Discover the world of international drinking rules, a unifying element in parties and gatherings worldwide.
This guide presents a curated collection of globally popular and widely accepted drinking rules, plus some additional drinking games to try out.
Think we’ve missed any? Please let us know in the comments section!
Essential International Drinking Rules
International drinking rules can vary, with some rules being ubiquitous whilst other rules may not be as widely known in some countries. We’ve prioritised the list below with the most common rules first.
- No First Names: Using someone’s first name incurs a drink penalty.
- Non-Dominant Hand Drinking: Players must use their non-dominant hand to drink.
- No Pointing: Pointing at someone or something incurs a drinking penalty.
- No Swearing: Swearing during the game results in a drink.
- No ‘Drink’ Word: Saying the word ‘drink’ in any context leads to a penalty.
- Eye Contact Rule: Avoid making eye contact while drinking; failure results in a penalty.
- The Forbidden Word Rule: Choose a common word that, when spoken, results in a drink.
- Straight Face Rule: Laughing or smiling at certain moments incurs a sip.
- The Jinx Rule: If two people say the same thing, they both drink.
- Silent Drinking Rule: Speaking while drinking leads to a penalty.
- The Viking Rule: A specific gesture leads to a collective action; the last to react drinks.
- Backhand Drinking: Drinking from the opposite side of the glass.
- Accents Rule: Players must speak in a chosen accent; failing to do so incurs a drink.
- Floor is Lava Rule: Randomly declaring ‘the floor is lava’ means everyone must elevate their feet; the last to do so drinks.
- Animal Names Rule: Replacing player names with animal names; using a real name incurs a drink.
Top Drinking Games from Around the World
Bored of drinking rules and looking for a new drinking game to play? Why not mix it up by trying something new:
- Kings Cup / Ring of Fire: Known as ‘Kings Cup’ in the US, but often referred to as ‘Ring of Fire’ in the UK, this is a popular card game where each card drawn corresponds to a specific rule or action. Find out how to play Ring of Fire here.
- Beer Pong: A beloved American party game involving throwing a ping pong ball across a table into your opponent’s cup of beer.
- Horse Races: Create a horse race using only a pack of cards, with players betting drinks on which horse will win the race. Find out how to play Horse Races here.
- Kastenlauf: A German beer crate race where teams carry a crate of beer over a certain distance and drink it all before reaching the finish line.
- Izakaya Games: Simple, quick games played in Japanese pubs (Izakayas), often involving quick thinking and wordplay.
- Picolo: A French mobile app game where players enter their names, and it gives out humorous and often revealing commands.
English UK vs American Drinking Rules
The drinking game culture in the UK and the US, while sharing some commonalities, also has its unique characteristics:
- Game Styles: In the UK, drinking games tend to focus more on wit and social interaction, such as ‘Pub Quiz’ style games or ‘I Have Never’. American drinking games often involve a physical element, like ‘Beer Pong’ or ‘Flip Cup’.
- Pace and Consumption: British games typically have a steady pace, focusing on the social aspect and steady drinking. American games are often faster-paced, leading to quicker consumption.
- Common Rules: The UK has unique rules like the ‘No Pointing’ and ‘No Swearing’ rules, which are less common in American drinking games. Conversely, the US often includes ‘House Rules’ in games like ‘Beer Pong’, adding a personalised touch.
- Penalties: In British games, penalties often involve social embarrassment or clever retorts. In American games, penalties are typically more about consuming more or quicker.
While drinking games are a fun way to enhance a party or gathering, it’s crucial to ensure they’re played responsibly:
- Know Your Limits: Encourage players to be aware of their alcohol tolerance and to drink responsibly.
- Respect Boundaries: Always respect a player’s decision not to participate in a game or a specific rule.
And finally, have fun!