Beer Pong is to drinking games what baseball is to sports: It’s the ultimate American pastime. It’s the one game to rule them all, the heart of every great party, the gauntlet that establishes a true winner of the night. And while the basic version of Beer Pong has its core rules, it’s important for every “house” to establish its own unique set of rules or variations to make the game truly their own. Here’s a list of seven awesome beer pong rule variations to add to your house rules, ASAP.
Up the stakes by adding a Russian Roulette cup to each side. To set up, teams fill all the cups with beer as usual and arrange them in a pyramid formation. Then, the teams swap sides and secretly add a shot of vodka to one of their opponents’ cups. Then, the teams switch back, and start the game. When the shot-spiked cup is hit, the drinker receives an extra kick in the pants from the vodka, adding a layer of suspense to the game.
If you play with a “Death Cup,” make sure you chug your beer—fast. The Death Cup refers to any cup that’s been sunk but has yet to be fully consumed. Should a player sink a ball into the unfinished cup, the game is immediately over. This rule incentivizes all players to finish their drinks fast and holds everyone accountable for every beer.
Playing Beer Pong is just like playing any other sport: Sometimes you’re on, and sometimes you’re off. And if you’re really off, you can go a game without making a single cup, which is bad news if you’re playing with this rule. If you fail to make a cup during an entire game of Beer Pong, you are deemed the Underachiever, also known as “The Rog.” And as the Underachiever, you must sit underneath the table during the next game. Hope the floor’s clean. (Spoiler: The floor is never clean.)
Not every shot is a clean one. Sometimes, rather than just plopping into a cup or missing it completely, the ball spins around the rim before choosing its fate. If you’re quick enough to spot a shot like this before it falls into the cup, you may attempt to blow the ball out of the cup before it falls in. You can’t use anything but your steely breath, so make sure you blow hard and aim well.
Ring of Fire
This rule is for the ultra-competitive crowd rather than the “we really just want to drink and have fun” crowd. Not to be confused with the Ring of Fire drinking game, this rule states that if a team knocks out the three corner cups, as well as the middle or “freshman” cup, forming a ring of connected Solo cups, that team immediately wins. This rule rewards pinpoint accuracy with an automatic victory, which is great for quick table turnover, but not so great if you want to keep the game (and the drinking) going.
Behind the Back
The Behind the Back rule states that if you miss a shot but are able to retrieve the ball from the table before it falls to the floor, you get to take another shot. The catch: You have to throw the ball from behind your back. Good luck making it, but if you do you’ll be the hero of the party.
For this rule, you’re going to need to have a stout handy. While filling up your cups during the setup, fill one cup with a stout like Guinness so that it is noticeably darker than the rest. That cup is the “wormhole.” Every time someone sinks a ball into the wormhole, the teams switch sides. That means if your team has been killing it and made five cups before the other team even scored once, you have to switch sides and assume their losing formation if they sink a ball into the wormhole. This gives some of the lesser-skilled teams a shot at victory.
Start the game with two different colored balls, one white and one any other color. The ball that isn’t white is designated as the “money ball.” If you sink a cup with the money ball, you get to shoot again and continue shooting until you miss, similar to if you’re “on fire” after making three cups in three consecutive turns. Either teammate can shoot the money ball at the start of a turn, but if someone makes the money ball in a cup, they must continue shooting until they miss―no switching shooters mid turn. This is a good rule to enforce if you want to speed up a game, when the line to get on table is nearing
the double digits.
Picture Battleship, the classic game in which you guess a letter-number combo on a grid in an attempt to sink your opponent’s battleship, but with beer. To play Battleship Pong, set up tall dividers that prevent teams from seeing their opponents’ cups. Set up your cups however you’d like behind your divider. Some rules suggest keeping four cups together, three cups together, two cups together and one lone cup, to simulate the different Battleship pieces, but feel free to arrange them at will. Then, start lobbing balls over your opponent’s divider and try to sink the ball into their cups. It’s important that you listen out for any cup contact so that if you don’t sink it, you’ll at least know the general area of the cup. Also, feel free to play two shots at a time—this could take a while.
In memoriam of the numerous ships and planes that were never heard from again after traveling through the triangular area connecting Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda, the Bermuda Triangle rule in Beer Pong states that if you sink your opposition’s cups in a way that forms a triangle of untouched cups, you may not call for a re-rack. Think of it as having your communications jammed. Only by making one of the cups in the triangle can you re-establish your right to re-rack and make it out of the Bermuda triangle.