We can’t think of a situation where a good drink and a laugh with friends isn’t a great idea. Okay, maybe it isn’t if you’re still at work, but you get the idea. Games and alcohol are great social glue. If you’ve got roommates who haven’t fully warmed up to you yet or two friend groups you’re trying to introduce to each other, we’ve got you covered with these drinking card games that are perfect for breaking the ice (and getting drunk).
Are you here for drinking card games that use a standard deck of cards, drinking cards games that don’t (a.k.a board game-style card games), or really really NSFW drinking card games? Hit the table of contents below to jump straight there because this is looooong.
5 Drinking Card Games to Play With a Standard Deck of Cards
There are tons of card-based board games out there, but if you need a drinking card game you can play right now without having to look for a special deck, here are some that you can play with a standard deck of cards.
Shithead, a.k.a Palace, Karma, China Hand, and Ten-Two Slide is like Uno but with a standard deck of cards. The goal is to get rid of all your cards and not be the last person to discard all your cards. The game was popularized by backpackers back in the 20th century. That’s also how I learned about the game. I met a pair of Australian backpackers in Hanoi who were playing Shithead over pints of bia hoi.
The game accommodates 2 to 5 players with a standard 52-card deck. Cards rank from 2 to A, K, Q, J, 10,…, 2. The dealer deals three sets of cards to each player, and players can exchange cards between their hands before play.
The objective is to avoid being the last to have cards. Players take turns playing cards of equal or higher rank on a discard pile. Special rules apply to twos and tens. If a player completes a set of four cards, the pile is cleared. The game continues until one player remains with cards and becomes the “shithead,” responsible for the next deal and additional duties like making tea. Players drop out when they successfully discard all their cards.
You don’t need to be an Egyptian or an ancient alien to play Pyramid (or Beeramid, if you’re feeling fun), a drinking game where you organize cards into a pyramid (duh).
Pyramid starts with the dealer revealing the first card at the base of the Beeramid and announcing its value. Players who claim to have that card can distribute one drink. The person called can either drink or challenge by saying “bullshit.” If the claim is accurate, the caller must take the card, and the recipient drinks double. If incorrect, the caller drinks twice.
After completing a row, the next row’s first card is drawn, and all cards in that row share the same value. Players on each row can give drinks equal to their row number. Bullshit calls double the row value. If someone has multiple copies of a card, they can distribute or split them, revealing both if challenged.
In the fifth row, a successful bullshit call typically results in consuming a full Penalty Beer. This game can lead to high intoxication, especially with more than five levels.
3. Higher or lower / Screw the dealer
Sit in a circle with a deck of cards placed facedown. Rotate the role of the dealer among participants, with the dealer holding the deck. Flip one card face up and announce its details, like “Seven of hearts.” The individual to the left of the dealer must predict whether the next card will be higher or lower than a seven (where Jack, Queen, King, and Ace are considered high).
If the prediction is correct, the dealer takes a drink, and the subsequent person to the left continues by choosing higher or lower. The cycle continues, with the dealer drinking each time a correct answer is given until someone gives a wrong answer. When that happens, the person to their left then assumes the role of the dealer, and the game continues.
President is a card game with Chinese origins where players aim to be the first to play all their cards. The first player to go out becomes the President, the second becomes the Vice-President, and the last is the Scum. The Scum must share their highest card with the President in the next round and clear the table. Rounds are played with a pre-determined number, and the player with the highest points wins.
The game begins with the player holding the 3 of clubs starting the first round. Play proceeds around the table, with each player deciding whether to play or pass. Players can play cards higher than the previous or sets like pairs, triples, or four of a kind. Passing doesn’t prevent playing in the next turn. For instance, if Player 2 plays a 5, Player 3 with a pair of 4’s can beat it. The game involves strategic decisions and continues as described, with special rules like the Four of a Kind exception.
5. Kings/Ring of Fire
Kings a.k.a Ring of Fire is a simple drinking card game. You put a large cup in the center of the table and gather ‘round like it’s a king’s court. You can either organize your cards in a ring around the cup or just draw cards from a shuffled deck. Depending on what card you pull, you follow these rules.
- Ace (Waterfall) – Each player starts drinking at the same time as the person to their left. NO player can stop drinking until the person before them stops.
- Two (You) – Choose anyone to take a drink.
- Three (Me) – The person who draws this takes a drink.
- Four (Floor)- The last person to touch the floor takes a drink.
- Five (Guys) – All the guys at the table drink.
- Six (Girls) – All the girls at the table drink.
- Seven (Heaven) – If you draw this card, raise your hand above your head. Every other player must do so as well. The last person takes a drink.
- Eight (Mate)- Choose someone to be your mate. For the rest of the game, they drink when you drink.
- Nine (Rhyme)-You say a word and the person to your right has to say a word that rhymes. If someone can’t think of a word, that person takes a drink. You can’t reuse words.
- Ten (Categories) – Come up with a category of things. The person to your right must name something that falls within the category. If someone can’t name something, they drink.
- Jack – Everyone plays Never Have I Ever.
- Queen (Questions) – Ask someone a question. That person then asks someone else a question. This continues until someone messes up or fails to ask a question. That person drinks. No question can be repeated.
