last person standing is the usually the winner. These games may also favor speed over quantity, in which case players race to drink a beer the fastest.
  • “Loser buys” games – These are games played where whoever loses must buy the next round of drinks for all other players.
  • Movie games – Typically, in these games there is a specified list of rules for which a person has to drink to, and with a specified number of drinks (anytime someone in Star Wars says the word the force, take a drink). Typically, for events that happen quite often, you drink once, as the events occur less and less, you drink more and more per occurrence. These games can also be used during sporting events and TV shows.
  • Speed games – Many bar games involve competitive drinking for speed, not necessarily the quantity consumed. The object of these games may not be drunkenness, but simply “bragging rights” or betting that benefit the fastest drinker.
  • Thinking games – These 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 players become inebriated and their coordination and memory deteriorate. Numerous types of thinking games exist. In memory games, each player must repeat a series of events and add to it. When a player forgets, he or she must take a drink. Observation games require drinking when some trigger occurs. This trigger is often based on the group of drinkers, a major sporting or news event, or popular movies, TV shows, or books (all players watching a show must drink when a character speaks a catch phrase or a commonly repeated action).
  • Coordination games – These games involve players performing certain skills that become more difficult as the level of intoxication increases.
  • Card games -Several popular drinking games involve playing card games.
  • Dice games – Several popular drinking games involve shaking dice
  • Tolerance games – Tolerance games are about seeing which player can last the longest. It can be as simple as going shot for shot until one person passes out.

Researchers studying drinking games found that participants in such games report increased levels of drinking and drinking-related problems compared to non-players. Alcohol prevention experts say the games do sometimes lead to alcohol poisoning and drunken-driving incidents, and may increase the chance of a woman being sexually assaulted. 44% of men who played said that they did so to sexually manipulate other players. 20% said they had done things after playing a drinking game that could be defined as sexual assault. When you play drinking games, you’re not really in charge of how much you drink. Your drinking is at the whim of other players, which can be very dangerous.

A whole new industry has taken off around drinking games. This has contributed to them being more popular, more intense and more dangerous. Many bars now hold beer pong tournaments. Some even have leagues and keep baseball-like statistics. A popular retailer stocks a popular beer pong kit called “Bombed” and boxed sets of rules for other drinking games. Major beer companies and beer distributors are using drinking games to sell alcohol. There is also a World Series of Beer Pong each year in Las Vegas.

Many students learn about beer games from the internet. A simple search for “drinking games” turned up sites that feature rules, merchandise and pictures of wild parties. It often appears to be a race to be the most extreme.

Universities are approaching the problem of drinking games (and binge drinking in general) in different ways. Some have outright banned drinking games. Some feel this just send the games underground. Several colleges banned drinking games and then changed their minds. The thought behind this is that students should be encouraged to take more personal responsibility for their behavior.


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Better Drunk Than Wasted about 3 years ago Better Drunk Than Wasted


College is all about learning how to drink. For instance, it is better to be drunk than wasted. You can be a little drunk, but wasted is wasted.

David Veal over 6 years ago David Veal


We have a trivia/party/drinking game that deals more with discovering the country and the theme of motorcycling than drinking. The drinking aspect of it was to add more of the real biker edge to the experience. In having played the game almost two dozen times, I found different people will drink different amounts. It is a two can game over a period of 1.25 hr., for 4 people, 2 hrs for 7 people to play. That is another factor in feeling the effects or not. I guess I'm suggesting that not all drinking games are made equal, some actually make new friends & improve current friendships. Others can be more destructive.

Nick Casey over 8 years ago Nick Casey


I spent two years writting a drinking games book and three years learning the games at Bristish University. My major finding was that drinking games are socially inclusive and far from teaching bad habits, taught people where limits lie. Better with your mates playing drinking games in a private residence than out on the town in potentail danger. It intresting to notice that Uni students after University are less likely to be the weekend bingers so prevelent in UK culture. I think taking it to my extreme taught me moderation. It my friends that haven't been to the limits that I still find hitting it hard now in our mid twenties. Conclusion drinking games fun, enclusive and limit establishing in a compartively safe environment. Wanna know more about me and my book and my philosophy? See drinking games at http://thelash.wolfridgepublishing.co.uk Regards Nick Casey (25) Author of The Lash