The Best Student Drinking Games

May 7, 2021
Becky Firth

With lockdown lifting, beer gardens open and clubs expected to return to normal by the end of June, you might finally have a reason to pre-drink with your friends again. If you’re a little nervous or have the ever-dreaded pre-night out jitters, drinking games are a great way to get the party started. The best part? You can play all of these games from the comfort of your own home or garden. And for those who don’t drink, you can still play along! Here are HYBR’s top four drinking games for you to enjoy.


Beer pong 

A classic - you’ve probably played this at a flat party in freshers week, or at the very least seen it in a film. 


  1. Set up a triangle of drink-filled glasses at each end of a table - you can use six cups or ten. 
  2. The aim is simple: throw the ping pong ball in the cup.
  3. If the ball lands in a cup, a member of the opposite team has to drink it. 
  4. The team who gets all of the cups wins! 


It’s a great way to start the night and  get some friendly rivalries going. Our top tip? Remain calm. A drink or two might just boost your confidence. 

Ring of fire

Also known as ‘dirty pint’ or ‘king’, ring of fire is one of the most popular drinking games of all time. The rules might seem a little complicated, but don’t worry - you will definitely pick it up as you play.


  1. First you need a large cup or jug, which goes in the middle of the table. 
  2. From there, spread out a set of cards around the glass - facedown. 
  3. Working your way around the circle, each person draws a card. Each card corresponds to a particular task or challenge. 
  4. Remember, as you play, be sure not to break the circle of cards - or you’ll have to down your drink. The different cards and their meanings are listed below. There are often variations and you can add your own spin onto the rules. 
  • Ace (Waterfall): Whoever pulls this card must start to drink, and everyone around them must do the same until they stop drinking. 
  • Two (You): You select another person to take a drink. 
  • Three (Me): This one’s easy - you take a drink.
  • Four (Women):  Girls, take a drink.
  • Five (Thumb master): The person who pulls this card is now the thumb master. They must place their thumb on the table, as slyly as possible, at any time until the next five is drawn. The last person to copy has to drink. 
  • Six (Men): Boys, take a drink.
  • Seven (Heaven): This is the same as the thumb master game, except the player who pulls the card must discreetly raise their hand. 
  • Eight (Mate): Pick a drinking buddy. Whenever you drink, they drink, until the next eight is drawn.
  • Nine (Rhyme): The player who draws this card must pick a word, and the player to their left must respond with a rhyme. This continues around the circle until someone can’t think of a rhyme within ten seconds, or accidentally repeats a word. They have to drink. Note: saying orange or purple will not go down well. 
  • Ten (Categories): This is similar to the previous game. The player must pick a category, and everyone must list something that belongs to that category (e.g. movies, dog breeds, vegetables, cars). If you don’t have an answer or repeat someone else’s, you have to drink. 
  • Jack (Rule): Drawing a jack means you can create any rule that all players must abide by. Anyone who forgets to do so has to drink - a popular example is ‘only drink with your left hand’. 
  • Queen (Question master): This player must trick everyone around the table into answering a question. If you respond, you have to drink. This continues until the next Queen is pulled. 
  • King (Pour/Drink): Picking one of the three Kings in the deck means you must pour some of your drink into the jug in the middle of the table. If you pick the final, fourth King, you have to down the middle glass, ending the game. 


DIY Jenga

For those feeling creative, this game is the way forward. Buy a set of Jenga and write dares or challenges on each block. Play Jenga as you normally would - but as each player pulls a block from the tower, they must complete the command written on the block. If you knock over the tower… you guessed it, down your drink. A similar drinking game can be created with Uno cards too. 


Ride the Bus/Higher or Lower 

Ride the bus is a drinking game that seems complicated on paper, but is great fun in real life. 

Before you start, one player must be assigned the role of ‘dealer’, who will shuffle the cards and begin stage one of the game. 


  1. Round 1: The dealer must ask the first player ‘red or black’ - if they guess right, they receive the card. If they guess incorrectly, they must take a sip of their drink. This continues until every player has their first card.
  2. Round 2: The dealer then asks ‘Higher or lower?’ - meaning, is the card you’re about to be dealt higher or lower than the card you already have (with Ace as the highest). If they guess correctly, they receive a second card. If you guess incorrectly, you have to take a drink. This continues until every player has two cards.
  3. Round 3: ‘Inside or outside’. The players must guess if the card they’re about to be dealt falls in between or outside of their two original cards (e.g. 5 would fall between 2 and 9, whereas a King would not). An incorrect guess means you must drink. A correct guess gains you your third card.
  4. Round 4: Players must guess the suit of the fourth card. They will likely guess wrong and have to drink. If they’re correct, they can distribute five sips to the other players. 

Here’s where it gets a little complicated… Enter, stage two: building the pyramid. 

  1. Players collect their four cards and hold them privately. 
  2. The dealer builds a pyramid of cards, facedown, with five cards at the base and one at the top. Each level of the pyramid correlates with a specific number of sips - with the bottom equating to one drink and the top card five whole sips. 
  3. Starting on the bottom row, one card is flipped at a time. Anyone with a matching card can place their card on top, giving them the power to allocate the relative number of sips to another player. For example, if they matched a card on the bottom row, they could ask a friend to take one sip of their drink. If they match multiple cards on one row, the number of sips add up.
  4. Play continues up the pyramid. Players can choose to save cards in case they can match with cards on higher levels. This is a risky move, as the player with the most cards left has to ‘Ride the bus’.

Stage three: What does ‘riding the bus’ entail?

  1. In the event that two people have the same amount of cards, the player with the highest value card must ride the bus. 
  2. The dealer lays ten cards face down. The dealer flips a card over one by one. If it’s a number card, nothing happens and the dealer continues. If it’s a face or Ace card, the player must drink. One for Jack, two drinks for Queen, three for King and four for Ace. The game ends once the dealer has turned over all of the cards.


Those are HYBR’s top four drinking games to play with your flatmates and friends! Have fun - but remember, drink responsibly and always adhere to Government guidelines surrounding lockdown and social distancing measures.