Let the games begin!


Do any of you out there play drinking games? 
I’m of the age where I am now attending many college graduations.  As a result, beer pong has entered my lexicon.  Now if you have never played beer pong let me explain how the game is played: arrange ten 16 to 18 oz. plastic cups on each side of an 8 foot table.  Pour beer into each of the cups.  I am told you can use other liquids instead of beer but, hell, what’s the point in that?  Form teams of two.  Find “clean” ping pong balls!  Now each team takes turns at getting the ping pong ball into the cups of the opponent.  If the ball does land in the cup, the opponent must take the cup, drink the beer, and it is removed from play.  Once all ten cups on one side of the table are removed the game is over.  The cups are refilled and the victorious team remains in play until they are defeated.  Everyone feels like a winner after the game, and everyone feels like Tylenol after waking up.
The first drinking game I ever heard of was from a book I was reading in college, there’s a surprise!  I think it was in Voltaire’s Candide, but I really don’t remember.  Anyways, the chapter was about Monks making wine.  Expecting an invasion of Germans, they were discussing what they should do.  Every few sentences in parenthesis were written (drink here) where the reader was to take a sip of wine.  By the end of the chapter both the reader and the monks were feeling no pain, indeed they were very emboldened.  When the invasion came in the morning the monks routed the attacking force and saved the vineyard!  40 years and that is still the best chapter of any book I ever read!
So, see all you young whippersnappers who think they invented drinking games, you’re wrong: drinking games go back further then your parents’ generation, centuries even.
Ancient Greeks  had a game where the drinker empties his “kylix” saucer, glass or bowl, of all but a few drops–think dregs–then picks a target, usually a brass bowl.  He is to “flick” the glass so that the  remains go in the bowl.  Sometimes they would place a figurine on a piece of wood in front of the bowl with the goal of knocking it down.  Then you would refill, drink, and try again.  The only loser in this game was the guy who had to clean up at the end of the night.  Ah, same as in beer pong!  This game is still played in Sicily, it’s called Kattaobs.
Here’s a little tide bit of totally unless wine information.  The Greek word for comedy derives from a word meaning “wine lees,” or literally “wine song,” which is what was being pitched into the bowl the lees.  Also, the first stock comic character was “the drunkard.”
The ancient Romans and Chinese had a game like a drinking-man’s version of rock, paper, scissors.  This game was called “micare digitis,” or, “to flash the fingers.”  Two or more players would simultaneously show a certain number of fingers while calling out what they thought the total number would be, “the sum of the digit.”  The guy who called the number closest to the sum was the winner and the loser had to drink.  When you think of darts, do you think of Irish or English pubs?  What about Chinese lawn darts?  The game is called “tou hu.”  It’s basically shooting an arrow in a bucket, while drinking.
So the only thing restricting you choice of games is if you are planning a Black Tie or Black Eye affair.  You can take any game you know and make it a drinking game.  Again the Chinese had a drinking game very similar to stop light: participants formed a line and one guy started counting “one, two, three, red  light,” and you had to stop in place.  If you started to laugh, you had to drink.  You can use cards, high card drinks; play Jeopardy, get the question wrong , you drink; even dice, what ever flips your switch.  There’s even good old wine tasting game, War, where you ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine.  The toast master takes the bottles and  covers and labels.  Do a tasting, score each wine, the person who brought the wine with the highest score wins and he’s the toastmaster at the next event!
If any of you have suggestions for a wine tasting (drinking) game, send them along.

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