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Players 4+
Setup time 1 minute
Playing time As short/long as players choose
Skill(s) required Speed, Focus

Shoulders is a drinking game that involves players competing in a fast-paced game attempting to "count" to 21.


  • 2 Arms
  • Beer

Set up[edit]

Players form a circle. Preferably around a table.

Game play[edit]

  • The game begins with a player slapping his left/right shoulder, this starts the count at 1.
  • Depending on which shoulder is hit, the player to that immediate side of the slapper then slaps their right/left shoulder"
  • The Count continues until the group reaches 21.

Special Slaps[edit]

Special Slaps occur at a predetermined number to increase difficulty and creativity to the game.

  • Common numbers for special slaps are:
    • 7,10,14,20 & 21
      • They usually occur in pairs (7&14)(10&20)
  • Common S.S's are:
    • Point (10)/Double Point (20)= A player points to the person to go next while calling out the correct number
      • The pointer CAN pick players NOT to their immediate left/right.
    • High Cross(7)/Low Cross(14)= A player overlaps their arms (think like a genie but with space between)and depending on whether it is a high/low cross that predetermined hand indicates which player (to his left/right) continues.
      • The current slapper can only go to his immediate left/right w/ the high/low cross
  • If the game is set to end with a special slap, the player counting off 21 must act out the special slap even though there is no 22.


The count resets and a player must drink when:

  • He/she slaps out of turn
  • Counts off the incorrect number
  • Fails to recognize it is their turn
  • Fails to execute the Special Slaps

Appoint a Shoulders Commissioner. A player who decides when any player has made a mistake or taken too long.

Getting to 21[edit]

If/When you get to 21, the group celebrates with a waterfall.

  • An alternative way to play is to get to 21, execute a special slap then count back down to 1 using the same rules. This increases the difficulty and extends the game.
  • Another alternative is "Kaboom". Instead of saying 21 the player says "Kaboom" with a downward fist pump motion to either the right or the left. That player will have to finish their drink and make a new rule for the game.
  • A third alternative is that the 21st player can create a new rule. This can be a new special slap for an unused number, or some other restriction or addition. The game is repeated with this new rule. More rules are added as more games are won.


There are some additional(optional) fines that can be imposed when a player performs any of the following manoeuvres during the game.

Dave Grohl: This is when a player attempts to use his left hand on left shoulder or right hand on right shoulder to send the game on. A double drinking fine should be imposed for this.

The Wilson: When attempting a high/low cross manoeuvre the player end up creating an "X" with his arms with both hands pointing up. Player should finish their drink for this one.