Kids love their drinking games, and too often they pay a heavy price for playing them. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is responsible for the deaths of 5000 under-21s annually, and for the hospitalization of 190,000. And that’s just in America.
It’s impossible to say how many of these are related to drinking games, but given drinking games’ particular popularity with young people, it’s a safe bet that many of these individuals owe part of their misfortune to a few too many rounds of some game.
The problem with drinking games is that they encourage consumption of a huge amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. This can lead to a spike in blood alcohol levels, which in turn can put a person in the hospital... Or the morgue.
So which games are the most dangerous? It’s impossible to say definitively, but playing most of the ones on this list are sure to involve drinking to a level deemed highly dangerous if not potentially fatal. If any of these games come up at your New Year's Eve party this year, give them a miss.
15 Vodka Eyeballing
You have to wonder about the genius that came up with this “game.” First off, it’s hardly fun. Playing involves taking an open bottle of vodka and pouring the drink into your eye socket. It can be painful and, needless to say, is not good for your eye. What’s more, it’s not as though eyeballing is a more direct way to consume alcohol, or to achieve some sense of euphoria. It’s just going to damage your cornea.
There has been some controversy about whether or not this game is a real thing. Some have argued the phenomenon is really just a few isolated cases. But isn’t one time too many?
14 Power Hour/Centurion
A sure-fire way to get trashed is to play this gem of a game. With power hour, players consume a shot of beer every minute for an hour. Centurion is the same idea, but for 100 minutes instead.
This game is just all kinds of terrible. Expect to consume about 7.5 bottles of beer while playing Power Hour – and all that in an hour. If you're playing to kick-start an evening, that’s a pretty heavy alcoholic base to work with.
Don’t forget, too, that your tolerance for alcohol plays a lot into how dangerous a game can be. If you’re a light-weight, stay away from this game.
13 21 On 21
This is another one that’s hardly a game. To celebrate turning 21, the lucky birthday person downs 21 shots of liquor during their birthday celebrations. That’s it. That’s the game.
Its popularity on American college campuses led to studies being conducted to figure out how bad things were. According to USNews.com, it was estimated that playing the game led 49 percent of men and 35 percent of women to arrive at a blood alcohol level of at least .26 – the range where serious issues, such as comas and death, can arise.
So, if you’re going to play this game, don’t.
12 Bet Your Liver/Arrogance
This game is less overtly dangerous than the ones preceding. Really, how much this game damages you depends on you. And what you’re drinking.
To play, you and a group of friends must have a large communal glass and your own drinks. In turn, each player must fill the glass with an amount of alcohol and then flip a coin, calling the result while it’s in the air. Get it right and you get to pass the glass on to the next person. Get it wrong and you drink – and go again.
If you have a lucky friend who always brings hard liquor to a party, steer clear.
11 Beer Darts
This one is a different kind of dangerous. See, where most of the others on this list are dangerous mostly for how much alcohol they make you consume, this one finds itself here because it combines drinking beer with throwing darts. That’s right, the flying, pointy, metal kind.
There are various rules involved in this game, all dictating which situations warrant a drink, and then how much of a drink to take. There’s also a rule in the game that handles a player getting stabbed through with a dart, which is both obvious and horrifying. If looking like a heroin addict is your bag, consider this game.
10 Russian Roulette
Please do keep in mind that this is not the game with the loaded pistol. No, instead you get a circle of six shots. The default way of playing is to make five of them water and one vodka – the bullet in the chamber, so to speak. Each player drinks one shot, in turn, until somebody bites the bullet. But that hardly makes for the kind of drinking experience that most players go in for.
Far more popular – and possibly more dangerous, depending on how much you drink before/after playing – is the version with five shots of vodka and one shot of water. Awful.
This is one that, by rights, should not be on the list. Sure, media outlets lost their minds when a bunch of people died playing this game, but they left out a pretty crucial detail when they reported on the thing: you have to be pretty stupid to kill yourself playing Neknomination.
For this viral craze, players would receive a nomination and have to chug one drink on camera. This was combined with some sort of stunt/trick/silly presentation. So, sure, it’s a dangerous game if your drink is a couple of pints of liquor. It’s dangerous if your stunt is to jump into a river. Play normally and you should be just fine.
