When the “True American” drinking game was first played on FOX’s “New Girl,” viewers initially scratched their heads in confusion. It was first featured in the episode titled “Normal” by Jess, played by Zooey Deschanel: “So, it’s 50 percent drinking game, 50 percent life-size Candy Land.”


This game was actually devised by the characters on the show; at first it looked like they were just doing randomly fun stuff, but now, it is finally here: the rules to the “True America” drinking game are within your grasp — just in time for the weekend!

“She Knows” True American Set Up (cdn.sheknows.com)

Set up: The first, and most important, step in “True American” is setting up the game. Although there are quite a few takes on how you can set it up, the picture to the left is a great first-time set up to get you familiar with the game. As you become more familiar with the game, you can rearrange your set up as you see fit (or what will fit in your living room).


The important thing to keep in mind is that you have four zones, each with at least five spaces where a player can stand. The center space in each zone is the only space where the Pawns can be taken, thus it is the closest space to the Castle. There are a total of four of these spaces. The spaces at the beginning and end of the zones are the farthest away from the Castle.


Keep in mind that the floor is Molten Lava, and you cannot step on it! Make sure the furniture is close enough together that you can actually jump from one piece to another, and try not to use any furniture that can easily slip, as that could be quite a hazard.


The Castle: The most important element in the set up is a center table/tower of alcohol that is called the Castle. The Castle is made up of one bottle of liquor and many cans of beer (you decide how many based on the number of players). The liquor is the King and sits in the middle of the Castle. The cans of beer are the Pawns and the Soldiers of the Secret Order. The Pawns are lined up in four lines radiating outward from the King. These lines of Pawns also signify the barriers between each zone. The game ends when all of the Pawns have been removed and a player drinks from the King.


Starting the game: After setup is complete, players may have a shotgun contest to determine who has the first turn. If no player wishes to shotgun a beer, play rock-paper-scissors instead. To start the game, the winner of this contest yells, “one, two three, JFK!” — at which point all other players yell “FDR!” and proceed to grab a Pawn from the Castle, then retreat to any space.


Gameplay: Players move around the game area in a clockwise direction. The player whose turn it is always moves one space; however, the other players must “win” their moves. This player has three ways to provide the other players with a way to win their move.


  1. The Count: All players yell, “one, two, three” and then hold any number of fingers against their foreheads. Anyone holding a number that no one else has chosen wins. Winners may move one spot.
  2. Complete a Quote: The player may slowly speak a quote from history or pop culture. Any other player that is able to jump in and complete the quote in tandem wins. Winners may move two spots.
  3. Something in Common: The player may yell out two people, places, or things. Any other player that can reply with what these two things have in common wins. Winners may move three spots.


Players must always have a beer in their hand and may not have more than three at any one time. Players may only take a Pawn from the Castle when they are in one of the four center spaces.


You always need at least one beer in your hand, and you must drink from it. A good rule of thumb is a sip or two from the can for each new knight. Anytime someone finishes a beer, the player yells, “all trash belongs…,” and everyone else answers, “in the junkyard!” before tossing her can into the nearest receptacle. If you miss the trash can, you move back a space. If you make it, you move forward.


How to Win: To win, the first person to make it to the Castle, finish the beer in their hands and then take a swig from the King is the winner.


How to Lose: If you fall into the Molten Lava, you are dead. If you are caught with no beer or an empty beer, you are out until you chug a beer, then you can enter at the beginning again.


Have you played this game before? What do you think of it? Comment below or tweet me pictures of your gameplay @kateeb790!