What is True American, you ask?
Jess: "So, it's 50% drinking game, 50% life-size Candy Land."
Schmidt: "Well, it's more like 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and by the way the floor is molten lava."
Winston: "It's actually 90% drinking and then it's got a loose Candy Land-like structure to it."
We can always trust Winston to be the voice of reason and truth in these situations. True American is a chaotic, crazy-fun drinking game dreamed up by the creators of New Girl. The characters play the game several times throughout the series, with the rules becoming less and less clear every time.
However, thanks to the incredible TrueAmericanRules.com, we now have a playable (and hilariously awesome!) version that you can enjoy with your friends! Learn how below.
Rule number one: the floor is lava. This is the most important thing to remember in a game of True American. You touch the floor, your team loses. Simple as that.
Winning is a different matter. In the center of the room, there's a table with beers (aka Soldiers of the Secret Circle) protecting a bottle of Jack Daniels (the King). You win the game by being the first one to take a swig from the bottle of Jack. But not so fast, partner – you can't drink the King until all the soldiers have been defeated (aka, all the beers removed and drank).
Step 1: Set up the room.
Create a setup like the one above. Pillows, chairs, furniture, boxes, or whatever you have lying around is used to create paths through the molten lava. Make sure you've got a large table in the middle – this is where you're going to set up your Castle.
Step 2: Make the castle.
Surround whatever bottle of liquor you want to use for the King with four lines of beers. You can use as many or as few beers as you like, depending on the number of people playing – just be careful, as you will have to drink almost all of them before the game is over. So be realistic about your drinking ability.
Make sure that players will be able to reach the table from the four central points on the board. Players need to have a beer in their hands at all time, but they can only get them when they're on one of these four central spots. You can also only take a swig of the King when you're on one of these four spots. Players cannot have more than three beers in hand at any one time.
Step 3: Start the game!
Before you start playing, you need to do two things: pick teams (if you're playing in teams, of course – you can also just do every man for himself) and determine who gets the first turn.
To pick teams, according to TrueAmericanRules, "Everyone holds up a random number of fingers against their foreheads. You are teamed up with anyone else that is holding up the same number of fingers as you. Unmatched players can team up as needed." Or just, y'know, partner up as you wish.
Then, there are two ways to figure out who gets the first turn:
a) a shotgun tipoff (whoever can shotgun a beer the fastest), or
b) a round of rock-paper-scissors.
Whoever wins officially kicks off the game by yelling "One, two, three, four, JFK!" Everyone responds by yelling, "FDR!" and then grabs a beer and retreats to any space on the board.
Step 4: Playing the Game
So now you're going to actually play. Players take turns in a clockwise order. Players also move around the board in a clockwise direction.
So, here's how a turn goes down:
When it's your turn, you get to move one space. You also give other players the opportunity to "win" a move, in one of three ways:
a) The Count: All players yell "1, 2, 3!" and then hold any number of fingers between one and five against their foreheads. Anyone holding a number that no one else has chosen wins. Winners may move one spot.
b) Complete the Quote: Player starts to slowly say a quote from history or pop culture. Any other player that is able to jump in and complete the quote with them wins. Winners may move two spots.
c) Something in Common: The player yells out two people, places, or things. Any other player that can reply with what these two things have in common wins. Winners may move three spots.
So, to sum up, when it's your turn, move a spot, and then do either The Count, a Complete the Quote, or Something in Common. Winners of whatever challenge you choose get to move. Then it's the next person's turn!
Remember these rules!
Players may only take a beer from the Castle when they are in one of the four center spaces.
After all Pawns have been removed, the King is vulnerable. The first player to land on one of the center spaces, finish their beer and take a swig from the King wins!
If you are caught without a beer or with only an empty beer, you lose.
If you step in molten lava, you lose.
To enter back into the game after losing, drink one full beer and start on a space that the other players decide.
When a player finishes their beer, they yell “All trash belongs…” and all other players yell “in the junk yard!” at which point empty cans are thrown into a designated receptacle.
A player may yell “JFK” at any time at which point everyone must yell “FDR” and finish their beer.
Here are some optional rules you can use, most of which come from Unbelievab.ly's awesome version of the game:
Bathroom Rules: If a player needs to use the restroom during the course of the game, they may step in the lava to do so – but only after answering a riddle or personal question decided upon by the rest of the group. Conversely players may also be obliged to take off either their shirt or pants for the remainder of the game.
Rule Creating: One of the most important aspects of True American is that it is a democracy. Any rule can be added, changed, or thrown out if a majority of the group wishes. If you would like to change or instate a rule, simply wait until your turn then make a motion to do so. This allows you to personalize each game for your audience.
Harriet Tubman Rule: If a player is caught using their phone during gameplay, they must use a towel or blanket to travel underneath the table, much like the underground railroad.
President: The person who wins the first turn is declared President. Their job is to settle any disputes and make sure the game runs smoothly. This is a vital rule to use if you're playing with Clinton Rules (read more below). After the President has made two laps of the course, a new President is elected by majority vote.
And finally, there's the most fun (and saucy) optional rule...
Players choose an intern (teammate) at the beginning of gameplay. The President is Bill Clinton, and when it's the presidents turn, the following can happen:
a) The Count: If a player puts up the same number as the President, they have to remove an article of clothing
b) Complete a Quote, or Something in Common: If you respond with a wrong answer, you remove an article of clothing.
c) Order of The President: If the President feels like it, they can order you to take off an article of clothing. That executive branch has a lot of power, man.
d) Bribes: On your turn, you can bribe the President to let you move an extra space forward by removing an article of clothing. It's according to the President's discretion whether they want to accept your bribe or not.
If you get down to underwear, you lose.
So there you have it! You're all ready to play. For a quick summary, watch the helpful video above :)
And check out the video above to see the scene where it all started! (clip is from New Girl season 1 episode, "Normal")