I’ve been traveling for a long time. The most common misconception that my friends back home have is that I’m constantly seeing new places and going on death-defying adventures. The truth is, long-term travel has basically just been me playing Jenga or Uno in different countries. Maybe I’ll go see a waterfall in the afternoon but at the end of the day, when I’m cozied up in my warm hostel and the drinks come out, so does the Jenga. Socializing is crucial for long-term solo travelers and backpackers, and there is no better way to loosen up those boundaries and morals than with a good old fashioned drinking game.
Over the last four years, I’ve had my fair share of drinks and card games. Some of them are guaranteed go-tos. I mean, everyone knows how to play Uno. Others, you’ll have cultural clashes over what the rules actually are. Beer pong is infamous for having non-universal rules, although as an American, my rules are always correct. Don’t even get me started on King’s Cup. I mean, no one can even agree whether it’s called King’s Cup or Circle of Death. How can you expect everyone to agree on what the rules are for all thirteen cards? You can’t. Thankfully, some will set the rules for you. Since technology is a thing now, drinking game apps like Betchoo will set the rules for you so all you have to do is pay attention and drink.
There are a lot of ways to spice up the getting drunk process. Based on my boozy travel experiences, these are the best drinking games that you can play at a hostel.
No matter how unclear the universal rules might be, beer pong is undeniably a universal game. Invented in America and glorified by every college flick out there, beer pong is the stuff of legends among travelers. It’s weird as an American. I mean, we’ve been playing this since we were 15, long before we were even allowed to drink. It’s not that big of a deal, right? But you go anywhere else in the world and beer pong is the main attraction. Seriously, non-Americans get so hyped up over beer pong it is insane. It’s almost heartbreaking having to crush those losers every time.
Another classic. Uno is great because it is portable. You can be the life of the party if you have a deck of Uno. Of course, Uno isn’t supposed to be a drinking game but hey, we are backpackers after all. We turn everything into a drinking game. The adapted drinking rules are basically, for every Draw 2 or Draw 4, you’ve got to drink the amount of sips or shots, depending on how aggressive you want to be. If they stack, then yikes, you’re in for a big gulp. Loser finishes their drink, of course.
Circle of Death aka King’s Cup aka Ring of Fire
This is probably the go-to card game for travelers looking to kick their night off. The only problem is that some people will get much, much drunker than others. A group of strangers can easily become a group of friends (or enemies) after a game of King’s Cup. You know the rules, don’t you? Well, if you don’t, here’s my take on the game, although everyone seems to have different rules. Spread the deck out in a circle around a cup in the middle. That cup is the King’s Cup. Every time someone draws a king from the deck, they put part of their drink into the cup. Whoever draws the last king has to down the cup.
Then of course, the other cards.
- Ace: Waterfall (person who drew card starts drinking and everyone follows. You can’t stop drinking until the person before you stops drinking)
- Two: You (pick a person to drink)
- Three: Me (you drink)
- Four: Whores (girls drink)
- Five: Drive (the vroom-skrrt game)
- Six: Dicks (guys drink)
- Seven: Heaven (last person to point to the skies drinks)
- Eight: Mates (pick a person who has to drink with you every time)
- Nine: Rhyme (pick a word and going in a circle, everyone has to come up with a word that rhymes with it. Drink if you can’t come up with one)
- Ten: Categories (pick a category and going in a circle, come up with something in that category. Drink if you can’t come up with one)
- Jack: Never Have I Ever (I looked it up online just to double check and the rules said Thumbmaster. Screw that, it sounds lame. Never have I ever is better).
- Queen: Question master (You are now the question master. Every time you ask a question, the others have to respond in the form of a question. If not, they drink)
- King: Pour your drink in the middle cup. Last king drawn has to down it.
We are living in the 21st Century, aren’t we? Let’s use that to our advantage. If you don’t have any cards, beer pong tables, or other props at your disposal, then let us turn to our phones. Betchoo is a drinking game app that can turn casual drinking into something significantly crazier. The gist of it is that the phone gets passed around and each person gets a turn. Each turn consists of the app giving you a challenge or asking you a question. It also tells you how many drinks are at stake. Next, you have to pick a competitor or multiple that you will challenge or make a bet with.
