The first weekend of college has played out the same way since Gerald Ford puked on a cop after too many beer bongs his freshman year at Michigan. Between the IVFP, a high concentration of free drinks, and the close proximity of house parties, I.V. has a truly steep learning curve for the faded, and it was on full display over this past week. The weak individuals in the freshman herd got picked off and are still languishing in jail or next to the toilet. Sophomores, after throwing their first rager, were dealing with their first noise violation, laptop theft, destroyed house or 15-year-old diabetic pass out in insulin shock. Third-years already began the countdown to turning 21, and are discussing constantly the wild purchases they’re going to make at S.O.S. once they stop having to throw five bones on the next cheap 30-pack. Finally, the seniors and super-seniors, after acting “over it,” were simply trying to get drunk and laid.

With this drinking caste system full in place, it’s often pretty easy to guess people’s ages even if you’re schlitterbombed off Mad Dogaritas. While surveying differences in boozing behavior between age groups – I’m writing my thesis on it – I realized that the one constant is that no one has any fucking clue how many people they should roll out with. Sure, everyone grasps the idea that cruising with large groups of attractive young women will always open doors, but is mobbing about with a massive pack of screechy hoes really the best way to penetrate the tender loins of the best parties I.V. has to offer? Being the good doctor that I am, I did the research so you can roll with an entourage that rivals Mark Morrison’s.

Going out by yourself is reserved for sad dads who steal their kids’ bikes to get to the bar more quickly and middle-aged divorcees who are out looking for pity sex from lonely grad students. Unless you are one of the 500 people on the planet who can pull off hitting up random places on your own, showing up anywhere by yourself is generally creepy. Basically, your chances of getting laid while flying solo are less than if you just had an abortion in the middle of the dance floor.

With Maverick and Goose, fried chicken and waffles and even those homos Bert and Ernie, history’s best partygoers have always come in pairs. Going out with your favorite wingman sets you up to infiltrate and run serious game absolutely anywhere. A pair is the least threatening number of people you can run with, and only having one other ally forces you to keep up on your game rather than drift off into a drunken space-out sesh — which can happen with 12 people trying to converse at once. For the more advanced, running the streets with a wingchick is the ultimate pussy-hustle. Entering a party with a member of the opposite sex immediately makes it clear that you’re a non-rapist. Also, girls can get in anywhere, and you can set each other up with new hookups. Just don’t try to bang your wingchick at 4 a.m. if your game fails.

A trio is usually very similar, although slightly less desirable than a pair. The situation where having three really shines is at a bar or club. Unlike a backyard kegger, there is always a job for a utility man at a real venue. Whether buying drinks, arguing with the DJ, peeing and hitting on bachelorette party attendees, rotating everyone through the utility man position can really pay off without killing your opportunities to get bat-shit drunk.

Of course, the most controversial way to appear at a random house is with a group. Sure, freshmen always get shit for rolling 20 deep, and after hearing a few underage gentlemen berate a guy for not allowing their entire dorm hall into the party, I can understand why. But the whole point of a group is that you have a rager anywhere you go. Rather than be forced to converse with some random assholes, you immediately increase your friend percentage at any place you crash. Sure, it’s easier to pick up chicks in a pair. But how about cutting out the middleman and bringing the broads with you? Rather than stumbling home and wacking off to your Xbox, you’ll end up drinking champagne at the beach with a bunch of naked babes. Isn’t that the point?