Tag Archives: drinking game

King’s Cup: Drinking Game

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Tacoma, Washington
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/12/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Background: DL is a childhood friend of mine who grew up in Long Beach, California before moving up north to attend college in Washington. He a transgender man in his early twenties and lives in an eight-person household with roommates that all identify as LGBTQ+.

Context: King’s Cup is one of DL’s favorite drinking games. This particular instance of King’s Cup was celebrated on DL’s birthday with about ten schoolmates/friends/roommates of DL, shortly before the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders were put in place. A little while afterwards, he celebrated someone else’s birthday over Zoom due to the COVID-19 stay at home orders. DL expressed sadness over not being able to play King’s Cup at the Zoom Party.

Main text:

(In the following interview the informant is identified as DL and the interviewer is identified as JS.)

DL: It’s like…you put a big cup in the middle of the table and, um, spread a deck of cards around it and you take turns picking a card from the ring of cards around the cup and each number on the card signifies something that you have to do.

JS: Okay

DL: Um…most of them involve drinking or [laughs] something of that context.

JS: Does it change each time or is there a specific ruleset that you used?

DL: There’s like a pretty specific ruleset that people generally use. Although we altered it because it’s pretty gender-specific sometimes

[At this point, DL tried to remember some of the rules but couldn’t recall them off the top of his head. He promised to follow up later with a few examples.]

JS: So, you pull the cards out, you go around the table, and they each have a different related thing on them.

DL: Yeah, um, it’s just like a deck of standard cards. And some of them it’s like you have to pour some of your drink into the big cup in the middle and then at the end, like, the loser has to drink the “King’s Cup.”

JS: [laughs] God, that’s so gross!

DL: [laughs] Yeah, we didn’t actually get that far we all kinda shared it and it was disgusting. Whatever you’re drinking, so that’s, like, the disgusting part. I had like some fancy sambuca from my mom so there was some of that in there, and some beer, and some cider, and some…wine I think. [laughs]

Examples of rules include:

Number two cards are titled “you”: Choose someone to drink

Number three cards are called “me”: The person who drew the card must drink.

The biggest modification A and his friends made to the rules set was for cards five and six—instead of sticking to the gender-exclusive rules of “guys and chicks” where either men or women drink, they changed it to “fags and dykes,” and it was up to the players to choose whether they would drink on the card that was pulled.

Thoughts: King’s Cup is a pretty standard drinking game, like much Beer Pong. Drinking games are a unique way to transform relatively standard American college practices (drinking to excess) into “events,” typically by way of making them game-ified or competitive. As DL explains at the end of the interview, the pretense of rules usually begins to fade as a drinking game goes on—there’s no need to keep on playing once the objective of the game (getting drunk) has been completed. What’s particularly interesting is how DL has customized the game to have certain “house rules”—particularly those for five and six. Some of the people DL lives with are nonbinary, making the guys and chicks rule obsolete. Instead, by customizing it with queer terminology, DL and his friends were easily able to tailor the game to their particular environment. I think it’s also important to note that the words “fag” and “dyke,” though often considered insulting and homophobic slurs, are fairly natural in this context for this group of friends—instead, they function as an insider/in-group joke. 

The pennies game

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican American
Age: 44
Occupation:
Residence: California
Date of Performance/Collection: 4-19-2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

Background:Informant was originally born in Mexico, but came to the United States when he was young. Since he stayed in Mexico for a bit of his childhood he learned a lot of games. As he grew up in California, he also learned some of adult games.

Main Piece:

Interviewer: Are there any games you might of not learned of as a kid but as an adult?

Informant: I learned the pennies game, which is a drinking game so definitely just an adult game.

Interviewer: How do you play the pennies game?

Informant: To play the game you need pennies, shot glasses, more than 2 people and some alcohol. You usually challenge the person to your right, if you can get the penny into the shot glass by flipping it off your thumb they have to take the shot. This continues until you want to stop or everyone gets drunk.

Interviewer: You drink the shot that the penny landed in? Isn’t that kind of unsanitary?

Informant: Thinking about it now, it does seem nasty but back then we assumed the alcohol would clean the penny.

Context: Interview with a family member about adult games.

Thoughts: The pennies game sounds like an older version of drinking game I have played with my friends. It sounds fun minus taking a shot with a penny in it.

