When the good folks at Expats.cz sent me off to the pub to discover the difference between local and international drinking games, I was expecting to find some really weird rituals and rules even more complicated than Czech grammar. It turned out, though, that everyone the world over seems to play the same ones – or at least variations on a theme. Czech pilsner may be unique, but beer-pong? – it’s pretty much universal. Anyhow, now the fine weather’s arrived, what better than to find a nice terrace bar and get down to a fun challenge with some of your drinking mates? Some games are physical, some down to chance, but all of them are mental! Health warning: choose your opponent carefully, especially if it’s the boss.
1. BEER PONG
Fun factor 7; Learning difficulty 1; Playing difficulty 4
Two teams take it in turns to throw a ping pong ball into one of six glasses of pivo arranged in a triangle formation at the other end of the table. If a ball lands in the opposition’s beer, the contents of the glass must be drunk by the other team, and then replaced empty into the triangle. If a player throws the ball into an empty glass, they must consume the contents of one of their own glasses. The first side to force the opposing team to drink all of their beer is the winner. Simple but crazy fun.
2. MEXICALI (called Macháček in Czech)
Fun Factor 5; Learning difficulty 2; Playing difficulty 3
Required: A pair of dice. Each player rolls in turn, taking care to conceal the dice from their neighbours, and announces what they have ‘scored’. To get the score, multiply the higher number by ten and add the smaller number. Example: 1+4=41, 2+3 =32, 3+5=53 and so on. Doubles are worth 100 x the face value, so 1+1= 100, 2+2 = 200, all the way up to 600. 2+1=21, called a ‘Mexicali’ or a ‘Macháček’, beats all other scores.
If your score fails to beat the previous player’s, you have to drink, but this is where the fun comes in. To advance the game, players will bluff by saying they have scored higher then they have. At any time, the previous player can challenge the roller, and if they are caught bluffing they have to drink. If on the other hand they were not bluffing, the challenger has to take the forfeit. If the challenge happens with a Macháček, the whole drink has to be downed in one.
3. THE NAME GAME (or ‘Drink while you Think’)
Fun factor 5; Learning difficulty 1; Playing difficulty 3
Let’s do it with movie stars: ‘Tom Cruise – Cary Grant – Grace Kelly – Keanu Reeves – Roger Moore – Marilyn Monroe…’ – get the idea? Each person announces in turn a famous person whose first name begins with the same initial letter as the last name of the previous one. If first and last names start with the same letter (as in Marilyn Monroe or Charlie Chaplin), the order of play reverses. This one could be quite good with Czech names, especially if you’re trying to improve your pronunciation – ‘Václav Havel, Hana Mandlíková, Miloš Forman, Franz Kafka’ And where does the booze come in? Well, you drink while you think, of course. Slightly intellectual, this one, but you can do it in categories (as above) or just go for famous names in general. Decide beforehand if you’re going to allow fictional characters. Oh, and remember – no repeated names without a forfeit!
Fun Factor 6; Learning difficulty 5; Playing difficulty 4
Deal out a pack of cards. Aces high. In each hand, the first player lays any number of cards of the same rank – say, two 7s. The next player must match this with the same number of cards of the same or higher rank. In this case the next player can lay two 9s, for instance, but if he lays cards of the same rank (in this case, two 7s), then the next player has to drink, and skips a turn. The next player, again, must match or beat the rank of the previous cards. If you cannot play you must pass and drink.
When someone plays the last valid card in a hand, or lays down a single 2, the played cards are cleared to one side. Play continues in the same way until each person in turn gets rid of all their cards. The first player to do so becomes President. Play continues until the next player has no cards left. He or she becomes Vice-President, and so on through the hierarchy until only the Asshole is left.
In the next round of the game, players swap places to reflect the new hierarchy, with the President taking the most comfortable seat and the Vice-President on his left, the Asshole on his right, and everyone else clockwise between them. A toast is raised to the new President, the Asshole deals again, and the merriment continues.
5. ZOOM, SCHWARTZ, PROFIGLIANO
Fun factor 5; Learning difficulty 2; Playing difficulty: 4
This classic tagging game begins with one player eyeing someone else in the group and saying ‘Zoom’. The second player has three options: a) to pass the ‘Zoom’ to someone else apart from the first player – you cannot Zoom the Zoomer; b) to pass the tag back to the original player, by making direct eye-contact and saying ‘Schwartz’; or c) to pass the tag back to the original player by making eye-contact with someone else in the group and saying ‘Profigliano’. Answering out of sequence, passing the Zoom to the Zoomer, or just generally messing up earns a pre-determined drinking penalty. The game continues until everyone is thoroughly confused and/or drunk..
Fun Factor 4; Learning Difficulty 1; Playing difficulty 3
In sequence, each player calls out a consecutive number. If a number is divisible by three, say ‘Fizz’ instead, and if it can be divided by five, say ‘Buzz’. Any number which fulfils both criteria is a ‘Fizzbuzz’. Let’s make it harder by starting with a random number – in this case 25. The sequence would go: Buzz (because 25 can be divided by 5), 26, Fizz, 28, 29, Fizzbuzz, 31, 32, Fizz, 34, Buzz, Fizz, 37, 38, Fizz, Buzz. Copious quantities of alcohol are required to be drunk by anyone who either gets a Fizz or Buzz wrong, who fails in any other way to stick to sequence, or who pauses too long.
Fun factor 4; Learning difficulty 0; Playing difficulty: 1
If only Sting had known what he was unleashing when he put pen to paper. Years later, in Finland, here are a group of people doing what looks like a pretty well-coordinated workout (at least to start with) to the tune of one of the Police’s most famous tracks, Here’s the aim: half the room is ‘Roxanne’; half the room is ‘Red Light’. Every time you hear your phrase you take a drink. Don’t be put off by the apparent simplicity of this game. As you can see, half the back row are in trouble pretty early on.
8. FUZZY DUCK
Fun factor 4; Learning difficulty 0; Playing difficulty 2
Based entirely on the inability of the alcohol-befuddled brain to connect with the speech organs, this game has one ludicrously simple rule but can provide hours of infantile joy as players get muddled up with their consonants, especially when played at speed. Make sure everyone has a pivo in front of them, then start with the first player announcing the words’Fuzzy duck’ to the next in line. This process continues around the table until someone chooses to change direction by saying ‘Does he?’ However, the next player must now substitute the words ‘Ducky Fuzz’ instead of ‘Fuzzy duck’. Drinking forfeits for anyone making a mess of it.
9. DRINK WITH RIGHT HAND
Fun factor 4; Learning difficulty 0; Playing difficulty 3
Perhaps the simplest game of all to learn, but a real test for brain-eye-hand coordination. Again, there’s a single, simple rule. Each person must drink with the opposite hand to the one they normally drink with, with suitable penalties for getting it wrong. See how long you can keep going! Try not to play this game with naturally ambidextrous people, not that it really matters.
All the above party/pub games are pretty much international in flavour, and all of them have multiple variants and house rules, so don’t shoot the pianist! But please do comment below and let us know if you have any better drinking games that we haven’t included, especially ones specific to the Czech Republic.