How to Play New Girl's True American

As a fan of New Girl, I’ve always wondered: is the drinking game True American actually fun? On the show it’s a fast-paced drinking game with almost nonsensical rules that are supposed to disorient any of the new players Jess and the gang invite. My curiosity was piqued, so gathering two other friends on a night that wasn’t probably the best since we all needed to be up at seven the next morning, we armed ourselves with a random assortment of beer.

Objective and concept: Now, True American is a mix of Candy Land, trivia and the floor is lava. You have to set up pillows, chairs and whatever else you have around your chosen space to make your way around a central table or ‘castle’ where all your alcohol will be located. It’s best to use things that are sturdy for you’ll have to be standing on them. At times players will be standing on a space at once so be careful of that when you’re picking chairs and tables to stand on.

The castle and zones: Once you have all of your spaces set up around the castle you’ll need to place up your king (one bottle of hard alcohol or whatever you have that’s distinguishably different from the rest of the beer) and pawns (beer). The king will be in the middle. It is your end goal. Who ever is able to sip out of the king first wins, but you have to diminish all the pawns first.

There are four zones. The blue dots are the pawns. You can have as many pawns as you feel comfortable with depending on how many people you are playing with and how much you want to consume. This is a fairly nonsensical game that can be adapted into however you wish to play. We played with three pawns in each quadrant. Each row of pawns are zones. Out of the circle of furniture and pillows that you’ve created for spots there will be a main spot or zone base that you’ll assign to a line of pawns (usually the spot closest to pawn row). We labeled the zone bases and the lines with sticky notes just so we wouldn’t forget where everything was.

How to start (please drink responsibly): “One, two, three, JFK! FDR!” After that phrase is shouted, everyone will need to take a drink from a zone and go to a space in that zone. The game is supposed to start with someone shotgunning a beer, but I’m really not about to do that in the Hamline Apartments, so we all just took what we deemed were ‘hardy sips’ and called it good.

Game Play: The players must move clockwise around the board. They can move a space (we only did one space for our play area wasn’t that big) by doing three almost minigames that don’t have an order of who initiates them. 1. A player shouts “one, two, three” and all players put a number of fingers from one to five up to their forehead. Those who have different numbers get to move forward and need to take a sip, those with the same numbers stay where they are. We chose three way too many times as a number causing very few of us to move during these rounds. 2. Complete a quote: a player can start a quote such as “Luke I am…” then whatever player(s) can complete the quote first (“your father”) gets to move forward a space and take a sip. 3. Something in common: A player says two things that have something in common (“apple and banana”) and whatever player(s) can state what they have in common (“fruit”) get to move forward and take a sip.

If you touch the floor you’re out, if you throw up you are out, if you are caught with an empty beer in your hand or none at all you are out. To get back in you must chug a beer. We just did the ‘hardy sip’ thing again and called it good whenever this happened. If you have an empty beer you must throw it in the trash. You are able to grab up to three beers at a time. You must finish all of your beers before getting to the king.

Winning: Once all pawns are cleaned from the castle and you have no more beers in hand, you can land on a zone base spot, finish your last beer and steal the king. The first person to take a swig from the king wins.

Thoughts: The game play of True American is way slower than the T.V. show makes it out to be. It’s super slow and feels a bit rhythmic. We watched other people on YouTube afterwards to see if we were just horrible at the game and slow, but nope, everyone was slow at it. Even with the slowness though it’s fun. It forces you to think and going from pillow to pillow was entertaining. We had to stop ourselves from jumping, though, out of fear of disturbing neighbors. As you probably could tell we played a milder version with no chugging or shotgunning, but it was still compelling without it and allowed us to use less beer. We did use some cider for a couple of our pawns and I would suggest avoiding that for something sweet isn’t meant to be drank in such a quick amount of time. The game is very easily adaptable to accommodate any and all spaces or drinking habits. That’s probably the most fun bit about the game is its ability to make it your own.

I would suggest this game for anyone, for its very low pressure and just fun all the way around. If you can do it with more than three people and a large space it makes the game better. I would say about five people is probably a sweet spot for numbers. You could easily play the game with nonalcoholic drinks too if you wish. Make the game your own and don’t be afraid to adapt the rules or feel disheartened if it doesn’t look like it did in the show. It’s high stakes Candyland, what can go wrong?