Corners

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence:
Date of Performance/Collection: April 25
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Corners is a folk game that is played with cups, ping pong balls, and beer. It is similar to beer pong in the general principle, with slightly different rules. There are two teams, with teammates on opposing diagonal corners across a table. Each corner has four cups arranged in a diamond, all touching and there is one cup in the middle. There is a beer split between each corner and a full bear in the cup in the middle. The concept of the game is that you and your partner share one ping pong ball and must take turns throwing into your teammate’s cups, across the table. If your teammate makes it in one of your cups, you take the ball out and pass the cup to your side for the opposing team to drink. While your team is drinking, neither you nor your teammate can throw the ball. Once all eight cups between the two teammates have been sunk, you must bounce the ping pong ball twice into the center cup to win. The informant plays this game with his fraternity brothers.

The informant learned this through other people in his fraternity house. These types of games differ from school to school and place to place. The informant is still in college, so regularly practices this game, except during the current pandemic. They find it a way to have fun with drinking in a way that is not associated directly with the alcohol content.

This game follows the basic formula for drinking games in college. I believe that it is as much to play the game as it is to drink. Although no one I have talked to plays this with anything other than beer and sometimes hard seltzer, it is preferred over just drinking. The game makes drinking have an interactive element in what otherwise could be considered a solo action. It also normalizes binge drinking by turning it into a harmless game, something that can be dangerous.

“Beerio Kart”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Pre-Med Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/7/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a conversation between my friend, identified as SK, and myself, identified as GK.

SK: I want to tell you about a game I have been playing with my buddies at college called “Beerio Kart”. It’s a drinking game that involves the video game “Mario Kart” and is super competitive. So the basic objective of the game is to be the first player to finish the race while at the same time finishing his/her beer. However the catch is that you must completely stop driving and drop your controller while you’re drinking the beer as it is illegal to drink and drive. So the game becomes pretty strategic because of this rule.

GK: So what’s the best strategy for this game?

SK: It really depends. I usually do all the driving first, so I know how much time I have to chug the beer. However, I have friends who will chug at the very beginning so they could play from behind the whole race and get the best items in the game because of it. There are also people who will take stops after each lap to drink the beer at a steady pace while keeping up with the other opponents in the Mario Kart race. I would say my strategy is the best, but to each their own. 

Background: The informant knows of this game from college. He says that his roommate during his freshman year taught him the game, and that they would often play with the other guys in his dorm. Due to the fact that the new Mario Kart is on the Nitendo Switch, up to eight people could play at once. The game serves as a fun way for the informant and his friends to compete with one another while drinking. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this game over Face Time. 

My Thoughts: This game, in my opinion, serves as a great way to compete with friends while at the same time expanding the entertainment of Mario Kart even further. The courses start to get boring after a while, so adding a whole new aspect to the game really spices things up. It also illustrates the rise in popularity that video games have taken amongst the college demographic. For the longest time, I always thought video games were mainly played by children, and when they were played by adults, that those people were weird. However, with the creation of platforms such as Twitch, video games being played by older people have become more acceptable in society. I also believe that the multiplayer aspect that the Nintendo Switch offers makes the game more appealing to college students living in a dorm because they can compete with one another easily. 

7, 11, doubles

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 18
Occupation: student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/20/2017
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

7, 11, doubles

 

Informant: TF was born and raised in Villa Park, California. His father works in commercial real estate and his mother working as a manager for Choc Hospital. He has one older brother, a twin sister, and one younger brother. TR is half Lebanese and strongly connected to his Lebanese background. He is a first year student at USC. He learned this game from a friend at high school.

 

What do you do when you go out to parties?

 

“I like to dance and play drinking games with my friends”

 

Drinking games?

 

“Yes, like for an example 7, 11, doubles”

 

What’s that?

 

“It’s a drinking game. You need a cup, two dices and alcohol of choice. You role dice and if you get 7, 11, or doubles (like two 2) you choose a person to drink from the cup in the middle. If you get 7, 11, or doubles again before the person drinks everything from the cup that person has to drink again.”

 

Does this game mean anything to you?

 

“I mean it’s a fun game to play when you go out to a party, that’s all.”

 

Later on the informant said that he plays the same game. It’s interesting how popular this game is among teenagers. A drinking game that makes drinking more fun.