- King (King/King;s Cup) – Set a rule to be followed, e.g. stand on one foot when you drink, only speak in an accent, etc. When each of the first 3 Kings is drawn, the person who drew it puts some of their drink into the King’s Cup in the center of the table. When the 4th King is drawn, the person who drew it must drink the entire King’s Cup.)
5 Drinking Card Games That Are Board Games
1. Cards Against Humanity
Does this even need explaining? Cards Against Humanity is the original offensive drinking card game with sets that run the whole gamut from pop culture references to things that can have you feeling like you want to shove your drinking buddy into gravel. A little touchy in the wrong crowd, but fun nonetheless.
If you’ve been hiding under a rock, it’s played like this: One player (the Card Czar) sets down a card and other players put down cards to fill in the blanks of the statement from the card originally chosen. Players vote which player made the funniest addition and that player gets a point.
2. Cat in the Box
Cat in the Box is a drinking card game based on the classic question ‘Is Schrodinger’s cat dead or alive?’ but instead of taking it seriously, you drink over the horrific fate of a quantumly doomed cat.
In Cat in the Box, the starting player plays a card, and others must follow suit if possible. The player with the highest card in that suit wins the trick. Unlike typical trick-taking games, cards don’t have numbered suits; instead, players declare a color when playing a card. Once a color is declared, that card is eliminated for the round. Trump cards can only be played after declaring a suit is gone from your hand.
The game introduces area control corresponding to your trick bid. Achieving your bid earns additional points for adjacent tokens on the game board. If you can’t play a card because all cards in your hand are taken, the game stops. The player causing this loses a point for each trick won, while others gain points for tricks, bids, and area control. The player with the most points at the end wins.
Dominion is a deck-building game which might sound boring, but think about it: If you’re friends are too hard to get drunk or aren’t easily confused, you might want to throw them a little challenge. Nothing like trying to manage resources and fight other players while you’re trying not to throw up.
There are homebrewed (get it) rules for turning Dominion into a drinking game. You can try this:
To add a drinking element to Dominion, you can introduce rules that link card actions to taking shots:
Specific Card Shots: Designate a card like Province/Colony, or Copper/Estate, for a shot. Players can choose to buy these cards and inflict a shot on others, creating a strategic decision.
Curse Shots: Make it a rule that players take a shot when they receive a Curse. To balance, implement a penalty shot when someone buys a card that inflicts Curses, creating a negative incentive.
Variable Shots: Attach shots to specific triggers, such as reacting to attacks, buying multiple cards in a turn, successfully trashing a Curse, winning Tournament Prize cards, etc. Customize rules based on Dominion cards like Embargo, Tribute, and Ill-Gotten Gains.
Drinking Economy: Establish a “drinking economy” where players can impose consequences for shots, such as discarding a point token to force others to drink. Sacrifice points for potential advantages.
Remember to keep the game flexible and tailor rules to the cards and players in each round.
4. You Laugh You Drink
Think Cards Against Humanity but you’re trying to make each other laugh because if you laugh, you lose. That’s You Laugh You Drink.
The game features cards with amusing challenges, each more outrageous than the last. Examples include tasks like getting close to the target without touching, impersonating drunk Santa, sharing embarrassing stories about the target, or doing a shy version of the Magic Mike dance.
In each round, the Joker selects someone to make laugh. The chosen person must do their best to keep a straight face while the card’s action is carried out. All other players are free to laugh except the target. If the target laughs, they take a drink.
5. Under the Influence
Under the Influence is a drinking game that turns traditional dares into a thrilling and daring challenge. It’s not for the faint-hearted, so be warned and prepared for a wild time. The game includes 200 cards filled with questions, challenges, and dares, ranging from tame to completely inappropriate. Some cards might be over the top, but there are plenty more to choose from. Easy to play and learn, this game takes you out of your comfort zone and guarantees lots of laughter.
Sit in a circle. Start playing in a clockwise direction with the first player picking up a card from the deck.
5 Really NSFW Drinking Card Games
1. Truth or Drink: Extra Dirty Edition
Truth or Dare but it’s a card game with prompts so you don’t spend eons waiting for someone to think of a question or a dare. Honestly, nothing kills fun more than waiting. Truth or Drink kills those downtimes so you all get piss drunk and laugh your asses off.
2. Drawing Without Dignity
Dignity? Never heard of it. Drawing Without Dignity is a drawing charades game but with R-rated prompts. Not the best game to play with family and work acquaintances, but definitely compatible with an Etch-a-Sketch, assuming you still have your fine motor skills.
3. That’s What She Said
That’s What She Said is Cards Against Humanity but with kinky innuendos. Need we say more? The rules are also the same except the kinkiest answer wins.
4. Disturbed Friends
Disturbed Friends is a card game where your friends vote for whoever would be involved in whatever messed-up scenario the card you pull talks about.
5. Gentle Jack: The Party Game for Bad Friends
Gentle Jack is a drinking card game for bad friends and if that doesn’t sound intriguing, I don’t know what does. The game is a mix of dares, drinks, and artifact-like cards that introduce new mechanics to the game. Some cards can ‘curse’ a player or wipe out other players entirely. Gentle Jack is a breath of fresh air in a sea of Cards Against Humanity#1234567 drinking card games.
While it’s not out yet, we’ve been playing with the prototype. If you want to be early to the game, join the Gentle Jack Discord server