Hence the name, Betchoo, as in like I bet you 5 drinks that you won’t know the answer to this question. Or I bet you 10 drinks that I can name more types of beer than you. If you win the challenge or the other challenger(s) fail to complete their task, then the others drink. If you lose, you booze. The phone gets passed around and each person gets a turn to either screw someone over or get screwed over. Each round, you only get ten seconds to answer or act something out, so it is an exciting and fast-paced game. Categories include charades, categories, who wants to drink a million beers, and a few other games that get significantly more fun as people get drunker. Betchoo turns getting drunk into something much more fun and competitive. Grudges will undoubtedly be built so be careful who you target.
Here are some example questions from the app.
The app is free to download on the App Store and on the Google Play Store. The game’s simplicity makes it ideal for meeting people and serves as a quick and fun icebreaker to accelerate the intoxication process. Anyone can hop in on the game at any time without cramping the vibe. Betchoo is completely free, although you can purchase some of the themed packs to spice things up a bit. These packs include the Savage Pack, a Vs. Pack, and keep this between us, but a Traveler’s Pack is coming soon. Betchoo is well worth the download. What do you have to lose? Besides your dignity, potentially.
21 (Cheers Guv’nah)
This one is easy enough. Everyone goes around in a circle counting to 21. Whoever reaches 21 gets to make a new rule regarding the numbers. For example, it can be something as simple as switching the numbers around. 10 is now 4 and vice versa. So it’ll go: 1, 2, 3, 10, 5, etc. Whoever messes it up has to drink and you have to start over. It can get really complicated, especially with more difficult rules. I’ve had games go something like Uno, moo, 17, dickface, *sex noise*, etc.
It takes a while to get going but can get really fun in the later rounds, especially because the drunker you get, the harder it becomes to remember all of the rules.
Just like Uno, Jenga isn’t really a drinking game, but everything becomes a drinking game when you are in a hostel. To spice things up a bit, a lot of hostels and bars will have modified Jenga blocks with dares or rules written on them that you have to follow when you pull them out. With rules like “text your ex” or “take off your pants” things can get a lot more exciting. And those are just the ones that are PG-13 enough to mention on this blog. Of course, loser has to down their drink and is the shame of the entire party.
Another one of those American drinking games that has spread all throughout the world, Flip Cup is simple and fun. The name says it all. You flip a cup. There are two teams on opposite side of the table. Each person has a cup filled with alcohol in front of them. The game starts at one end of the table. Each person has to down their drink and then flip their cup so that it lands face-down perfectly upright. Then the next person goes and so on until one team has won. Simple enough, but it gets crazy competitive. And best of all, all you need are cups and alcohol.
Lucky enough to have a billiards table at your hostel? Well, one way to incorporate drinking into pool is by playing a game of Killer Pool. Basically, each person has three or so lives and everyone takes turns playing. There is no limit on how many players can play, which makes it much more fun than the head-to-head version of pool where only 2-4 people get to have fun. Everyone gets a shot and whether you make it or miss it, you pass the cue stick on to the next player.
Every time you miss a shot, you lose a life. The only way to gain a life is if you make the eight-ball. Last person to lose all of their lives wins, and it cycles over and over until all the balls are made. Basically, drink every time you miss a shot and down your drink once you lose all of your lives.
Like Betchoo, Picolo is an app for those looking for a more technological and more modern platform. The Picolo app is a drinking game where you simply enter the names of all the players and let the app do the rest. The app will draw from the pool of names and each turn will give some random players or all the players a set of rules to follow.
Never Have I Ever
No assembly required. This is probably the easiest drinking game to play as it requires nothing but your fingers and all of your sinful experiences. Every person puts five fingers up and you go around in a circle stating things that you’ve never done before. Every time someone has done that thing, they have to put their finger down and take a drink. For example, “never have I ever had a threesome.” All threesome-havers put a finger down and take a drink. Loser goes to hell, and has to down their drink.
Of course, there are plenty more drinking games out there. I can’t think of a community of people more creative than backpackers on a budget. Seriously, anything can be a drinking game if you give a backpacker a beer. But for those of you looking for some quick ideas, there you are. Let me know what your favorite hostel drinking games are in the comments below.