True American: Our New Favorite Drinking Game

True American — undoubtedly the most complicated drinking game of all time.

True American is Candy Land meets Hot Lava, with a few American presidents and booze thrown in for good measure. It’s TVs most popular drinking game, brought to you by ‘New Girl’. Show writers claim they had no idea what they were doing when writing the game into the show, and the cast had no idea how to play it, so everyone made up the rules as they went — which is why the game is elaborate and borderline incomprehensible. But, who cares — you’ll be totally drunk while playing anyway, and nothing makes sense at that point. Here’s how to play (kind of…).

1. Pick Teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, everyone holds up a random number of fingers against their foreheads. You are teamed up with anyone that is holding up one less finger than you.

2. Gather Supplies
  • 24-pack of beer
  • 1 bottle of Jack Daniels (or the hard liquor of your choice)

The castle is made up of cans of beer and a bottle of liquor. The bottle of liquor is the King of the Castle. The beers are Pawns, which are the Soldiers of the Secret Order. The Pawns are lined up in four lines radiating outward from the King.

3. Create a Layout

There are four zones and an alternate zone is a “crazy” zone (designate different corners of the room). Since the floor is molten lava, create a trail using chairs, cushions, tables, etc. through the zones. You must use the trail to travel through the zones. If you fall, you die in the lava. The Castle is at the center of the zones.

4. Start the Game

The game starts with a shotgun tip-off. Then, someone shouts “One, two, three, four, JFK!” and all other players yell “FDR!” at which point everyone runs to the center table, grabs a beer and picks the nearest object to stand on.

5. Game Play

Players move around the game area in a clockwise direction. The player whose turn it is always moves one space; the other players must “win” their moves. The player moving has three ways to provide the other players with a way to win their move. Players take turns attempting to earn moves. There are three actions that can be taken on a turn.

  • The Count: All players yell, “One, two, three,” then hold a number of fingers up to their head. Same as how teams are picked.
  • Complete a Quote: The player may slowly speak a quote from history or pop culture. Any other player that is able to jump in and complete the quote in tandem wins. Winners may move two spots.
  • Common Trait: The player may yell out two people, places, or things. Any other player that can reply with what these two things have in common wins. Winners may move three spots.
6. Winning & Losing

After all the Pawns have been taken, the King is vulnerable. The next player to land on a center space may finish their beer in hand and sip from the King. They have won.

There are two ways to lose:

  • No beer in hand (or only an empty beer in hand)
  • Stepping on the floor/molten lava

Never fear — you can still get back in. Chug one full beer and let the other players decide what space you should start on when you come re-enter the game.

Random Rules
  • Players must have a beer in hand at all times and may not have more than three beers. Players may only take a new Pawn (beer) from the Castle when they are in one of the four center spaces (or at the end of their respective trail.)
  • If a player shouts, “JFK,” other players must respond by shouting, “FDR,” then finish their beer.
  • When a player finishes their beer, they yell, “All trash belongs…” and all other players must yell, “in the junk yard!” at which point empty cans are thrown into a trash can or designated trash pile.

So, there you have it — the most complex drinking game of all time. Cheers.



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