Drinking Games
By Nick Woodside Thursday, 12 Jul 2007

Outside of Bats!1 , I don’t really understand the appeal of drinking games. This isn’t entirely surprising given my resume. Most impressionable young people discover such games in the salad days of college. When they aren’t learning how to be a functional member of the American Workforce, our country’s students spend their free time at wild parties enjoying kegs of beer purchased by an older burnout and, if your budget is high enough, a Snoop Dogg performance (he’ll play just about anywhere). In between shouting “This is most assuredly my shit!” during rap songs and receiving poorly executed blow jobs, these future captains of industry would dominate such events as asshole, quarters and beer pong. This is what movies have told me about real college life. I wouldn’t know, since I decided to follow my heart and go to art school. Four years spent busting my ass only to find myself unemployable and unable to bounce a ping pong ball into a cup of beer. Am I hater? Probably. Am I a bitter old man? Most definitely.

This is not to say that I am against drinking alcohol and playing games. The difference is that the games I will condone playing while drinking can be played sober and still be relatively enjoyable. What are the chances someone is going to say, “Hey guys! Let’s bounce some filthy coins into these empty cups for a few hours. Pretty fun, right!?” My guess would be somewhere around 0.00001%2 . These people probably have a bookshelf full of Ziggy books and are not to be trusted. Anyway onto my favorite games to play while drinking (notice the difference).

First the obvious: Pool; or billiards if you insist on being a cock about it. The pros: just about everyone is down to the play this game. The cons: it’s pretty goddamned expensive if you don’t know anyone with a table. That said, a nice night of drinking and pool with friends usually ends up being just about perfect. My only real beef is that I have a small window where I’m a passable pool player. During drinks 1 through 4, it’s amateur hour. A passer-by would probably guess that I have never seen a pool table before in my life. That’s why I usually let other people play while I “stretch out”. Drinks 4-5.5 come around and I am the love child of Minnesota Fats and Karen Corr3 , although not nearly as sharp a dresser. Once I go beyond that fifth and a half drink all bets are off. The rub is that the 6th drink usually gets finished in the middle of a game and the window slams shut in spectacular fashion. I go from hitting every shot I line up to being lucky to get the cue ball across the table without the aid of a strong tail wind. Honestly it’s kind of awesome to watch.

While some would argue that you should *only* play these games while drinking, I find the Mario Party titles are enhanced with the addition of some alcohol. Drinking for every red space landed on or mini-game loss really helps dull the anger that bubbles up after you go from first to fourth thanks to some random event. Yeah, the chance wheel just *happened* to land on “give DK (the lone computer player) all your stars and the rights to all future stars” with 2 turns left. The upside to drinking during this game is that it tends to level the playing field by eroding everyone’s motor skills equally. Even the most seasoned MarPar vet is going to have trouble rowing that boat through the lake of Cheep-Cheeps after 6 Fin du Mondes.

Since its summer, people are doing more of their drinking outside. Now unless you’re Drew Carey (and lord have mercy if you are) you’re probably not dragging the pool table outside for a BBQ. What are you going to play then? There’s always the old standby wiffleball, but what if you’re like me and prefer to leave the bats and balls to the serfs and commoners4? Might I suggest bocce? Nothing goes better with beer and brats quite like whipping candlepin bowling balls around your yard. Bend the rules a bit, scratch the whole “designated zone” thing and throw the jack anywhere. On the Fourth of July I played bocce in the street and it was magic. I felt like a modern day Serpentor as the DNA of the founding fathers coursed through my veins and filled me with Independence Day Power. By the way, if someone had the ability to speak bocce what would it sound like? I imagine it would sound like the engine of an Alfa Romero mixed with clicks and Italian curse words.

The final game I’m going to recommend is one I was just introduced to that, even though I only played it once, made a big impression. It’s called Ladder Golf and the basic idea is pretty simple. You take two colored golf balls connected by a length of rope (think a gaucho roping animals during Pride Week) and throw it at this ladder that has three PVC pipe “steps” on it. The hope is that the bola will wrap around one of them and you’ll score points depending on where it lands. There’s apparently many ways to play Ladder Golf and, to be honest, they all sound awesome. Plus you can play it with very little physical exertion while keeping a hand free for a beverage. This is pretty much all you could ask for out of a game to play while drinking.

For those of you reading who love to play the traditional drinking games, please don’t take offense. Lord knows I’m not trying to put you down5 . I’m merely suggesting that next time you have a few friends over (especially if said friend is me), think twice before you break out the ping pong balls and beer darts. You’ll all be better people for it.

1 It’s quite a simple game really. Put in a copy of the Lou Diamond Phillips’ movie “Bats!” in your VCR/DVD machine, hit play, and drink every time they say “Bats”. Note: play this game with beer only. Anything stronger and the chances are good that you will die.
2 I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this figure. Remember: art school.
3 Check out that sweet dream catcher trophy.
4 What I mean to say is that I’m awful at wiffleball and my inability to hit a goddamned plastic ball with a goddamned plastic bat fills me with rage.
5 Yes I am.

5 Responses to “Drinking Games”

  1. Andrew Raub Says:

    Right on, dude. I’ve never been a big fan of pure drinking games. I just don’t like the set rules of when to drink. How ’bout we all just play a game and drink at the same time?

    Drinking doesn’t have to be a competition, just fun.

    Welcome to the club, by the way.

  2. Zach Patterson Says:

    my window for pool is usually incredibly small as well…and i usually miss it. i frequently get the “have you ever even played pool?” look.

    my game of choice is darts. specifically 301/Gotcha. I need alcohol to be effective, but when i’m on, i’m unstoppable.

    i’ve never been a fan of real drinking games because no one ever seems to pay attention long enough for it to work out. at least not the drunks i hang out with.

    and yes, mario party’s ridiculous star rules are only tolerable while drunk.

  3. Nick Woodside Says:

    I was going to put darts in there too, but I never really get a chance to play it. Also the only funny story I have about darts is when this dude got a dart in the arm.

    Wait, that’s not funny at all.

    It’s nice to be here.

  4. jer Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.


    booze + warioware: smooth moves = ridiculous.

  5. Jonathan Dao Says:

    Just some extra “variations” to the Mario Party challenge:

    Drink when:

    Someone gains a star
    Someone loses a star
    Wins a minigame

    and finally …

    Advances a space number divisible by one

    I guess someone should make a FAQ on how to recover from Mario Drinking Party …

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