The Ultimate Guide to Beer Die Rules: Enjoy Responsibly

I recently was having a conversation with friends about the different drinking games, when I mentioned Beer Die. I was surprised when not a single person heard of this game. It made me realize this game may not be as well known, and I would share how to play beer die and what are the beer die rules. 

I’ll be covering everything from the origins of Beer Die, how to play, the rules of Beer Die, and the many variations of the game.


What is Beer Die?

Ever since a friend introduced me to the game during a college tailgate party, Beer die, or “Snappa,” is a time-honored tradition for many, especially among college students. It’s a lively, sociable game that requires both skill and a dash of luck. But to make the most of it, you need to understand the rules. In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about beer die, from its origins to the variations in rules that you might encounter. As with any drinking game, though, remember the golden rule: enjoy responsibly.

At its core, beer die is a game of skill, precision, quick reflexes, and of course, drinking. The main objective is to toss a six-sided die into the air so that it lands on your opponents’ half of the table. The opposing team then tries to catch the die after it bounces. The game is played until a predetermined number of points is reached, often first to 21.

Origins of Beer Die

The origins of beer die are somewhat murky, but the game is thought to date back to the 1960s or 1970s. Some believe that it originated in the fraternities of Dartmouth College, while others claim that it first surfaced at universities in Wisconsin. Regardless of its true birthplace, beer die has since spread across North America and gained a following at colleges and universities far and wide.

The Basics of the Game

Beer die is a table-based drinking game involving four players, a die, two cups of beer, and a table. Players sit at the corners of the table and toss a die into the air, aiming to have it land within their opponent’s half of the table. The opposing team can catch the die once it has hit the table and before it hits the ground, but only using one hand. If the die lands in one of the cups, it’s an instant win for the throwing team.

Essential Equipment for Beer Die

Like any game, there are specific things you’ll need to fully play the game. Let’s take a look.

The Die

The game gets its name from the six-sided die used to play. The die should be standard-sized – not too large, not too small – to ensure a fair game. Some players prefer to use a white die for better visibility.

The Table

The table used for beer die should be at least 8 feet long, though some players opt for a larger table for an added challenge. It’s also recommended to use a table with a hard, flat surface to allow for a consistent bounce of the die.

The Cups

Each player will need a cup of beer placed on their corner of the table. These cups serve as both a target for the throwing team and a source of refreshment during the game.

Basic Rules of Beer Die

Let’s take a look at the basic rules of Beer Die.

Starting the Game

The game begins with each team sitting on opposite sides of a table, with each player having a cup of beer at their corner. One team starts by tossing the die; the player must ensure that the die is thrown at least a foot above their head (some rules specify the die must reach the height of the ceiling).

The Toss

The primary objective of each toss is to throw the die so that it lands on the opponent’s half of the table. The die must be tossed underhand. The opposing team can catch the die only after it has bounced once off their half of the table.

Scoring Points

Points are scored when the die lands on the opponent’s side of the table and then hits the floor without being caught, or if it lands in an opponent’s cup. If the die lands in a cup, that team immediately loses and the game is over. In all other cases, the first team to reach a predetermined number of points, usually 21, wins the game.


Whenever a team scores a point, the opposing team must take a drink. If a player tosses the die and it does not reach the opposing side of the table, their team must also take a drink.

The Art of the Catch

Catching the die is as important as the toss itself. Only one hand can be used and it must be done after the die has bounced off the table. If the die touches a player’s body or hand before bouncing and then falls to the ground, the other team scores a point.

Common Penalties

Typically, a penalty results in the offending team taking a drink. Penalties are incurred for various infractions, such as failing to toss the die high enough, tossing the die off the table, or attempting to catch the die before it bounces.

The rules of beer die can vary greatly depending on where and who you’re playing with, so it’s always a good idea to clarify the rules before starting a game. The most important rule, though, is to have fun and drink responsibly.

Variations of Beer Die

As with many drinking games, players have developed their own variants of beer die. These can range from altering the size of the table or the number of cups used, to introducing more complex rules about scoring or catching.