King’s Cup

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/15/15
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

“You have like a big, giant cup or pitcher, typically in the middle of a circle at a party and everybody who sits around has their own drink, and you take a deck of cards that are mixed up in the center of the table around the pitcher and you go around the circle, one by one, and you pick up a card and depending on what card you choose will depend on what you have to do with your drink. So if you draw an ace, like that means that you drink, just you. If you draw a two, that means you get to choose someone to drink with you. If you draw a three, then you choose someone to drink. If you draw like a four, like you can come up with like the different rules, but the way I’ve played it like a four . . . all the women drink. If it’s a five, all the men drink. If it’s a six, you do categories, so somebody, like the person who pulls the card would say, ‘Animals’ and then you have to go around in a circle and at like a really quick speed name an animal off the top of your head and when someone pauses or can’t come up with one, they have to drink. Um, and after they drink they pour a little bit in the middle. And then if you pull . . . it goes on, till the end, but if you pull a king, you just have to pour in the middle pitcher.”

 

Interviewer: “What are the other cards?”
“I don’t know all of them off the top of my head, but I know you can, like, there’s one that’s like . . . a rhyme and so like you can say, ‘fish’ and the person next to you has to rhyme with it and say like, ‘dish’ and then it goes around in a circle and if you can’t come up with a word, or can’t come up with a word that rhymes, you have to drink and then pour some in. And so at the end, the point is basically whoever draws the last king of the whole game has to drink the pitcher in the middle and it’s really disgusting because there’s usually like different alcohols involved so it’ll be like a mixture of like whiskey, and like tequila, and beer, and something that’s not tasty . . . There’s [a card] where like if you start to drink the person next to you has to start to drink and when you stop, they can stop, but it goes around like consecutively in the circle, um, so the last person can’t stop until everyone else has stopped in the circle, if that makes sense . . . I wanna say like ten, like the card ten, you drink for ten seconds. Um, I think seven rhymes with ‘heaven’ and I think we all drink. And then one card you have to do, like, ‘Never Have I Ever.” So like you put up five fingers and you say, ‘Never have I ever . . . kissed a girl’ and then anyone who’s kissed a girl, despite your gender, um, has to drink. And you do it, you have, um, you do it until your five fingers are down. And that’s King’s Cup.”

 

The informant was a 21-year-old USC student who studies communication and minors in dance and is a part of a prominent sorority on campus. She grew up in a relatively small town in southern California and was the captain of a prominent sports organization. She has danced for her entire life and, when she was growing up, would often drive for long stretches of time with her family to dance competitions. This interview took place late one night in my apartment’s living room when I began asking her about different games she knew. When I asked her where she learned “King’s Cup,” she said, “I couldn’t tell you who specifically, like a name, but, um, at my first party that I went to in high school, um, it was a game that was very often played and it’s typically more fun with the more people who play it, and so I was kind of like forced into playing it. And so I was forced into like learning the rules and for like my 21st birthday was when I played it with my closest friends and like my mom and we were all playing it. And we kind of just like took the rules that I knew and like would put a twist on it. So like we would change the card numbers, so instead of, I think the typical is like an ace being you drink, we would say like that would be the rhyme one. Like we’d confuse which ones were which, but we would write it down so we knew which card we drew.”

 

When asked why she practices it, she said, “It’s fun and it’s like a social atmosphere and it’s supposed to be funny to like . . . ‘Cause you could be the one who pours in a ton of alcohol and be like, ‘Somebody’s getting fucked up tonight! . . . I mean, screwed up tonight,’ and then, um, you end up screwing yourself over because you’re the one who ends up drawing the last king so then you have to drink the pitcher which is you pouring your whole entire drink basically in there trying to screw someone else over. So it’s supposed to be like funny and it’s like a game of fate, you kind of just, you don’t want to pick the wrong card, but there’s no one to blame but yourself if you do. I don’t know, I feel like people aren’t super serious about drinking the pitcher at the end because everyone kind of knows that if we’re all drinking different drinks it’s probably not gonna actually happen. But also like, people get sketched out, like they don’t want to pour all their drink in knowing the last king’s still out there, you know?”

I asked her what she thinks it means, and she said, “We’re all alcoholics! No, uh, I think it’s uh, I think it means . . . instead of standing around and drinking and talking or like forcing conversation, it’s like an excuse to be in a group and drink whether you know the person across from you or not, it’s just  like a group game and you don’t have to know everyone in the game to play it.”

