Twenty-One (My favourite drinking game)

Kung’s version of the game sounds like much fun, but it is quite different from the way we play here.

Players sit around in a circle with their drinks. A starter is chosen and each person in order counts one number up to twenty-one. Sounds hard doesn't it?

Each time twenty-one is reached, the person that reaches it, makes a rule. As with all rule games, the players get to decide to make it difficult or funny or ridiculously complicated. Some common rules are:

  • Replacing numbers with words or phrases
  • No using people's names
  • No pointing (a great counterpart to no names)
  • No swearing
  • Counting backwards
  • Counting some numbers in french or spanish
  • Skipping numbers
  • Whispering some numbers, yelling others
Of course, players are not limited to keeping things simple. For example, a perfectly appropriate rule would be, "Instead of counting the number six, you have to stand up, spin in a circle, pat your head three times while yelling "I like to fuck goats!"

Similar to Kung’s version, players must drink if they:

All players drink when twenty-one is reached. Which, as you can imagine, happens less and less frequently as the game progresses. Everytime a mistake is made, the next person starts counting again at one.

It is important to determine whether or not to allow an “omit rule” before you start playing. The omit rule allows the person who is making a new rule to omit one of the old ones, before s/he makes a new one. Some people don’t like this, but it comes in handy if you’re playing with beginners who tend to make stupid rules. Here’s an example:

A bunch of us were playing one night, with three or four people who had never played before. In the early rounds a rule was made that the person to the right of anyone who had to drink, also had to drink. This caused much detailed discussion about whether or not that would lead to everyone drinking on every turn, but it was clarified that it would count for the one person to the right of the drinker, but not the person to their right. This was, although difficult to explain at the onset, not a bad rule. At the very least it stopped the person on your right from purposely trying to screw you up.

One of the girls who was playing, Christina, had a crush on my roommate Rob, and was slightly bitter over the fact that he didn’t share her feelings. Her turn came to make a rule, and she said, “Rob has to drink every time anyone screws up.” We all laughed at his misfortune, and I said something like, “Man, that sucks buddy,” and he said, “for you too, eh?” because I was sitting on his right. I yelled something profane at Christina, and had to take a drink for swearing, which meant Rob had to take a drink because of Christina’s new rule, and I had to drink again because I was sitting to his right.

The downward spiral continued until Rob got a chance to make a rule and stop the insanity. He omitted Christina's rule, and probably saved us both a trip to the hospital.