Beer Edition: The top 5 beer games ranked

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(Collegian file photo) beer pong

JD Meltzner, Opinion Editor

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Beer games: college traditions created over years and years of students coming up with ways to transform drinking from a casual activity to a competitive, social drink-a-palooza that have fueled many a fun night and many a brutal morning.

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From the timeworn classics to more modern creations, there is quite a hefty number of beer games these days, so how should you know which to use your precious beer playing?

That’s why I’m ranking some of the most popular beer games here in a definitive list of the best beer games known to college-student-kind.

5. Quarters

Quarters is a classic, no doubt about it. If you haven’t ever played it yourself, you’ve certainly seen it in movies.

It’s a beer game that’s been around for a while because of its simple premise: at least three people sit in a circle while two people facing each other try to bounce quarters into cups and, passing the cup in front of them clockwise once they make a shot, trying to never end up with both cups in hand.

Whoever does must drink the penalty shot: beer. It feels like an outdated version of another game that appears on this list, and I just cannot in my right mind give too much merit to a drinking game that requires the precision necessary to accurately bounce quarters. It’s not an easy thing to get the hang of while wearing beer goggles. 

4. Rage cage:

Rage cage is truly the modern era’s response to quarters: up the intensity and difficulty, and up the drinking.

Structured very similarly to quarters, instead of the game ending after a cup is stacked, it continues, with the person who was stacked grabbing one of the many penalty cups, chugging it and trying to bounce a ping pong ball into that new cup.

The stack is passed clockwise, and the next player also tries to bounce a ball into the stack while the stacked person does the same with their new cup. The game continues as more and more cups are stacked and the tower grows until one poor soul can’t bounce the ball into the Solo-cup-skyscraper in time and is forced to drink the last penalty cup — a mixture of beer and liquor known as the “death cup” — as punishment.

It’s a fun game, but the death cup alone puts it no higher than No. 4 on the list. Many say it’s a skill, but that’s just hubris; it’s luck, completely coming down to where you are in the circle at the game’s end. If luck doesn’t rain down on you, I promise the death cup will. 

3. Flip cup:

Flip cup is another classic that’s quick, easy and sure to have everyone jumping into the fray in no time. That’s what makes flip cup so great: It encourages quick games and lots of them.

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Usually at least four players line up on opposite sides of a long table facing each other, each with a drink. The two players facing each other at one end of the table start the game by slamming their beers, then placing their empty cups dangling off the edge of the table and attempting to flip them through the air into an upside-down position on the table.

Once the first players do this, the game continues relay-style down the table until one side finishes. No frills, no fuss; just good ol’ fashioned beer-fueled competition. 

2. Beer die:

An entire sport in and of itself, there are far more rules to beer die than I can account for in this article, but its charm is how active and intense the game becomes once learned.

It does have some cons: It requires daylight, so it’s a strictly warm-weather game, and thus the task requires day drinking. That brings me to the pros: It’s also the perfect game for day drinking. The bonus is it requires you to stay moving, which is a great way to fend off any post-lunch (or post-chug) slump.

As goes with all of this article, this next statement comes with a disclaimer to only drink responsibly and to know your limits. If you’re looking for a game that’ll keep you drinking for the whole tailgate or barbecue, this is probably the game for you. Beer die games are long, and the rulebook is a minefield of different reasons to make you take a sip. 

1. Beer Pong

The ultimate drinking game and a truly timeless classic, beer pong is undoubtedly the king of kings when it comes to the perfect game for any occasion.

It’s beer-game simplicity at its finest, and it’s by far the most accessible game on this list.

Winter or summer, indoors or outside, beer pong is a perfect way to drink beer with friends while adding a little competition. Plus, the feeling of hearing the plunk of your ball hitting that final shot is absolutely unbeatable.

These games are all great, no matter their ranking, and they all represent the true reason drinking games are such a valued and enjoyed tradition of the college experience: They provide an outlet that brings friends together in healthy, social competition. It’s a bonus they all involve drinking beer with friends as well.

Reach JD Meltzner at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @jd_meltzner.