In 2009, newly introduced to Rutgers as a freshman, I founded a chapter of a national fraternity that thrives on campus to this day.
Four years later, I graduated with a degree in physics and a taste for beer.
In my years at Rutgers, we had a handful of go-to drinking games. Pong was champion and flip-cup came in a distant second, but before the frat houses and pong tables all we had was a dorm room, a plastic handle of terrible terrible vodka, and a deck of cards.
We played Kings.
aka Circle of Death.
aka Ring of Fire.
The game was simple: shuffle, draw a card, do the rule.
Picked up a seven? Heaven. Last person to point up drinks.
Draw a three? Me. Drink.
It got us hammered in no time. Well, the terrible vodka and low tolerance to it is what really got us hammered, but you get the idea.
But, there were always a few problems.
First off, we always forgot the rules – especially after a few rounds.
Second, some of the rules sucked. Honestly, Question Master is worthless and should be destroyed from human memory.
Thirdly, the cards always got ruined or sticky. Somebody always spills a drink and it’s always on the cards.
Fourth, there were only 13 possible rules? It got kind of boring after a bit.
Finally, playing with that god awful King’s cup is the worst thing to happen to anyone. Like, who wants to get stuck drinking a mix of beer, wine, and liquor. It makes me gag just to think of it. Nobody wants to puke.
So, I said screw that and made my own drinking card game: Cheers.
Originally, I named it Cards Against Sobriety, but you-know-who didn’t like that too much.
It had everything I wanted and nothing I hated.
Rules on the cards? Check.
Better, cooler rules? 36 of them instead of 13.
Waterproof, rinsable cards? Nope! Just play it online for free!
More than 13 rules? Yup! And they have different number of cards depending on the severity.
No King’s cup? No King’s cup… unless you’re into that. You do you man.
I’ve gone off in a few directions with this.
First, I hired a designer to create a card template and used it to produce all my rules.
I then copied and pasted them into sheets, printed them, laminated them, and cut them all out by hand – all 36 rules on 130 cards times three decks.
Play testing was a blast and cards were quickly validated as fun or not.
Then, I had to stomach the idea of mass ordering thousands of card decks in order to sell them online or trying to run a Kickstarter campaign for the first time.
As a compromise, I put up a website with the free downloadable print files. Anyone could enter their email and download the game for free. Of course, they’d need to print, laminate, and cut them out – but it’s possible for the hard-headed.
Then, acknowledging how unlikely people were to print the cards, I decided to put my tech skills to the test and built an online version of the game – complete with flip animations.
Now, there were certainly some limitations with a basic MVP. Any held cards would need to be handled by the user, so I opted to give them no responsibility and removed those cards from the online version.
Blank cards would need a more advanced build and would add more complication than enjoyment – and I’ve never filled out a blank card ever.
On top of that, playing a drinking game with a phone may not feel as natural and community-driven as cards played on a table.
Maybe Mobile is Better
But, the online version does provide some interesting engagement opportunities.
For one, you could engage with social media – posting on each others walls, sharing, tweeting, etc.
You could set timers, design audio/video cards, use gifs, explore UI interaction or other games.
The possibility of syncing across phones is a distinct possibility and would allow for a more full use of held cards, stats, and deeper gameplay.
For now, I’m focused on user acquisition and getting feedback from people who’ve played the game. Is it fun? Would you buy it?
Meanwhile, I’ll just enjoy playing it with my friends with
better vodka tasty beers.