You may be familiar with beer pong and king’s cup, but we can all agree that playing the same games over and over can quickly lose its luster. But just sitting around chugging beers isn’t exactly entertaining either. It seems that it’s human nature to supplement the drinking experience, as ancient cultures have been doing it since long before we were here. The Chinese in Zhou Dynasty played the literary ‘Jiuling’, which involved sharing a poem, joke or riddle in between sips. While ancient Romans bonded over Passatella, a game of insults that usually ended with drunken knife brawls. Today’s drinking games are somewhat less dangerous, thankfully. From Australia’s ‘Goon of Fortune’ to Russia’s ‘Bear Paw’, here are six international drinking games!
1. Goon of Fortune – Australia
A spoof on the game show Wheel of Fortune, a goon bag (local term for boxed wine) is pegged on the outside of a Hills Hoist rotary washing line. Players stand or sit underneath it at the edges. Then, one player spins the hoist, and when the bag stops spinning the person closest to it has to drink. The game ends when everyone gets bored and decides to race a kangaroo or watch a game of cricket instead.
2. Napkin, Beer, Cigarette – Korea
What you need for this game is a napkin, a pint of beer, a cigarette and a coin. Place the napkin over the pint glass, then lay the coin on top of it. Players will use a cigarette to burn little holes in the napkin. If the coin falls into the glass, you will have to finish the drink (careful not to choke on the coin!)
3. God Save the Queen – UK
This one is pretty easy. Everyone gets themselves a drink and goes about their business. There is one coin in circulation, and the game starts when a player successfully places or throws the coin into another person’s drink. They will then cry, “God save the Queen!” The owner of the cup must then finish their beverage as quickly as possible, saving the Queen from drowning. Hurrah! Said person, upon completion, then has control of the coin and may choose his or her next target to continue the game. Be wary of your fellow party-goers! You can also defend your drinks in any way you see fit.
4. Ping Pong Pang – Japan
Everyone sits in a circle. One person says “ping” and going clockwise, the person to their left must say “pong”. Then, the next person says “pang” while pointing to a random person, who must then say “ping” and the person to the left says “pong” and so on. It might seem like an easy game, but trust me, it gets harder once you’ve had a few drinks in. Whoever doesn’t react fast enough or says the wrong word will drink in shame.
5. Kastenlauf – Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Drinking and running might not seem like a good combination, but in some cultures it certainly is! Kastenlauf is a race among teams consisting of at least two people carrying a crate of beer, and all the beer must be finished by the time you cross the finish line. The first team to do so is the winner! This is an eco-friendly, anti-littering game, so you also have to keep all your bottles and cans. The route generally varies from 5 to 12 kilometres in length, and it is especially popular amongst young people while en route to a beer festival.
6. Bear Paw – Russia
Trust the Russian to take drinking games to a whole new level. Before we carry on, we’ll just say that this game is not a good idea, unless you have a death wish. Just in case you’re curious, Bear Paw involves filling a mug with beer and passing it around a circle, with each person taking a sip. After everyone takes a drink, they replace that amount with vodka. Then, the mug is passed around again until it’s just vodka with no more beer. And then it’s done again, until it’s all beer with no more vodka, and so on. The winner is the last person still alive.