Beer pong is a great American game that is played throughout dormitories, homes and bars all over the world. I believe that it is one of the greatest drinking games ever and, despite its simplicity, it will never get old. However, there are some interesting rules and variations to the game that I have come across and I encourage everyone to spice up their game by trying a new rule every now and then.
First, I would like to draw the distinction between beer pong and Beirut. Beer pong originated as a game played with paddles, very similar to ping pong, but played with beer in hand or on the table. This game evolved into “Beirut.” Beirut, besides being the capital of Lebanon, originally referred to playing a drinking game that consisted of throwing a ping-pong ball into an opponent’s beer-filled cups. I could care less whether you call it beer pong or Beirut, but for the remainder of this article, I shall use the name beer pong to refer to the game played by tossing ping-pong balls into the opponent’s cups. With that said, check out these variations on one of the greatest college games ever.
“Overs” is a rule I discovered in San Luis Obispo. When playing overs, any time the ball is thrown past the cups without any contact with a cup or the table, the player who threw the ball must drink one of his beers. Generally, the player who threw the ball over picks which cup he drinks, but you can modify the rule so that the other team picks instead. Either way, this is a great way to play a quick game of Beer Pong in between classes or on your lunch break.
The satellite rule can be added by declaring that if, at any time, an opponent has a beer in hand and it is your turn, you may throw the ball into the cup in the opponent’s hand and finish the game instantly. This rule is fun because it changes the game very little, but, if accomplished, the game will be remembered forever.
NBA Jam rules are a great way to reminisce on the classic fun had while playing this video game as a kid. If a player makes two consecutive shots, his teammate must announce, “He’s heating up.” If the player makes the third consecutive cup, his teammate must shout in an announcer-like voice, “HE’S ON FIRE!” The player gets the ball back and continues shooting until he misses. This, like the satellite rule, has a small chance of happening, but when it does, the players and spectators go crazy.
“Come-backs” or “Open Table” can turn beer pong into a more physical game. This rule states that if a player misses an opponent’s cup, he can earn another shot by getting the ball before it falls off the table. This usually happens when a player throws short and the ball rolls back to him. If you are a big fan of this rule, you can bend the beer pong table slightly (almost like a half-pipe) and the ball will remain on the table more often. I once saw a variation of this rule in San Diego where the ball was always in play. As soon as a player’s ball made contact with the table, a cup, an opponent, or the ground, anyone could grab the ball. This was very entertaining to watch, but resulted in a few wrestling matches and a sprained ankle.
“Cluster-Fucks” or “Explosion” can quickly change the momentum of a game. When playing doubles, if both players on the same team make the ball in the same cup, every cup touching that cup must be consumed as well. The team then gets the balls back to continue shooting. A more common variation to this rule is that after both players make it in the same cup, the other team must consume three cups.
Beer pong, like poker, has hundreds of variations and rules that modify the game. I encourage you to try some of these new rules during the next few days. You might find one you like and even change your house rules.
Daily Nexus columnist Ray Collins will have another column later this week where he will discuss his own beer pong rules and game variations like 4-on-4 and Battle Ship.