Matchbox (drinking game)

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For other uses, see Matchbox (disambiguation).

Matchbox is a drinking game[1] of skill played around a table. It can be played by any number of people. The aim is to throw a matchbox such that it lands on its edge or end.[2]

Main Rules[edit]

A "finger" is the amount of beer, in a straight or "conical" pint glass, covered by one finger on the outside of the glass.

Play proceeds around a circle. The player whose turn it is takes the matchbox and throws it. What happens next depends on how the box lands:

  1. End : If the matchbox lands on its end (smallest face) then four fingers are "added" to a penalty pot. Play then continues round the circle.[2]
  2. Edge : If the box lands on an edge (middle-sized face; usually the one with striking paper) then it accumulates two fingers in the penalty pot. Play continues.[2]
  3. Side : If the matchbox lands on its side (the largest face) then the thrower must drink the total number of fingers accumulated in penalty pot so far. Once this has taken place the pot reverts to zero fingers and play continues. If the pot contains no fingers then play simply continues without penalty.[2]

The matchbox may be labelled as a reminder of the numbers. Also an 'R' on one end and one edge may be used to signify that the direction of play should be reversed (if play it was moving anti-clockwise, passing to the right, the box now moves to the left).[citation needed]


As with many drinking games extra or different rules may be used by specific groups. Some are:

  • Accidentally flicking a matchbox into a drink incurs an immediate penalty of four fingers for the thrower.[2]
  • The matchbox not landing on the table incurs a penalty of two fingers for the thrower.[2]
  • Spilling matches from the box is punishable by a fine (a finger or a sip per match).[2]
  • If someone throws the matchbox up high so that it hits the ceiling and then lands on its top end, everyone must finish off their current drink; land it on the edge, everyone must drink half of their current drink.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Best Drinking Game Book Ever by Carlton Books ISBN 1-85868-560-5 page 112
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Scott Tharler. "Matchbox". Under the Table. Collins & Brown. pp. 56–57. ISBN 1-84340-155-X.