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Roman 21′s

Drinking Games

This drinking game is a counting game for players sat in a circle, the aim being to avoid saying the number 21.

The player elected to starts begins by saying: “To my left…/To my right…” followed by “1…“, and then play continues in the direction to that player’s left or right around the circle with players counting upwards.

A player can choose to say any of the following, it which case play is affected as follows:

  • A single number on its own (e.g. “3“) – play continues in the current direction
  • Two numbers in succession (e.g. “4, 5“) – the direction of play is then reversed
  • Three numbers in succession (e.g. “6,7,8“) – the next player is skipped out

Three kinds of sets of numbers may not be repeated in a row. That is, a single number must not be said three times in a row by different players, nor may two numbers in succession be said three times in a row, and nor may three numbers in succession. If this occurs, the offending player drinks a penalty three fingers, and the phrase “Three in a row” is sung repeatedly as an accompaniment to this.

Play continues until either the number 21 is reached, or someone makes a mistake, such as saying the wrong number or speaking out of turn. The offending player drinks two fingers as punishment. They then start the game again from 1.

When a player is forced to say the number 21, play stops and that player downs their remaining drink. They will then start the next game from 1.

The player who lost the previous round by saying “21” is allowed to invent a new ‘rule’ for the next and subsequent games. This can be anything the player chooses, although some common examples could be:

  • Replace any number with a particular phrase or action
  • Switch two of the numbers over
  • Replace multiples of 3 with the equivalent number in French

Failure to observe the new rule in a later game again results in a two finger drinking penalty. Further rules are added after each time 21 is again reached.


Roman Numeral 21s

The rules of this game are exactly the same as for standard 21s (see above), but now roman numerals are used instead.

For example the first player might call: “To my left, I, II, III” which would mean the person two places to this players left would have to say “IV…“, and so on.

A variation on this version of the game is played in the same way, but with any three words replacing the letters I, V and X. For example, I could be replaced with dog, V with cat and X with monkey, so a game could start “To my right, dog, dog dog“, and continue from there. Again as an example, the number 16 (XVI) in this game would be “monkey cat dog“.

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