8 Edward Fortyhands
You tape a forty-ounce bottle to each of your hands and can only release a hand once that hand’s drink has been consumed. It’s a silly game, fun to watch in action, but it can also lead to consuming a lot of alcohol quite quickly.
Here’s the thing about hands: we use them pretty often. Combine that with being drunk, and you’re going to get awful tired of walking around with bottles stuck to your fingers. And it’s not like you can just remove them. That’s not how the game works.
Needless to say, in the wrong hands, this game can be enough to lead to bad things.
7 Let’s Get Wasted
By most accounts this game is broken, which either makes it extra brilliant, extra dangerous, or extra stupid. Depends on your perspective.
Players download the “Let’s Get Wasted” app and then input the names of players, available drinks, and blood alcohol limits. Then the app tells players which drinks to consume, and when.
Player complaints mostly center on the game not assigning enough drinks to certain players, sometimes along gender lines. With the number of drinking games out there, it seems like this broken one might not be the best investment of time. Still, having a game estimate your blood alcohol level is far from terrible.
This game is stupid. How stupid? So stupid. To play, grab your beverage of choice, and sit around with friends while listening to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” The first player drinks from the first time the song says “Thunder” to the second. The second does from the second to the third, and so on, in a circle, until the song ends.
Again, the danger here is more in what you’re drinking than in the game itself. Still, there are a couple of points where there are long pauses between utterances of the word “Thunder,” so there’s some prolonged drinking to be had for a couple of lucky individuals.
5 Chardee MacDennis
This was once a fictional game from the show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” but as with any imaginary product of pop culture, fans have done their utmost to flesh it out and bring it into the real world.
There are many different rules with a variety of effects, and the rules change every time you advance to a new round. The first round requires that all players drink wine, the second beer, and the third hard alcohol.
The game encourages cheating, so the odds are good that you wouldn't get too ill playing this. But play it without cheating? Good thing the rules recommend having a First Aid kit handy.
4 Boat Race/Flip Cup
Boat racing and flip cup are essentially the same. Two teams line up on opposite sides of a table and drink down a beer, one at a time. With boat racing, you must wait until your preceding teammate finishes their drink and touches the cup to the table. With Flip Cup, the rules are similar, only the preceding player must flip their cup so that the top lands on the table.
This isn’t a particularly dangerous game in isolation, but play a few too many rounds and you could find yourself in trouble. And let’s be honest: you’re going to want redemption when you lose a round.
Again, play this game intelligently (read: don’t drink to the point of making yourself ill) and you’ll be fine. But that’s easier said than done when going through tens of cards to find the four kings necessary to end the game.
Players sit around a table with a large glass in the middle, and spread a circle of cards around the glass. In turn, players draw a card from the circle, with every card having an action assigned to the card. The big one is “Waterfall,” which can become an endurance chugging competition. Each King corresponds to filling the glass in the middle by one quarter. Whoever plays the final King drinks the foul mixture.
2 F*ck The Dealer
One person begins as dealer, and peeks at the top card in a deck. They then ask the player to their left which card they believe it is. If the player guesses correctly, the dealer takes a predetermined (large) number of swigs. If the player guesses incorrectly, they are told the card is either “higher” or “lower,” and then get a second attempt. If they get it right, the dealer drinks. If they don’t, they have to drink the difference between the cards. If the dealer beats three players, the player to their left becomes dealer.
The cards are then lined up so players can get an idea of what has already been played. It gets to a point where the dealer has little chance of passing, and is forced to drink huge amounts of alcohol.
1 Vietnam War
Beer pong is fun, and probably not too dangerous. The Vietnam War game, on the other hand, has potential for disaster.
It operates on a similar principle – two teams, with ten cups per team, and the goal is to sink the ping pong ball into the opposing team’s cups. The thing is, “Team Vietnam’s” cups are full to the brim with beer, and scattered all over their side of the table. “Team America’s” are filled to a normal amount, but when a ball lands in one it isn’t removed – it’s refilled and replaced in the triangle.
The game ends when all of Vietnam’s cups have been eliminated. Vietnam also gets a chance at “The Tet Offensive” once all its cups are out. Someone flickers the lights and Vietnam gets to try for all of America’s cups. If they sink them all in a row, they win.