How to Play True American

This lively game is half drinking game, half obstacle course, but sure to be a blast. Recognized from the TV show New Girl, “True American” is a fast paced, complicated game. This game combines some of the best childish games, like the floor being lava, and destroying the king’s fort, only in this game, the king’s fort is a lot of beer and the king is a bottle of hard liquor.


  1. Image titled Play True American Step 1
    Set up the "castle". You will need to create an area for the castle. Do this by placing a table in the middle of play area. This is where your liquor will be placed. This will be the area of main attention during the game.
  2. Image titled Play True American Step 2
    Place bottle of liquor in middle of table. The liquor is known as the king of the castle. This will be placed in the center of the table.
  3. Image titled Play True American Step 3
    Align beer cans in four lines surrounding the liquor bottle. These will be your "pawns" and the "soldiers of the secret order". These lines of pawns represent the barriers between the zones. When all the beers or pawns have been drunk or removed, the drinking from the "king” (liquor bottle) begins.
  4. Image titled Play True American Step 4
    Create 4 zones.There should be four zones with five spaces. These spaces are where the players will stand. The center of each zone is where pawns (beers) can be taken. These are the only places where you can retrieve a pawn, so this should be the closest to the castle. Although, the center of the zones should be closest to the castle, the beginning and end of the zones are furthest away from castle. The five spaces making up the zones can be made from just about anything. Utilize pillow, blankets, furniture, chairs, or sheets of paper to create circular zones radiating from the castle. This is where the players will be standing, so make them an adequate size. The open floor is considered molten lava and should not be touched. Touching the molten lava results in losing the game.
  5. Image titled Play True American Step 5
    Determine how many beers should be used as pawns. Depending on how many players you have you can decide how many beers you will need. Creating the perfect ratio between beers and players makes for an interesting game.
  6. Image titled Play True American Step 6
    Create Teams. Forming teams for the game is optional. However, it can make for a more competitive atmosphere and help get players more involved in the game.
  7. Image titled Play True American Step 7
    Figure out who will have the first turn. This can be done by having a shotgun contest or play rock paper scissors to determine who has the first turn. Whoever wins will get to go first in the game.
  8. Image titled Play True American Step 8
    Start the game by yelling “one, two, three, JFK”. The winner of the shotgun contest or rock paper scissors gets to go first and start the game. The winner does this by yelling “one, two, three, JFK”. In turn, All other players respond with yelling “FDR”, grab a pawn from the castle, and rush to any space surrounding the zones (i.e. pillow, couch, paper, blanket, etc).
  9. Image titled Play True American Step 9
    Rotate in a clockwise direction. Now it is time to actually play the game. Depending on what players turn it is, they can move one space in the clockwise direction. The spaces are again made of pillows, blankets, paper, etc. However, although, the player whose turn it is gets to move the other players can win their moves as well.
  10. Image titled Play True American Step 10
    Provide other players with a way to move by “the count”, “complete a quote”, or “something in common”. Other players can be provided with a way to move whether it is their turn or not by the following 3 ways:
    • The count: All players will yell “one, two, three,” and then proceed to hold up a number between one and five with their fingers on their foreheads. The player holding a number no one else has wins and moves one spot.
    • Complete a quote: Player whose turn it is will slowly speak a quote from history or pop culture. Any other player that is able to complete the quote before the player completes the quote wins. Winner can move two spots.
    • Something in common: The player will yell two people, places or things. Any other player that can name what the two have in common wins. Winner will move 3 spots.
  11. Image titled Play True American Step 11
    Have a pawn (beer) in your hand at all times. All players should have a beer in their hand at all times. However, they may not have more than three in any one time. Having no beers or more than three in your hand can result in loss of the game.
  12. Image titled Play True American Step 12
    Retrieve a pawn from the castle. Players can take a pawn or beer from the castle only when at one of the 4 center spaces. This means that the player should be standing at the center space of one of the zones to be able to grab a beer. Once you retrieve a pawn you must drink from the beer every time you move.
  13. Image titled Play True American Step 13
    Play until somebody wins. After all the pawns (beers) have been removed all that is left is the king (bottle of liquor). The first player to reach a center space of each zone and drink from the king wins the game. This also signifies the end of the game.
  14. Image titled Play True American Step 14
    Avoid losing along the way. If you are caught without a beer in your hand or with an empty beer you lose. Also, if you are step on the molten lava you lose.
  15. Image titled Play True American Step 15
    Try reentering the game if you lose. Once you are out, there is only one way to get back in the game: open a new beer and finish that. You can drink as fast or slow as you’d like, but you cannot participate in gameplay until that beer is gone. Once you’ve finished the beer, an opponent chooses where your new starting position is, and the game is on again.


  • This game is better with time. If you’ve seen New Girl, you’ve seen this is an extremely fast paced game, however you may find your first time is slower and more confusing. Don’t worry, once everyone understands the rules completely, the game gets more exciting.
  • Sharing a space on the board can go one of two ways: you can share the space, still keeping both players off of the floor (which can become very difficult if that space is a small chair), or you can fight to the death and whoever remains off the floor holds that space.
  • Don’t get caught with an empty beer! If someone catches you with no beer to drink, you are also out.
  • The floor is lava! You must stay off of the floor the entire game; otherwise you must finish your current beer and are out of the game
  • For a kid version of the game, or if you don't drink, use can sodas as pawns and a bottle soda as king.


  • Use caution when setting up the area for your game. Make sure to balance how many obstacles there are and how much alcohol will be used in the game. Alcohol and obstacles make for a dangerous combination.
  • Consuming alcohol is dangerous. Make sure to know your limits and never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

Things You'll Need

  • Wide open space.
  • Case(s) of beer, dependent on the number of people playing.
  • Bottle of liquor, size dependent on the number of people playing.
  • Objects that can be used as stepping platforms (pillows, couches, chairs, sheets of paper, etc.)
  • Table, preferably round.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Games of Imagination