Beer Die - Bowdoin College, 1989
Singles (one on one)Teams (Two on Two)
|Setup time||2 minutes|
|Playing time||15 minutes - 2+hours|
|Skill(s) required||accuracy, hand–eye coordination, reaction time|
|Material(s) required||Plywood, or "borrowed" Colby plastic table, Solo Cup, Dice|
Beer die is a table-based gentleman's drinking game where opposing players sit at opposite ends and throw a die over a certain height with the goal of either landing the die in their opponent's cup or having the die hit the table and bounce over the scoring area to the floor. The defending team attempts to catch the die one-handed after it hits the table, but before it touches a non-table surface. The game typically consists of two two-player teams with each of the four players having a designated cup on the table.
There are three distinct attributes which define a beer die hurler: offensive, defense, and stamina. A good offensive player throws many legal throws and often will put pressure on the defense by throwing near the opponents cups and edge of the table. A good defensive player consistently catches routine throws, and often will snare "hot tosses." A player with good stamina is able to drink often over a period of many games without his or her game diminishing. When constructing a beer die team it is advantageous to bring different facets to the table.
Beer die involves quick thinking, fast reaction time, precision throwing and awareness. However, most of all, beer die requires a love for drinking with friends and a stomach that can handle it.
- The die table itself should be wooden, 2ftx8ft, 4ftx8ft, or some home games will use a standard 4ftx6ft dining room table. The cups may be at the corners, approximately 6 inches from the side of the table and a foot from the end of the table; or centered on the table, spaced the width of a glass apart. Cups are preferably pint glasses, but red solo cups may often be used.
- Each player's cup is filled with beer. A full cup holds 5 "drinks".
- Throwing order: The eldest player shoots first. If a winning team of the previous game stays on, they have honors. After the eldest (or eldest on the previous winning team) shoots, the turn goes to the eldest on the other team, and turns continue to alternate between teams and players by age.
- The game is won by the first team to reach 5 with a 2-point lead, with a hard cap on 7. (i.e. if the score is 4-5, the game continues until one team reaches 7.)
- Before each throw, the player must tap the die on the table and make eye contact with at least one member of the opposing team.
- All shots must be thrown above a predetermined height, typically at least as high as the table is long, or at a height equal to the tallest player. A shot thrown too low is called a "whip" and results in a drink by the offending team. A whip must be called by the defending team before the die hits the table, and the call is non-contestable (unless the die hits the ceiling).
- The numbers '5' and '7' may not be spoken during the game. These numbers are now referred to as 'biz' and 'buzz' respectively.
- A shot that is thrown high enough and hits the table, bouncing off the defensive end (NOT the side of the table) without being caught is one point for the offensive team.
- A made shot (the die landing in one of the cups on the defensive side), depending on the location of the game, can count as 0, 1, or 2 points. When made, both players on the hit side must finish and then refill their beers. This is called a "splooge" or "plunk" or "sink." In most locations a sink allows the throwing player to sign the table, forever engraining their name in the beer die lore.
- If a team "splooges" or "self-plunks" one of their own cups the game is over and the opposing team wins.
- The defending team may catch the die to nullify potential points scored (i.e. if the throw hits the table and bounces off the end, but is caught, no points are scored.) Only one hand may be used to catch. Using two hands or "trapping" (catching against one's body) is illegal and will result in a point for the shooting team.
- The defending team may never reach over the plane of the table while defending a shot. Doing so results in 1 point to the shooting team.
Drinking is unrelated to scoring. Each team will drink together and finish their beers together based on the predetermined number of drinks per cup (typically between 5). Drinking will then occur:
- Every time a player says the number 5 or 7 (finish)
- Each time a player shoots and misses the table completely (1 drink)
- The opposing team throws the die and hits your cup (known as a "Plink" or "Body") (1 drink)
- The opposing team sinks your cup (finish)
- You drop the die between tosses ("Sloppy Die") (1 drink)
- The die lands on the table but does not bounce off (1 drink)
- The die lands or is placed 5-up on the table (finish)
Beer Die League
The Official Beer Die League will launch on April 1st, 2014. This league will offer weekly games and tournaments throughout the United States, giving beer die players a chance to compete to be the best beer die players in the country. Detailed statistics are recorded each game with cumulative statistics recorded on the league website each day. The BDL will host a National Tournament in the fall of 2014 with cash and prizes in excess of $10,000 offered to the winners. The first three inaugural chapters of the BDL are Chicago, IL, Melbourne, FL, and Orono, ME. Additional chapters will be added throughout June and July with 25 chapters projected by the end of Summer 2014.
The origins of beer die, often being the subject of debate, have and continue to be shrouded in uncertainty. The most recent research compiled by the Official Beer Die Fan Page has traced back the origins of the game to Colby College with the first accounts of the game played at the Champlain Hall in the fall of 1836.
This crowdsourced project was conducted in February 2014 and is the only unbiased research conducted on this topic to date. The O'Keefe Invitational is a prestigious beer die tournament that takes place annually on St. Patrick's day weekend. Entry into the event requires elite skills and a championship mentality. There have been six hall of famers who participated in the invitational. 
In the state of California, seated beer die is often called Snappa. At Santa Clara University, students play beer die standing up, and with much different rules. Standing beer die has spread across the state of California.
- Games are played to 15 or 16, and the winning team must win by two
- A cup is placed on all four corners of the beer die table, with each player standing on their respective corner.
- The team who throws first must throw the die above a certain pre determined height, most usually higher than the tallest person standing up whilst their hand fully extended towards the sky.
- A point is scored when the offensive team throws the die up and it lands on the defender's side of the table, rolls off, and is not caught one handed by either teammate.
- If the defending team successfully catches the die with one hand, no point is awarded. Players can not reach over the table to catch die. If the die lands on the opposing side and rolls off your own side, the other team must catch it, or it is a point.
- If a die is thrown up and hits a cup at any time, it is an automatic point. If the die falls off the table without being caught, 2 points are awarded to the throwing team.
- If a player splashes the die into either of the opposing teams' cups, it is 3 points.
- If the die lands on the opposing side of the table and rolls back between the throwing team's cups, that is considered a field goal and 2 points is awarded to the throwing team.
- Beers are to be finished every four points if playing to sixteen or every five points if playing to fifteen.
- There are no re-tosses. If you throw a die up and it lands on your side or the halfway line, it is automatically dead.
- In the case of a plunk: When a team plunks (lands the die in one of the defending team's cups), the defending team must finish their drinks. The one whose cup was plunked must drink his beer with the die in the cup, and afterwards place the die in his mouth and make a "spit shot" (spit the die out in an attempt to score). A spit shot is not required to reach a certain height, and the defending team may not catch it. If the die hits the table and bounces off the end this is a point. If the die lands on the table 5-up the team that was just plunked on must finish again. If the die lands not 5-up, bounces off the side of the table, or misses the table completely there is no penalty. After the spit shot the spitter must place the die in his mouth again and drop it onto the table from a standing position. If it lands 5-up this team must finish again. After this the game continues normally.