Sink the ball, avoid drinking the beer, and try to win.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, some other folks thought that, too. And they also thought that simple can oftentimes be boring.
Over the years, people have invented plenty of new ways to play beer pong. Some of those variations are even good and have become quite popular.
Beer pong variations help to shake up the game. If you’re spending a lot of time at a party, you can keep things fresh by deviating from the classic game.
Let’s take a look at some of the best different ways to play beer pong. These are all common and inoffensive variations, so you won’t find Nazi vs Jew beer pong here.
Table of Contents
Different Ways To Play Beer Pong
Word of warning: some of these game variations are highly competitive. You might end up in a heated match. Hopefully not against a sore loser.
1. Hungry Hungry Hippos
That’s right. Your childhood board game has taken on a new life life, with a different twist. In this beer pong variation, you have to try to sink as many balls as possible in a given time.
You and your friends each throw balls, bounce them, and try to land them in the cups. Whoever collects the most cups wins, and everyone else has to drink the cups you capture.
There are ways to change the rules up, since this is just for fun. You can drink the cups they capture, or have them drink their own cups, whatever works for you.
As a fair warning, Hungry Hungry Hippo beer pong can get you pretty tipsy pretty quickly. This is something most people play in the presence of good friends since you’ll all be stumbling around before too long. You definitely want to get better at beer pong before you play this variation.
This game is reminiscent of quarters, but it has a bit of a twist to it. You set up twenty cups in the center, and two shooting cups. Everyone sits an even distance away from each other around a big table.
One person sends the ball across the table and tries to sink it in the cup in front of another player. If it lands in, you have to pass the ball off and chug the cup before it comes around again. After you chug your cup, you grab another one from the middle.
The thing about this game is that it can get confusing at times, and as we know with a lot of beer pong variants, the rules can change depending on who you’re playing with.
In some cases, the person to your right is the only one who can make you drink, and there’s no way to technically lose the game.
Some keep score and decide that whoever had to drink the most loses, then exclude that person from the next round and make the circle smaller (like a game of musical chairs). It’s up to your interpretation, really.
3. Civil War
Now this is a fun beer pong game type. It is played in a 3 on 3 format, so there’s room for everyone to stand at the table.
You have individual six-cup pyramids arranged side-by-side. Three sets on one side of the table, and three on the opposing end of the table.
Now that you’re set up, it’s time to induce some mayhem. Civil War is such a fun game to play because the entire point is to get wasted.
You’re not going to see this in a tournament setting, but that’s okay. Each player just shoots forward, trying to sink their balls in the cups in front of them.
You’ll be bombarded with ping pong balls as well, so you’ll be drinking as fast as you’re trying to send your balls into the other cups.
It’s just a rapid-fire game of constant drinking. Nobody really loses Civil War, because by the end of it, everyone’s at least tipsy. More likely you’re completely wasted. This is a popular party game, but like we said before, you’re not going to see it in any professional settings.
4. Baseball (The Drinking Game)
We all know baseball. Some of you might even have paraphernalia hanging up for your home team right now while you read this. It’s a beloved sport. And in beer pong, it’s a wild ride.
You set up three cups like bases. One of them a quarter filled, one half filled, and the last one completely filled.
It’s a turn-based game format. One by one, you take turns shooting your shots down a long table to land your balls in the cups.
Each team gets to “take a turn at bat” so to speak, so there’s no real defensive strategy here.
You make it to first base, the other team drinks. Then it’s their turn at bat. Eventually, you’re getting home runs, drinking full cups, and everyone’s having a good time.
But there’s a catch. There are cups in the center to signify innings. After a full home run, you go to the next inning. The cups can be filled with water, but what’s the point. They’re usually filled a quarter of the way with beer.
They’re not like real innings, because if you get your home run, you progress to the next one, and the other team may be left behind. The aim of the game is to keep progressing and not miss, because if you miss, it’s three strikes and you’re out. You lose the game.
Ideally, one team will just slowly trail behind the other team and only trail by a few points here and there.
It’s a quick way to get drunk, and you’d better believe that by the time the fifth inning rolls around (if you can last that long), people are going to start missing shots.
5. Quidditch Pong
That’s right—you’re a wizard, whoever you are that’s reading this right now.
Quidditch pong is tons of fun if you’re an HP-maniac, and if you’re not, you can just call it Hoop Pong. Nobody’s really going to know the difference.
As you might expect, you set up quidditch rings or hoops. Three are placed in the center of the table, the center one being taller than the left and right hoops.
From there, you just play normal beer pong, more or less. The difficulty is that you have to focus your shots to bounce higher than usual, because the ball has to go through one of the hoops to count.
If your ball goes over or under a hoop, then it doesn’t count, even if it lands in someone’s cup. The most fun thing you can do is play this in a Civil War style match-up. Three six-cup pyramids, end to end, and a total of nine hoops.
If you can’t muster that many hoops, it’ll be fun watching all the ping pong balls smash together through the remaining three while you have six people constantly throwing ping pong balls.
This can be used in addition to a standard beer pong setup, but if that’s not as much fun to you, that’s okay. You can take the turn-based element away, and focus on rapid-fire beer pong.
This is probably the most fun way to play. You’ll just have to be sure to get extra ping pong balls, because a lot of these are going to land shy of the hoop and roll off the table.
That’s all there is to it. If you’re feeling fancy, get a yellow ball for each team, and hand it to them at the same time to shoot for the snitch. Whoever sinks their ball wins. Wizard-style.
For all intents and purposes, this is just basic beer pong but taken down a notch. It’s a great way to get into the game in the first place, or introduce someone new into the circle.
Instead of the usual ten-cup format, you have one cup on each corner of a table. Can you guess where the name comes from?
The only funny part is when you start dealing with lives. You get four quarters of one life (why they didn’t just make it four lives, we’ll never know).
You lose a quarter-life if you hit the rim of a cup with your ball and the ball falls. A made cup is a half-life. Basically, you drink a quarter cup for a quarter-life lost, and so on.
The first person to reach zero lives (spending all four quarter lives) is deemed the loser. The goal is to simply land your shots and stay alive, although the next round can start right away so there’s no waiting.
Corners can be a 1 on 1 experience and just a fun way to pass the time by drinking.
Ways To Play Beer Pong: Final Thoughts
Try all the variations above and see which you like best. Try some other rule variations, too. Take on the ring of fire. Gamble on some money ball. Call island. Sink the death cup. Whatever floats your boat.
Beer pong is meant to be enjoyed above all else, so if you’re just in it to have some fun, then you should stick with the game types that are more fun-centric. And if someone suggests a rousing game of 10 cup, know that this is simply another name for beer pong, not a new variation.
But if you want to go hardcore, ring of fire is your game. Just gauge how the other people want to play, and be sure to put on a good show for anyone looking. Above all: have a great time and get drunk!