If you’re familiar with the hit show New Girl (and by familiar, I mean you’ve binge-watched the entire series on Netflix, because who hasn’t?), then you’ve seen the gang play a crazy, hilarious and impossible to follow drinking game called True American. There’s yelling, shot-gunning and for some reason everyone is standing on the furniture. After watching the series for the second time, I decided I needed to know how to play this insane game. I spent hours consulting every episode in which they play True American, then cross-referenced it with the rules posted on TrueAmericanRules.com, and the result is neatly compiled list of easy to follow rules for the greatest party game ever.
The set up: Set up begins by maneuvering furniture so that people can move in a circle without ever touching the floor, because as Jess and Company makes perfectly clear, the floor is molten lava. The circle can consist of chairs, couches, sturdy tables, and even moveable pieces, like a box to scoot in or a skateboard to transfer you from one chair to the next. At the center of the circle needs to be a table that can be reached from four main points. On this table, you will need to make a “castle” out of beers. The beers are the pawns (or the soldiers of the secret order). They create four lines coming from a bottle of liquor (or King) in the middle, to determine the four main points of the circle. The rest of the beer is then filled in. The exact set up of the castle doesn’t matter, as long as the beer stacks up enough in the middle to hide The King.
The purpose: The purpose of this game is to eventually reach the liquor in the middle. To do this, everyone will move in the circle according to the rules (listed below). Each time they pass one of the four main points of the circle, they may pull a beer from the castle. The idea is to drink away all the beer until someone is able to drink from the liquor, thus winning the game.
The rules: To begin, everyone grabs a beer. In unison, the party yells, “1, 2, 3, 4! JFK! FDR!” and proceeds to shotgun their beer. Whoever shotguns their beer first becomes the “President” or leader of the game. Everyone grabs a new beer and a place on the furniture to start.
There are three ways to move forward in the game:
1) The president counts, “One, two, three!” and on count four, everyone puts a number between one and five on their foreheads. Anyone who does NOT have the same number as anyone else may move forward one step (aka one object of furniture).
2) The president begins a quote from a movie, TV show, or famous historical speech (this is True American, after all). Anyone who finishes the quote VERBATIM may move forward two steps. Example: “The only thing we have to fear…” “Is fear itself!”
3) The president names two objects, people, places, etc. Anyone who correctly guesses what they have in common may move forward three steps. Example: “Electricity, bifocals.” “Benjamin Franklin!”
Anytime a player touches the molten lava floor, they must finish their beer and pick up a new one. The rest of the players may decide where they start back up from, because ~*Democracy.
Players may have up to three beers in their hand. If they are ever caught with more than three or none at all, they must finish what they have / shotgun a new beer, and start back in.
Whenever a player finishes their beer, they must shout, “All junk belongs in the junk yard!” and throw their can into the designated trash can.
Optional Rules: The above rules are necessary for completing a game of True American. However, New Girl often shows crazy antics that are never quite explained, but make for interesting twists to the game. The following rules are optional to add for New Girl authenticity.
If at any point in the game gin is consumed, the player must yell, “I’m Eli Whitney and I invented the cotton gin!” while the rest of the players chant “Gin! Gin! Gin!” until the drink is finished.
The game can be played in teams. These can be determined in two ways:
1) Similar to how the count works. Everyone puts a number between one and five on their forehead. Anyone with matching numbers is on a team.
2) All players line up before the president. The president passes out beers as they designate what team the players on. These can include Bills, Monicas, Greeks, and even people with the Plague. Anytime someone yells “JFK!” the party must reply “FDR!” and finish their drinks.
The key to True American is to have fun! “Everything in True American is a lie,” so rules can be made up or changed as the game goes on. For example, the president can be impeached, or a revolution can decide a new leader. Find out what rules work best for your party! Life hack: once you get a feel for the game, create a poster with the rules on it for the next party—it’ll make it easier for everyone to join in!