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Best British drinking games

In many countries throughout the world, drinking is a relaxed, leisurely activity enjoyed with friends amid conversation and good cheer. In Britain however, drinking is largely undertaken as a sport, with all the fevered competition of any large sporting event. As such, the British have come up with an endless array of drinking games to test the mettle of competitors. Many of them have rule variations, and others are constantly being invented. These are the best.

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Drink while you think

Competitors sit in a circle and say the name of a famous person, living or dead, real or fictional. The next person has to say another famous name, but one whose first name begins with the same letter as the previous person’s last name. For example: Jesus Christ might be followed by Charles Manson who might be followed by Michael Jackson. This continues, but when it is your turn you must drink while you think of an answer. If the same name is repeated a forfeit must be faced. A single word name (eg. Madonna) and a name with both words starting with the same letter (eg. Hugh Hefner) reverses the flow. The irony is, of course, that the more you drink the less you can think, resulting in an exponential rise in drunkenness for the most hapless.

Starting a fight with Ian Wright

Essentially a variation of Drink While You Think, the group moves round the circle rhyming an action with a celebrity, drinking while they come up with one. Possibilities could include: Playing Uno with Frank Bruno; getting lairy with Julian Clary or; on the lash with Johnny Cash.

Pub golf

This takes some organising and for many will be more trouble than it’s worth. As a group you must choose 18 pubs (or anywhere that sells alcohol) and visit each in turn, having one drink in each. Each pub is a "hole" and your score is the number of swigs it takes you to finish your chosen drink. You have to keep a score card and can devise any number of drink-related forfeits for the loser or losers. Dressing up is optional.

Withnail and I

Simply watch the classic drinking film and drink a shot/beer/glass of Babycham every time someone drinks on screen. This can be replicated with any number of films and prompts.

Crisp Jenga

In turn, the group stacks crisps on top of a bottle (full or empty) until the stack falls. The person who makes the stack fall has to either drink the full bottle or another forfeit, like a shot.

Fuzzy duck

Someone starts off the game by saying "fuzzy duck" and the game moves round the circle with everyone repeating the phrase. If someone says "does he?" the direction switches and the phrase changes to "ducky fuzz." If someone messes up the phrase (usually by saying...we'll let you figure that one out) they must drink a forfeit.

2 pennies

Put a glass in the middle of the table and take turns trying to bounce a 2p coin off the table and into the glass. If you succeed you nominate a person to drink a glass full of a particular tipple.

Hot shots

Put shot glasses filled with your chosen aperitif on a table and take turns throwing screwed up Rizla (or other small bits of paper) into them. If you miss, you drink. If you hit, you nominate.


Start with an empty glass and in turn each person pours as much of their drink as they want into the glass. They then toss a coin and guess heads or tails. If they win, the glass is passed on and the game continues. If they guess wrong they drink whatever’s in the glass. With the potential for a wide variety of drinks to end up in the glass, the risk of vomiting is very real.

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About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.

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