Drinking Games, Ranked from Least Terrible to Truly Terrible

You’ve heard of “drinking on your own,” now try drinking with peer pressure!
September 18, 2018, 2:05pm
Photo via Flickr user Laura LaRose

So, you’ve made it to university. Congrats. Prepare for the cushiest time of your life, when doing an English exam on ket and getting a 41 cus you physically couldn’t hold a pen doesn’t get you fired or arrested, but results in mad credit from awful uni lads you will never speak to again after first year. You’ll meet more “Fizzys” than you ever thought possible, even though that can’t be a fucking name, can it? No one knows how to use a microwave. Being a student truly is a hedonistic dystopia of Pot Noodle, anthologies, and very, very awkward sex.


Another phenomenon of the university experience, largely created to help you socialise with people you have nothing in common with, is the drinking game. As you’re shoved into a flat with five strangers, only two of whom you’re certain aren’t sociopaths, you need a little social lubricant to make things less shit. Amazingly, simple drinking will not do. Thus, you must create a ritual in order to keep peace with the guy who said he loves halls because it “reminds him of boarding school.” Think of the drinking game as a political union of sorts, but with cider and shit jokes.

The problem is that drinking games are not fun, proven by the fact that as soon as you leave uni or find people you don’t secretly hate, you stop playing them. They’re just not that effective at papering over the cracks of your very fragile relationship with Greg the engineering student who has never heard of your degree. Nor do they help de-escalate a conversation about fucking Brexit between Maggie from Liverpool and Clementina.

So, here they are: student drinking games ranked, from “OK, I can do this for 45 minutes but then I’m getting a cab,” to “Should we call someone for help?”

The one where you do a shot during a repetitive song or television show

This one is kind of OK. Should be reserved for actual friends who can talk while a song is playing or have similar taste in shows (such Eurovision or Love Island). Can also manifest as a slightly more intelligent game, by which tropes of the show are picked up on and critiqued between shots. Har Har!


An extremely simplistic game that kinda does the job, and is weirdly engaging for about 12 minutes. Sitting in a circle, players count from one to 21 with the aim of avoiding the number 21—for which they must take a drinking penalty. Largely inoffensive.

Beer Pong

No one plays this in the UK because who ever has a ping pong ball to hand or those stupid red cups?

Ring of Fire/That one with all the cards

The dynamism of this game makes it almost fun, but is also its biggest weakness. No one can ever remember the rules, and by the time you’ve pulled them up on your phone and tried to list them aloud, two people are having an intense conversation about Kant and one girl is trying to do coke off a spoon.

Never Have I Ever

Wow. I am so glad that I now know how many people around me have done anal “in the last week,” and that more than one person I live with has “taken a shit in an outdoor space.” All the people I suspected were virgins are, shock horror, definitely virgins (yes, you too, Dave!! Don’t pretend like your “girlfriend from Manchester” is real! You wear i-Pood t-shirts!!). Truly insightful.


A pointless and disgusting game with few rules. Everyone pours as much or as little as they choose of their drink into one central pint glass. Coins are then flipped and if you guess wrong, you have to drink the dirty pint. The game does, however, give you an opportunity to fuck over that annoying posh boy who is plagued with fragile masculinity and “totally will down the pint of tequila and soda water, OK? Just stop rushing me. Jesus.”

NB: If one of your mates actually manages to down a pint of milk, rum, beer, Tesco Basics wine, and Diet Coke, they *will* throw up on you 40 minutes later in the communal kitchen.


Paranoia is niche drinking game that you may not have heard of, but is guaranteed to ruin friendships for years. The premise is: you sit in a circle, and someone next to you whispers a provocative question in your ear, such as “Who, other than your girlfriend, is the best looking girl here?” or “Who do you think is likely to fail after university?” The person who has been asked the secret question then announces the answer publicly—naming someone in the group. They then flip a coin and if they guess incorrectly, must reveal what the soul-destroying question was.

It often becomes so bad that people forget to drink and get too involved in ravaging their friendships. I have honestly seen people bring up bad games of Paranoia years later, with bitterness and teary eyed anger.

A beautiful game to fuck everyone up, without anyone getting fucked up.