When I Was a Boy, We Didn't Buy Drinking Games. We Made Our Own Fun.


Over at When Falls the Coliseum, Scott Stein notes a New York Post report that Suffolk County, New York, legislator Tom Cilmi "hopes to curb underage drinking by banning the sale of booze-themed board games, like beer pong, to minors." Stein observes that the underage drinkers Cilmi has in mind, whom he calls "our children," are largely 18-to-20-year-olds, "minors" who are treated as adults in virtually every other context. Even if we do not question the wisdom of the current drinking age, says Stein, Cilmi's reasoning is hard to follow:

Drinking is already against the law for people under the age of 21. If alcohol is illegal, how is it possible that these children could be playing drinking games? I mean, there's a law against them drinking. Duh, Tom Cilmi, the kids can't play drinking games since we've already stopped them from drinking with our drinking age law. What's that you say? The law hasn't stopped kids from drinking? Oh, well, then this new law is surely going to do the job and keep them from playing drinking games, because while the kids are ignoring the law about not drinking, they'll definitely obey the one about not playing drinking games.

Because most of the kids playing beer pong and quarters and asshole are certainly buying drinking game sets and not just playing drinking games. And once they can't buy the sets, there's no way they'll play beer pong, which requires obscure items like cups and a ping-pong table. And there's no way they'll play quarters, unless they can somehow get their hands on a quarter. And playing asshole is out of the question, because only the rich kids have a deck of cards.

NEXT: We're So Screwed

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  1. But if legislators didn’t pointlessly involve themselves in every single situation without regard to reason or common sense, they wouldn’t have anything to do! WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE LEGISLATORS

  2. For a site called Reason, you don’t consider the ‘watch a movie and drink they do X’ drinking games.

  3. Keeping ping pong balls behind the counter and requiring proof of age is the only solution.

  4. At least he is thinking of the children; unless one of them commits a crime and then throw the book at them and charge them as adults, or give them a gun and have them kill some Iraqis. But please think of the children.

  5. and don’t forget, there’s no way anyone could possibly use the “drinking games” with non-alcoholic drinks. Therefore they should be banned from minors.

    1. I wish you were my dad. I could have gotten away with so much shit.

      1. Actually you’re missing the point. Banning them does nothing.

        If businesses want to ban them fine, if parents want to not have them around fine (I myself would, depending on what my child/children’s age and temperment is), but the government should not.

  6. That is too funny. I’ve never even heard of a drinking game you buy.

    Here’s my question: who are these over-21 year olds who are buying drinking games? Wouldn’t that be really, really lame?

    1. …there are also people that pay for porn.

  7. Drinking is already against the law for people under the age of 21. If alcohol is illegal, how is it possible that these children could be playing drinking games?

    This reminds me of someone using the story an overdose death as a reason to keep drugs illegal.

  8. Stein also forgot Mexican, or never heard of it. At a party many years ago, I once got three straight Mexicans. The poor girl whose turn came after me was trashed.

  9. This would mortally wound Spencer Gifts.
    If they go out of business, where will I buy aprons with pot leaves and penises on them?

  10. When drunkenly throwing ping-pong balls at cups is outlawed, only outlaws will drunkenly throw ping-pong balls at cups.

    1. I initially read this as “throwing ping-pong balls at cops”, which makes it even funnier.

  11. And we liked it!

  12. I will crush all of you in beer pong.

    1. I’m not familiar with this “beer pong” of which you speak, but I reckon I could take you to school in a game of Beirut.

      1. If someone threw and/or paddled a ping pong ball into my beer, I would punch them in the face.

        My favorite drinking game:
        1. Pour beer/wine/bourbon/etc into glass
        2. Drink it

        1. So you’re afraid to face me. I get it. You never struck me as a coward, rob, but we now see your craven nature.

          1. Bah. I dont like schmutz in my beer. Im not drinking anything if a ping pong ball that you have touched (not to mention the floor) falls into it.

            Plus, I dont drink beers of the type that are typically used for that game. Has beer pong ever been played with Gueuze?

            1. Rob, don’t worry, I won’t be bringing any Solo cups to the Great Taste this summer, but a couple points of clarification. First, you play with a wash cup so there’s no schmutz (unless you’ve already got floaties in your beer, in which case I can’t help you). Second, I first played Beirut in Germany, where cases of good AND drinkable beers were plenty (and affordable). Yeah, I still wouldn’t recommend playing with a Gueuze, but Schwaben Br?u worked nicely.