 

Looking at King’s Cup in particular is really interesting to me because it is an extremely popular drinking game within parts of my generation, yet I have never met two people who play it the same way. Despite the fact that the informant is sure there are some official rules somewhere that would be the “correct” way to play, she does not know what these are and it does not seem to matter. What matters is that there are specific rules and actions associated with every card that someone pulls, and that these are strictly followed once the game begins. In addition to this game being entertaining and a reason for a group of people to get drunk together, it also acts as a way of dividing up the group and defining the people playing it. Many of the cards pulled mean only a part of the group drinks, e.g. the men or the women present, and this draws a subtle, but perceptible line between the people playing. The frequent involvement of other games such as “Never Have I Ever” occurs to reveal embarrassing or “secret” information about the participants to the rest of the group, thereby bonding them to one another or singling out someone at whom everyone else can laugh.

“Send it!”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/23/15
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

“Okay, so in the snowboarding world, when, um, you’re about to, like—‘cause I was a competitive snowboarder, you know, and so we would hit, like, really big jumps or something and then, or like if the pipe was like really big that day, um, so usually it’s used with jumps that are like over like 25 feet, so no like it doesn’t have to be big [laughs of disbelief from other people in room], but usually they’ll be like 90 feet when people use this saying and it’s not like, it’s like a, um, we would be like, ‘Oh, like fucking send it!’ That means like ‘huck yourself,’ like ‘do like what you got’ or yeah, like spin whatever, do flips and so it’s like just like ‘give it your all’ type of deal and so yeah we would just use ‘sending it.’ ‘Cause then it’s like ain’t nothing comin’ back, ‘cause you’re sending it and you’re giving it your all and you’re gonna kill it.”

 

The informant was a 21-year-old USC student who grew up in competitive snowboarding and has dabbled in CrossFit and other workout programs. She has been in a prominent sorority on campus since coming to USC and goes out every night of the weekend, as well as some nights of the week. I live with the informant and the interview took place in my room during one of the lengthy conversations we often have. The informant has been known to use aspects of her athletic and workout life in social interactions and “Send it!” is no different. She went on to tell me that “So now I’ve started to integrate that into the Greek life culture and so if someone’s in a drinking game I’m like, ‘Dude, fucking send this game!’ and they’re like, ‘I’m gonna send it.’ (Interviewer says: “It’s not coming back!”) And then they drink a lot. Yeah, it’s not coming back. So then they just like drink a lot.”

 

This piece of folk speech was interesting to me because of the meaning behind something like “Send it!” The other people in the room and I got hooked on the idea that you would say it because “it wasn’t coming back.” In addition to this being about “giving it your all,” it seems like it’s about taking opportunities when you have them. It would make sense, then, that the informant would translate this phrase into other areas of her life, like the Greek life culture. It is easier to do wild things at a party when you have someone telling you it is the moment to do them. It is also interesting that it is primarily a way of encouraging someone else to do something. While it could come across as pretty aggressive to the uninitiated, those inside of snowboarding culture would know that it is a way of supporting one another and pushing each other to get better and try new things.

Rage Cage

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: University of Southern California
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/11/15
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

“Here are the directions: Start by building a honeycomb of cups at the center of the table and filling each with about a 1/3 of a cup of beer. 20 should be enough. In the center of the honeycomb, add some extra beer and a few shots of hard liquor to the cup because that’s the ‘bitch cup.’ Gameplay starts with as many people as you want, with two cups with two players at opposite ends of the table starting the game. Players try to bounce pong balls into the cups after one bounce on the table. If they get a ball in their first try, they quickly pass it to the left of the person who’s trying to get the ball in the other cup. If the person it’s passed to is able to get the ball in while the other person is still struggling, he stacks his cup in the strugglers and the person who couldn’t get it in has to grab a cup from the honeycomb and drink it. If a player doesn’t manage to get the ball on his first try but manages to on another try, he or she can only pass the cup one person to their left. Gameplay continues until all the cups are left but the bitch cup. The last person who is unable to get their ball into their cup is then forced to drink it upon getting their cup stacked.”

This game represents a typical university drinking game that is meant to get students drunk, and fast due to the quick and tense play of the game. I had heard of the game before through students in class talking about it. My friend, the informant, plays it frequently, so I had him teach me it when I went to a party with him last weekend. He had learned it from older members of his fraternity, who too learned it from older members when they were younger. From what I’ve surmised, such games are part of fraternity/college identity and tradition, as its almost expected that such games are meant to be played on weekends and during parties.

Drinking games are an interesting part of folklore, and like folklore, they often possess variations that lead to arguing and disagreement. In playing the game that one time, I heard people debate the “after one miss rule” of having to pass it to your left and also how much hard liquor should be added to the “bitch cup.” Though drinking games are similar in many parts of the world, there are always rules in the games that greatly differ. People often argue the rules because they learned from others a specific method of play and are unwilling to bend based off what others feel is correct. I always find debates regarding the rules humorous, as it is impossible to distinguish who is correct in the argument. Just as in folklore, there is no correct version of a story.

