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They won't tell you this in the lectures during induction week, but in Britain, typical university culture is mostly about drinking. Excessively. Stupidly. And enough so you can't remember that you even drank at all.
Your standard Oxbridge (a portmanteau of Oxford and Cambridge, the British equivalent of Harvard and Yale, for transatlantic readers) student probably won't partake in such barbarism, but it's safe to say that the attitude of chugging til you're hugging a toilet the next morning is ingrained into most universities in the UK. I've witnessed exchange students coming from abroad horrified upon witnessing what we get up to during our higher education here, before being corrupted into the alcohol-guzzling creatures we are somewhat proud to be.
For better or for worse, that's life.
Fortunately, surviving this endeavour allows you to pick up quite a few drinking games along the way. Drinking games merely exist as a fun justification for drinking when you're told to (probably), but their introduction to a table of tipsy friends can make a pre-drinking session all the better. ('Pre-drinking' = the ritual of drinking at someone's house before heading out to a club, so you're nice and inebriated when you get there).
Some games require a set of playing cards. Others do not.
All require alcohol. Obviously.
"Never Have I Ever _____"
Quick Overview: Let's start simple. Never Have I Ever is a drinking game focused on getting your friends to squirm while potentially embarrassing points of their lives are revealed to all. Yay!
What You Need: Nothing except your friends and booze.
How It Works: Going around in a circle taking turns, each individual must state "Never have I ever..." and then something they have never done. You can say anything you like, whether innocent and clean (e.g. "Never have I ever eaten sushi") or towards the more raunchy side of conversation (e.g. "Never have I ever had sex in a car"), which is usually how it goes. Anyone who HAS ever done the thing the person has never ever done must drink a pre-determined amount (say, 1 sip or 2 fingers' worth of their beer).
Bonus Rule: If only one person drinks up, it's Storytime! for them, and they must recount what happened and why it happened in whatever detail they'd like. Extra points if you can make losing your sushi virginity interesting to all.
Drink While You Think
Quick Overview: A simple, easy game that gets surprisingly difficult when you're the one in the hotseat. Hope you know your pop culture.
What You Need: Friends, alcohol (preferably not foul-tasting or intense) and knowledge of popular culture.
How It Works: Easy-to-grasp concept, as long as everyone is listening to you explain it. Someone starts by saying the name of a famous person, character, or otherwise notable individual with a first and last name (so no Adele, Sting or Buddha, unless you know their full names).
The person next to them (starting either clockwise or anti-clockwise, it doesn't matter) then has to state a famous person or character starting with the FIRST LETTER of the LAST NAME. For example, if the name started with was "Stevie Wonder", then the next person would have to say someone who's first name began with a W, such as "Willem Dafoe", the next person would then have to say someone beginning with D, and so on.
Still with me? Good, because there's one additional rule that can make things a little confusing. If the name alliterates, that is, has the SAME starting letter for their first and last name (for example, "Willy Wonka"), then the DIRECTION REVERSES back onto who it was before. This can result in a back-and-forth battle until someone gives up and stops giving alliterative names. I've seen this go on for minutes, and it was truly a test of wills: from "Mickey Mouse" to "Minnie Mouse" to "Mike Myers" to "Marilyn Monroe" to "Marilyn Manson" etc..
You may be wondering where the alcohol is involved and I shall divert your attention back to the title of the game: DRINK WHILE YOU THINK. If it's your turn, and you're not actively saying a name, you best be drinking while you're coming up with a name. You'll probably find, as all have, that it can be very difficult to think of names when you're chugging down a can o' beer, and you're sat in limbo while everyone observes how dumb you are.
Bonus Rule: A harsher rule to implement, especially in a large group of people, is that if the name you say has already been said (by yourself or someone else), then you down your entire drink. Stay sharp!
Blow Game / Blowjob / Bottle Game
Quick Overview: We never settled on a solid name for this one. I like 'Blowjob', but it's a little odd to propose playing that to a bunch of people you don't know. It involves blowing and bottles.
What You Need: A large, heavy bottle such as a vodka or gin bottle. Playing cards. People to play with, ideally, but not essential. The ability to breathe in a controlled way.