              1. Im trying to bring the entire state of KY to GTotM this year. Well, at least it seems that way.

                1. My wife is expecting two weeks before GTotM so I may have to play things by ear, but hopefully I’ll be there yet again. If not, I may use that as an excuse to fly out to Denver for GABF.

        2. I like that one too, but I play it with cider.

          1. I believe cider is a type of etc.

            1. Well, if you’re gonna play like that, I’m taking my cider and drinking it at home.

              1. An acceptable variant.

          2. “Cider Pong” sounds stupid. Like something Tobey Maguire would play.

            1. I prefer Smirnoff Ice pong.

      2. Don’t go there, ClubMed. Don’t go there.

  13. If somebody thought to package up twelve Solo cups and a couple ping pong balls and sell them as a drinking game . . . and stupid kids are willing to buy said game rather than simply buying Solo cups and ping pong balls separately . . . then that person is a GENIUS.

    1. Twelve? Twelve? What are you, a freshmen?

      1. Um… two for the wash. Who’s the freshman NOW?

        1. I believe what he’s going for here is that the standard in collegiate ranks these days is a ten cup per team, meaning you need 22 cups minimum for an appropriately manly game of pong.

          1. Okay, so I’m a senior, but I’m also a liberal arts major so I suck at math.

          2. What Sudden said.

    2. I agree. The only emotion I experienced reading that article was envy. Some bastard is making money on this and it ain’t me.

    3. Don’t forget the printed rules. Kids today aren’t smart enough to look them up on the internet.
      And I go to look and find fucking “official beer pong” tables.

      God Bless America

      1. Now that I’m thirty, I guess it’s cool for me to start whining about kids today, so here it goes… This past summer we had a party at the end of our softball season and a couple teammates (21, 22 years old) challenged my buddy and I (30 and 29, respectively) to a game. Holy shit, they had about a hundred different nitpicky rules. I swear, when I was in college there were maybe three rules total. Given how these guys played, I can see why they would need published rules.

  14. “Hey mister, me and my friends have $20 and were wondering if, you could, uhh?”
    “You want me to buy you some beer?”
    “No, we’ve already got that. We need you to buy us a beer pong set.”

  15. Shit, we didn’t even have a ping pong table. We used a goddamned door we found on the curb.

    That’s what college is all about. Problem solving and realizing that dignity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  16. What does Tom Cilmi propose to do about this?

    What a maroon.

  17. Once in a while the Onion is still funny

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA?Responding to recent public outcries over its handling of private data, search giant Google offered a wide-ranging and eerily well-informed apology to its millions of users Monday.

    “We would like to extend our deepest apologies to each and every one of you,” announced CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking from the company’s Googleplex headquarters. “Clearly there have been some privacy concerns as of late, and judging by some of the search terms we’ve seen, along with the tens of thousands of personal e-mail exchanges and Google Chat conversations we’ve carefully examined, it looks as though it might be a while before we regain your trust.”

    Added Schmidt, “Whether you’re Michael Paulson who lives at 3425 Longview Terrace and makes $86,400 a year, or Jessica Goldblatt from Lynnwood, WA, who already has well-established trust issues, we at Google would just like to say how very, truly sorry we are.”

    Schmidt’s apology appeared suddenly at 9 a.m. Monday on Google’s homepage, Chrome browser, and YouTube, as well as on every single Android-enabled cell phone, and sought to reassure Americans that the company would take all necessary steps to keep confidential information, from Social Security numbers to Gonorrhea test results, absolutely safe.….._rss_daily

    1. In an effort to make up for years of alarmingly invasive service, Google will automatically add $50 to all American bank accounts as a gesture of goodwill. The company has also encouraged feedback, explaining that users can type any concerns they may still have into any open browser window or, if they are members of Google Voice, “simply speak directly into [their] phones right now.”

      Either way, the company said, “We’ll know.”

  18. But what about the time-honored drinking games like Feel Up The Passed-Out Girl, or Jerk-Off-and-Cry? These are character building moments in a young man’s life.

    1. Feel Up The Passed-Out Girl

      Speaking of which, my homebrew hefeweizen got nicknamed ruffiweizen last year.

  19. I would like to know what Reason is doing to prevent our children from participating in the Reason drinking game? Why do you hate the children Reason? Why?

  20. Underage drinking is a serious problem. Children under 21 should not drink, that is why we need the law against drinking under 21 to prevent it from happening.

    1. this is way too obvious.

  21. Don’t forget 3-Man. We’ll have to ban dice as well.

    1. I loved three-man. It was always my favorite. The cruel rules my diseased brain came up with. The best was “No articles of speech.” Everyone talked like Russians all night.