Sink Die

Sink Die is a variation of Beer Die that specifically focuses on sinking the die in an opponent’s cup. The cup is filled to the top and placed in the middle of the table. When a die is successfully thrown into the cup, the opposing team must drink all of the beer in the cup.

Beer Die with Paddles

This variation includes paddles in the game, similar to Ping Pong paddles. The rules remain largely the same, except players use the paddles to catch the die instead of their hands. It adds an extra layer of difficulty and excitement to the game.

Speed Die

In Speed Die, teams take turns as quickly as possible, keeping the pace of the game at a fast and frantic level. Speed Die can become very intense, as the swift changes in turns can lead to rapid shifts in the score.

House Rules

Many players and groups have their own “House Rules” that add new twists and changes to the game. These can include different ways to score points, specific penalties for certain actions, or even new actions players can take. Always be sure to clarify any house rules before starting a game.

Competitive Beer Die

There are even competitive variations of Beer Die, where players or teams compete in tournaments or leagues. These games often have stricter rules and regulations to ensure fair play and can be a great way to enjoy the game in a competitive setting.

Beer Die with Teams

In this variant, players form teams of two. Each player from a team throws once per turn, and points scored by the team members are combined. This can add an extra layer of strategy to the game, as teams must work together to maximize their points.

Bizz-Buzz Beer Die

In this version of the game, rules from the traditional verbal game “Bizz Buzz” are incorporated. When the die lands on a number that is a multiple of 3, the throwing team must say “Bizz”. When the die lands on a number that is a multiple of 5, they must say “Buzz”. Failure to do so results in a penalty.

Safety and Enjoyment

Enjoy Responsibly

While beer die can be a fun and social game, it’s important to play responsibly. This means being aware of your limits, keeping an eye on how much you’re drinking, and ensuring you’re in a safe environment. Remember, the goal of the game is to have fun!

Respect Others

Respect for your fellow players is a key part of any game, and beer die is no different. Be aware of your teammates’ and opponents’ comfort levels and never pressure anyone into drinking more than they’re comfortable with.

The Appeal of Beer Die

Over time, I’ve realized the main allure of Beer die is that it combines competition with social interaction. This balance of competition and camaraderie is what makes beer die a hit at many parties and gatherings.

Competitive Yet Social

One of the main draws of beer die is that it combines competition with social interaction. Players need to be skillful throwers and tacticians, but they also need to be mindful of the social dynamic around the table. This balance of competition and camaraderie makes beer die a hit at many parties and gatherings.

Room for Creativity

Beer die rules aren’t set in stone, and this allows for a lot of creativity. Players can add new twists to the rules or come up with entirely new versions of the game. This flexibility means that beer die never gets stale and always offers a fresh challenge.

How to Play Beer Die Conclusion

Beer die is a game of skill, luck, and social finesse. It’s a great way to enjoy a casual drink with friends while also indulging in a bit of friendly competition. It can be great to play on National Beer Day, the beer Olympics, or in addition to other games like beer pong, beer ball or other games. As with any drinking game, the key to enjoying beer die is to play responsibly and ensure everyone is having a good time.

Beer Die Rules FAQs

What’s the best strategy for winning at beer die?

While there’s some element of luck involved, a good strategy is to aim your throws so the die bounces near the edge of the table, making it harder for your opponents to catch.

Can you play beer die without beer?

Absolutely! You can play with any beverage of your choice, beer from a can or bottle, a keg, non alcoholic beers or any drink. The game is about fun and camaraderie, not just drinking.

What happens if the die lands in my own cup?

Typically, this results in an automatic loss. But remember, rules can vary so always establish the rules before you start playing.

How many people do you need to play beer die?

You need at least two people to play beer die, but the game can be more fun with larger groups.

Is there a penalty for failing to catch the die in beer die?

Yes, if the die bounces off the table and you fail to catch it before it lands on the ground, your opponent(s) usually get points.

beer your way

Michael Wilson

With over 15 years of experience in the beer industry, I love sharing both my own and other beer experts knowledge on everything beer related. I've always loved the fact that beer has brought cultures and people together for thousands of years and the tradition only continues to grow.

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