True American

Love or hate the show New Girl (and how could you ever have a bad word to say about my beautiful wife Zooey Deschanel ??), the show spawned a game that has since been recreated in student dorms and nerd parties the world over.

The Game.

The drinking game True American has been described as a mix of the board game Candy Land (as outlined here by the folks over at BoardGameGeek) and The Floor Is Lava but presented as a drinking game.

Within the confines of the New Girl show itself the game appeared once a season with the exception of Season 4 (S1 ‘Normal‘, S2 ‘Cooler‘, S3 ‘Mars Landing‘, and S5 ‘Wedding Eve‘).The rules got a slight upgrade with the addition of stripping (in ‘Cooler‘) and a First Lady variation (in the ‘Wedding Eve‘ episode).With those exceptions the rules have remained consistent throughout the run.

So What Are The Rules?

Like with any game that has evolved within modern pop culture there will inevitably be variations. Where possible i have outlined these below.

Pick Your Team!

Teams in True American are not required as solo players can form alliances. Teams can however be played for as the beginning action of the game : All players place a random number of fingers on their forehead. If anyone displays the same number or one less finger those players are joined as a team. Players that aren’t matched (solo players) can form alliances as needed.

The Castle!

The castle is built in the centre of the room out of beer cans and a bottle of alcohol (see The Play Area! below). The King of the Castle is the bottle. The cans represent pawns, these are “soldiers of the Secret Order“. The pawns are arranged in four rows emanating from the King in the shape of a X. The quantity of beers you pick is usually proportional to the number of players in the game. These beer/pawn lines also correspond to the zone boundaries (see also The Play Area!).

The Play Area!

There are four zones, one of which is a “crazy” zone. The zones are connected by a trail of furniture or any objects that can be stood upon to represent a safe zone. These objects must be used to navigate the zones without walking in the lava (floor). The Castle is located at the centre of these zones.

There are four zones to choose from. There are five spaces in each zone, with the central space being the only one where players can take pawns. That implies the zone’s centre space is closest to the castle, while the first and last spaces are farthest away.

Beginning Play!

A shotgun tip-off kicks off the game. The game begins when someone yells “One, two, three, four, JFK!” and everyone else yells “FDR!” Everyone rushes to the central table, takes a beer, and stands on whatever out-of-lava object is closest.

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In a clockwise manner, gamers journey round the playing area. The participant whose turn it is can move one space, however the different players’ moves have to be won. This participant has three preferences for assisting the different gamers win their turn. Players take it in turns to attempt to attain moves. On a turn, you can perform one of three actions.

  • The player names two persons or objects that share a feature. Identifying a common attribute. The other players will then shout out what they have together. For instance ‘Abe Lincoln, George Washington’ and ‘Cherry Tree.’ Any players who guess correctly can take a drink and move on.
  • The player can count “one, two, three,” and on four, all players place a number on their heads in the same way as teams are chosen. Drinking and moving is allowed for players with the same number as the person whose turn it was.
  • Players can finish the quote. The player begins a quote, and all other players attempt to complete it. Two examples are “the only thing we have to fear is…” and “fear itself!” Quotes that are correctly completed result in players drinking and moving on.
how to play true american drinking game new girl
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Further Rules:

  • When a player finishes his beer, they cry “All rubbish belongs…” and the rest of the players yell “in the junk yard!” At this point, empty cans are thrown into a designated receptacle.
  • A player may cry “JFK” at any time throughout the game, at which point everyone must say “FDR” and drink their beer.
  • If you fail to execute particular obligations when playing under Clinton Rules, you will be stripped.
  • Everyone in the room must yell “Build the Wall!” and drink everytime the name “Donald Trump” is spoken.

How To Win: You must always have a beer in your hand. After all Pawns have been removed, the King is exposed. The first person to land on one of the centre places, drink their beer, and take a swig from the King wins the game!

How To Lose:  If you are discovered without a beer or with an empty beer, you lose. If you step into hot lava, you will perish. Re-enter the game by drinking one full beer and starting on a space designated by the other players.

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