  22. When I taught high school, it was against the rules for the students to have playing cards, either on campus or even (for example) on a weeklong band field trip; the rationale was that playing cards can be used for gambling. Given that, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a politician sincerely propose making it illegal for minors to buy cards; between gambling and drinking games, there’s just too many dangerous ways to use them.

    1. No kidding? I took a lot of school trips in high school in athletic and academic competition. If not for playing spades and hearts, we would have killed each other. Seriously Jennifer, what kind of person becomes a school administrator? I really don’t get it. The teachers and former teachers I meet all seem pretty reasonable. Several of my uncles were high school teachers and coaches and none of them are lunatics. You don’t seem to be a lunatic. But every administrator these days seems to be. How does that work?

      1. I am at a total loss to understand school administrators or theorize what makes them the way they are. When I was teaching I thought I’d just had the bad luck to be in a lone school district run by authoritarian twits; when I became a journalist, however, I noticed that (with very rare exceptions) every “school shits on students’ rights” story I had to cover involved an out-of-control administrator, NOT a teacher. And I see the same trend in the stories written by others. It wasn’t the teachers in Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion school district who thought it would be a good idea to use webcams to spy on students in their homes.

        Maybe it’s because the teachers are the ones who know the students as actual human beings? I know I technically allowed a student to violate drug laws via NOT reporting her for taking an aspirin (though I did pull her aside for a private chat why she should NEVER do that on campus again where anybody could see her); as a teacher I knew the kid well enough to figure out “Eh, even if aspirin is a gateway drug for weaker souls, this girl isn’t on track to become a crack whore, so I’ll not see her expelled over this.” But an administrator would only see a memo about Student #17583 caught possessing and swallowing aspirin in direct violation of the clearly posted rule #745295092 stating, quote, “Drugs are bad, m’kay?”

        What’s really scary is that, for the administrators I wrote about (like the one who punished a student for a Livejournal blog post she wrote off campus), I think they truly, sincerely believed they were doing the right thing. “No, I am not motivated by the belief that I am above criticism,or that anyone who offends me deserves punishment; it’s just that if the students are allowed to criticize me on their own time, they won’t be able to get a proper education and their lives will suck. Really! I’m doing it for the children!”

        1. Whats so hard to understand? Positions of authority attract people who crave power.

          1. I don’t quite think that’s it, though. Teachers — at least in theory — have power over their students, but powertripping insane teachers are not nearly as commonplace as administrators.

    2. Good lord that is f*cked up.

  23. Aren’t the reason drinking game rules linked somewhere? Maybe reason could put those behind a paywall and give teh kids their first lesson in internet life — Nothing on the internet is worth paying for.


  25. I was wondering what I was going to get my 12 year old for her birthday. Thanks Reason.

  26. Well, the one beer limit didn’t seem to work either:

  27. Nobody remembers Pass-Out? I remember seeing it back in the 80s, and the Amazon listing is for the “1988 edition”. (I never played it.)

  28. For a magazine called Reason…


  29. I’m curious, do you think this kind of thing and the quadrillion similar sorts of idiocy which seem to pervade our society and government at all levels is a matter of trickle down idiocy? Is there any reason to suppose that if the fantasy ever comes real that the federal government becomes disentangled from every single aspect of our individual lives that the state and local governments would do the same?

    If by some miracle our overlords in DC saw fit to adhere to the Constitution would there be any reason to suppose that the petty tyrannies which circumscribe our existences from the state and local levels would alleviate? If not, then I don’t see much point in fretting about federal government over reach and the relentless general mission creep of everything government.

  30. Goddammit people, the game with cups in a pyramid formation is called Beirut. Beer Pong is played with cups at the corners of the table, and is vastly inferior to Beirut.

  31. Regardless of how people feel about the drinking age in the United States being higher than the majority of the world, it’s the law. But restricting the sales of beer pong tables is a very slippery slope. With that same argument smoking accessories such as pipes, bongs, etc. should become restricted. Should shot glasses be restricted too? Where’s the line.

  32. Whether or not you agree with the current drinking age in the United States, it’s the law. The question at hand is whether or not games commonly used with alcohol should be restricted. This is a slippery slope. Should shot glasses be restricted because they are commonly used with hard liquor?

    Currently beer pong is one of the most popular drinking games in America. The only notable accessory to the game is a table. Who is to make the call between a regular table and a beer pong table? Bottom line it would be chaotic to restrict some items because they may be used in underage drinking.

  33. Well, drinking beer is best shared with friendly buddies either red party cups or beer pong cups. is fine

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