This is it, chaps… stag drinking games, the Maison d’être of the stag weekend. This is what separates the men from the boys, what keeps the stag party going long into the night and, most importantly, what is most likely to result in somebody waking up in the morning with bleached eyebrows and their feet in a bowl of beans.
It’s a great idea to give your games of choice some thought before the stag do itself. Everyone knows at least one, so send out a group e-mail in advance asking for suggestions and see if you can get a bit of a list going. If you’re feeling particularly organised as best man, you might even want to nominate one member of the party to be Master Of Boozing – someone to explain the rules, dish out the punishments, decide which game’s coming up next and so on.
If you’re struggling for ideas, here are 12 classics to get you started:
1. Beer Pong
Okay, so it’s not very British – but these days everyone loves a bit of Beer Pong. Best of all it combines getting lashed with competitive sport, which tends to appeal to the majority of blokes. Basically, you set up two triangles of cups (preferably the red ones they drink out of in American movies), each containing a few fingers of beer, at either end of a table (a ping-pong table if you have one). Then, in two teams, you take turns lobbing a table-tennis ball in the direction of the cups. If you manage to score, your opponent has to polish off the beer. Simple. Except of course that the more you lose, the more you drink, which seriously impairs your playing skills – so it can be a pretty vicious circle. People take Beer Pong incredibly seriously, and in fact, there even a world championships held in Las Vegas every year. There are about a billion rules, but at its most basic it’s just a stupidly fun way of getting everyone trolleyed. Oh, and if you’re feeling evil later on in the night you can replace the beer with vodka (but bear in mind things will go downhill pretty quickly from there…!).
This one’s not only a good lark but it’s also tremendously loud, which is a bonus. Everyone knows the nursery rhyme The Grand Old Duke Of York, which makes this an easy game to set up – you stand in a big circle, sing the song, and then repeat it ad infinitum removing a different word each round. Anyone who accidentally sings the nominated word instead of leaving a pause has to drink. ‘Marched’ and ‘halfway’ are easy, but taking out ‘up’ is bound to catch people out.
Thumbmaster is an absolute classic, and best of all can be dragged out for the entire weekend. Before you arrive, nominate somebody ‘The Thumbmaster’. That person can then start a game of Thumbmaster at any time they desire, simply by placing their thumb on the edge of a table. The last person to cotton on and follow suit has to drink.
As above, but this time signalled by the designated ‘Headmaster’ laying his head down on a table or piece of furniture. Less subtle than Thumbmaster and more likely to result in people spilling drinks or accidentally knocking themselves out (and for this reason perhaps best avoided in public!).
5. Naked Bus
Naked Bus does exactly what it says on the tin, introducing that classic element of the traditional Stag Weekend – male nudity. For some reason, blokes love getting their kit off around each other, and something about the ceremony of a stag do provide the ideal opportunity for this kind of japery. You won’t be surprised to hear that this game requires the use of a bus, although the astute amongst you could, of course, adapt the basic rules to make the game feasible on a boat or even just in the pub (maybe not advisable unless you’ve managed to engineer a private lock-in!).
If you’ve hired a mini-bus to take you to or from some element of the stag do spice things up on the journey home by yelling ‘NAKED BUS!!’. On this command, everyone has to get their kit off as quickly as possible, with the last person in the buff suffering some terrible punishment, perhaps carried out whilst still starkers (provided it doesn’t involve live animals or naked flames).
A simple drinking game that works really well as an ice-breaker or ‘palette cleanser’, if you will, between more complicated games. Players form a circle and each extends one clenched fist. During each round and on the caller’s command, every player chooses to either open or close their hand, therefore representing either ‘zero’ (closed) or ‘five’ (open). On their turn, each contestant is charged with preemptively guessing the total points in the ring (which, at the risk of stating the obvious, will always be a multiple of five). Anyone who guesses correctly is excused from the circle, eventually leaving one poor sod who has to down his entire beer as punishment.
Simple but hilarious, this game can be called by any stag at any point and requires the assembled group to count sequentially to 21 according to a series of rules. The stag starting the game announces either a left or right movement round the circle, and counts ‘one’. The next person in line can either count ‘two’ (moving the game onto the next person), ‘two, three’ (sending it back in the reverse direction) or ‘two, three, four’, which causes the count to skip a player. Mistakes are inevitably punished, with the unfortunate fella who ends up counting 21 suffering most severely of all…
The precise rules to Ring Of Fire differ depending on who you’re talking to, but the standard premise is this – players stand around a large cup known as ‘The King’s Cup’, an expansive selection of booze and a deck of cards. Each card in a suit heralds a different drinking challenge, everything from Thumbmaster (explained above) to a full-on game of ‘Never Have I Ever…’. We don’t quite have space here to catalogue them all, but the Ring Of Fire Wikipedia page hosts a pretty definitive list. Prone to make you very, very hammered.
Similar in principle to Fives, Spoof is a straightforward drinking game utilising coins and cunning. Players form a circle around an empty pint glass with their left palms upward and open and their right hands closed, concealing three coins. Hiding their hands behind their backs, players pass the coins between their hands leaving a randomly chosen number in their right fist. Extending their closed right hands back out in the circle, combatants proceed to guess how many coins remain in play. Each player guesses and no one is allowed to repeat a previous estimate. At the end of the round, the true number of coins is revealed and anyone who guessed correctly is allowed to leave the game, adding a shot of something grim to the pint glass as they go. The loser finds himself faced with a very dirty pint indeed…
This is a nifty little drinking game which works well played by a few people in a quiet corner somewhere, perhaps during a break in proceedings. A category is chosen – let’s say, for the sake of argument, sports brands – and each player has to name one, in turn, to avoid drinking punishments. The competition is spiced up with the automatic disqualification of any answer beginning with ‘s’ or ‘p’; so, in this case, if you answered ‘Speedo’ or ‘Puma’, you’d face a finger or two of booze…
If you fancy a bit of word-play, give this one a go. The action moves in a circle from one player to another, each tasked with saying ‘One sock cutter, he cuts socks’ (and then ‘Two sock cutters’, ‘Three sock cutters’ and so on) without accidentally letting slip the inevitable expletive. Slip-ups earn the offenders several fingers of beer. Also, works with ‘One smart fellow, he felt smart’ and the classic ‘One pheasant plucker’.
Another game we’ve imported from the States, this one will also appeal to any sports fans in the group. Two teams face off across a table, a cup of beer standing in front of each contestant. The first player on each team downs their drink and then attempts to flip it up and over so that it lands face down on the table, sitting on its mouth. This is quite a lot harder than it sounds. Upon each successful cup-flipping, play passes along until every player in the team have completed their go. Whichever team finishes drinking and flipping first are crowned the winner.
Stag Drinking Games – Only The Start
We’ve only scratched the surface here, of course, but there ought to be enough in this list to keep everyone pretty merry for most of the weekend. Just make sure you stock up on hangover food… ‘cos you’re gonna need it!