How It Works: Short and sweet explanation for this one.
Place all of the playing cards on top of the bottle. Take turns, clockwise or anti, in blowing off as many cards as you can in ONE BREATH (no cheating, your fellow players will notice), without blowing them ALL off.
If you blow them all off like a pleb, drink for a pre-agreed amount of seconds (10 seconds is a good amount). If you blow none off, drink for the same.
The idea is to blow an ideal amount of cards to make it difficult for the next person to not blow all remaining cards off the bottle, without going too far and looking like a fool. It'll be impressive if you get down to one card. It's also a good idea to clean the cards prior, to prevent them sticking together.
Bonus Rule: If you want a more punishing version of this game, play it so that you're only trying to blow off ONE card each turn. The total of additional cards blown off is the total of seconds you're drinking for. Blow them all off? That's 52 seconds.
Quick Overview: Drinking meets Snap! It's a good way to learn people's names. Also the drinking game equivalent of bullying. Just remember, what goes around usually comes back around. Usually.
What You Need: A standard pack of playing cards, a few friends (6-8 is a good amount, more people = more drinking and more chaos) and a lot of booze to drink/chug (if you lose, which you will).
How It Works: Bare with me on this one, there's a fair bit to take in.
So, make sure you shuffle your cards and lay some out, face down, in a pyramid formation (as many as you like, but 1-2-3-4 top-to-bottom is the usual amount) on a table between all players. Then, give each player anywhere between 4-7 cards (the more cards, the more drinking for the loser).
Starting from the bottom row of face-down cards in the pyramid, the dealer turns one card over. As soon as they do that, it's a free-for-all.
Basically, if the card that is turned over is either the SAME SUIT (that is, the little symbol near the letter or number; either hearts, diamonds, suits or spades) or the SAME NUMBER/LETTER as one of your cards, then you can put down that card, face up, on top of the original card and say "Fuck you [name of another player]." "Heck" is also acceptable, if you have a phobia of your mouth coming into contact with soap. There's nothing stopping you from saying the same player each time you put down a card, except social norms of not being a dick.
This applies for everyone at the same time, so the fastest player to put their card down has their card on top. Keep going until either everybody has put their cards down, or it's impossible for any remaining held cards to be played. It's meant to be quick, it's meant to be savage. You can be as fast or as calculating as you'd like, at your own risk.
The player that was 'fucked' by the last player to put a card down is in for a treat. Count all cards put down on the freshly-created pile, and the total is how many seconds the loser has to drink their beverage for. If there's 35 cards on the pile, that's how many seconds loser is drinking for.
HOWEVER, it does not have to be as hardcore as it sounds. The loser's fellow players may each be asked, in a clockwise direction, how many seconds they would like to take for the loser, so as to ease their burden. It may be any amount of the total they wish, or they may take none at all. This game may make one re-evaluate their friendships.
Count down the number of seconds the loser has left of their total while they chug. Keep repeating this process until all of the face-down cards have been used for a round. The bonus rule here can seriously up-the-ante.
Bonus Rule: This is where the pyramid formation of the face-down cards comes into play. That bottom row of cards? That is worth x1 the total of cards on the pile after each round. That's right, each row you go up in the pyramid increased the multiples of the total. To frame it easily here's a simple example:
- Bottom Row Round (x1):
20 cards on a pile x 1 = 20 seconds drinking
- Second-Bottom Row Round (x2):
20 cards on a pile x 2 = 40 seconds drinking
- Second-Top Row Round (x3):
20 cards on a pile x 3 = 60 seconds drinking
- Top Row/Pyramid Tip Round (x4):
20 cards on a pile x 4 = 80 seconds drinking
This is assuming you're going from the bottom up on the pyramid. There's nothing stopping you from doing the opposite, so you have 4 rounds of x4 of the pile.
Hope you've picked your friends wisely.
So there's 4 drinking games that are perhaps less well-known to people. There's a few more I have learned and know that I haven't detailed because this article is getting a bit long. I may create another list of the ones I've left out in the future, but I hope you have chance to enjoy the ones above.
I also hope you've enjoyed the article and understand my instructions well enough to introduce them to your friends!
Remember to always drink responsibly (but not too responsibly).