Beer Die is not just another one of the thousands of existing drinking games. It is more of a drinking sport. It is an institution in many east coast colleges. "House rules" can vary widely from one beer die table to another, but the basic rules stay the same. It's actually a fairly simple sport if you keep two things in mind: First of all, remember to get either the other team or your own team very drunk. Second of all, try to win.

First, the fundamentals - these should not vary from table to table.

The table: The regulation table should be 4' by 8', standing around 3' off the ground, and preferably made of wood. Plywood is great, 'cause it's cheap and can take a fair amount of abuse.

The die: This is the easy part, folks. A six-sided die, gleaned from your neighbor's game of Risk or Monopoly or some other game that is liable to drag on for weeks and be left on the windowsill in its half-completed state.

The gameplay: There are two people at each end of the table. They are all seated, approximately one arm's length away from the end. Each player has a cup of beer on the table. The oh-so-popular blue or red plastic Solo cups or something of comparable size should be used. Plastic. You're stupid if you use glass. These cups are one palm's length from the end of the table, and one from the side. They are therefore sqrt(2 palm's lengths) from the corner of the table. They each hold the contents of one can of beer. Play starts when a player from one of the teams holds the die in his hand and taps it on the table. This is a courtesy tap. The player must then throw the die. If he or she hopes to score, the die must go at least half as high as it goes far (this rule is negotiable; you can choose a fixed point that the die's parabola must pass by, or you can change the ratio of height/distance), bounce on the table, and roll off the end. The other team (playing defense, of course) must try to catch the die. No body traps, no two-hand catches. One hand only. If the die is caught, no points are scored. If not, the team that has just been on offense scores a point. Games typically go to five, and you must win by two. After the throw, the team that just defended gets to throw. Throwing alternates; you cannot throw the die for two offensive cycles in a row. Get a teammate with a good underhand.

From here on, the rules vary a lot. I'll give a sample set which I have a lot of fun playing with. Of course, this is a constantly evolving sport, just like slam ball. First of all, it is usually a good idea to keep scoring and drinking separate. The two should never happen at the same time. This is the main way in which beer die differs from frat parties.

Drinking: Three things to know about drinking in this game. First, there is never a time limit. Take as long as you want. Of course, this can be negotiated. Next, there are five drinks per cup. Portion them however you see fit. When you're out of beer, fill up! Last, teams always drink as, well, a team. Drink together, people, it's a team sport.

The cups: If the die should happen to bounce off a cup on its wild trajectory (pre- or post-bounce), the team whom the cup belongs to has to take a drink. If the die lands in the cup (congratulations, you've sunk!) the team just sunk on has to finish their beers, and the person who just sunk (yes, the person who threw the die) has to take a naked lap. This "lap" is obviously negotiable. It could be, for example, a naked crab walk around the block, a naked set of calisthenics, whatever. It has to be performed while the other team is drinking. After finishing, the person whose cup the die was in must put the die in his or her cake-hole and spit it out.

Other drinking rules: If you throw the die and it doesn't hit the table, your team drinks. If you throw the die and it bounces and goes off the side of the table and not the back, you have scored a "heinous." After three such heinouses, every subsequent heinous means your team has to drink. Finally, if there is ever a 5 showing on the die, and the die is on the table, the last person to have touched the die has damned/blessed his team; they must finish their beers. This rule always applies. If the die bounces, scuttles around, and comes up five, the thrower's team drinks. If some poor sap takes a piss break and places the die on the table and it's a 5, the poor sap's team has to finish.

Advanced scoring: If you lose 5-0, your team does a naked lap. Absolutely non-negotiable. Work on your technique.

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