“Rage Cage” – Drinking Game

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 28, 2015
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Informant: I learned Rage Cage from [older sorority sister], actually! Yeah, she taught it to me at [fraternity]. We were over there one night, and she was like, “[informant], why aren’t you drunk yet? You gotta get on my level!” So she got some of the guys in a circle around the table—the beer pong table—and put a bunch of red cups in the middle of the table, and we filled them all with a little bit of beer. And then she took two empty cups and uh, gave them to two of the guys. And they each had one ping pong ball, and they had to bounce the ping pong balls into their cup. And when the guy on the left of the other guy got his in, he’d pass the cup and the ball clockwise. If the guy on the right got his ball into the cup before the other guy, he got to stack his cup in the other guy’s cup, and then he’d pass the stacked cups to the next person in the circle. The guy who lost—who didn’t get his ball in and got another cup stacked in his—has to drink one of the cups of beer in the middle of the table. Then he can use that empty cup and try to bounce the ping pong ball into that. He passes the cup clockwise when he gets it in.

Me: So you just keep passing the cups clockwise in the circle?

Informant: Yeah. Well, unless someone gets the ball into the “chasing” cup—the cup that isn’t stacked—on their first try. Then they can pass it to whoever they want.

Me: Is there, like, someone you want to pass to in particular?

Informant: You want to pass it to the person to the right of whoever has the stacked cups. It’s easier to get them, then.

Me: How does the game end?

Informant: When all the cups are stacked. But [older sorority sister] plays it so, like, the last person to lose—to get a cup stacked in theirs—has to chug a whole drink.

The informant is a student at the University of Southern California. She is a member of a sorority, and was born and raised in Chicago, IL.

The informant told me she has played Rage Cage at numerous fraternity parties since learning it during her sophomore year at USC. The game is usually played in mixed-gender groups of five or more players (up to as many as can fit around the table, although a group larger than twelve may have trouble keeping the attention of players stuck on the opposite side of the circle from the action) and takes place at fraternity houses or otherwise private location where those who are not yet of the legal drinking age can participate.

This drinking game is typically played early in the evening as a way for men and women to loosen up around one another. Since fraternity party culture at USC revolves around partygoers being intoxicated, Rage Cage is often used as a comfortable and fun way for participants to ease into drinking for the night. The competitive “stacking” element of the game also allows for participants to gang up on certain members of the group who they believe should drink more.

Beerio Kart

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Occupation: International English Teacher
Residence: Bethesda, District of Columbia
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/5/2014
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Korean

About the Interviewed: Spencer is a former student of the George Washington University, now graduated and teaching English overseas. He describes his ethnic background as “Potpourri”, with his family having a mixture of Scottish-Polish origins with some Irish thrown in the mix. His family has lived in North America for generations, so he prefers to identify ethnically as just that. He is 22 years of age.

“Just don’t drink and drive man. That’s all there is to it.”

When I was at school at the George Washington University in the Fall of 2012, I met some ultra-cool people who I started to hang out with. One of them, a guy named Spencer, shared my love of early 90’s video games. When we were all together one weekend, Spencer introduced us to a game (supposedly of his own invention) called “Beerio Kart”.

What you need to play Beerio Kart:

*A Mario Kart video game, though any multiplayer video game that involves racing is fine as well.

*An alcoholic substance, though any beverage is fine.

*Friends.

Beerio Kart, is essentially a “drinking game”, though it can be played without alcohol. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Spencer, and he was able to explain the rules to me in better detail.

“It’s pretty simple. All you do is load up a game that involves racing (the objective being to beat the other opponents to the finish line) and grab a drink. Your goal is to finish that drink  before you finish the race. The catch is, you can’t drink and drive your car at the same time, that’s illegal! You have to stop your vehicle in order to drink. The first person to reach the finish line with an empty glass/can wins. Just don’t drink and drive man. That’s all there is to it.”

Beerio Kart became something of a regular game that we’d play when we were together. I can almost guarantee that none of the original game developers could ever envision that their games would ever be played like this. We’ve all sort of gone our own ways; I transferred to USC, and most of them graduated. However, I still keep the tradition alive, teaching new friends the wonder and joy of Beerio Kart.