Categories Drinking Game Rules

The “Categories” drinking game is a classic and enjoyable social activity that often becomes the life of the party. It’s simple to play, requires minimal setup, and can be adapted to suit various group sizes and preferences. In this guide, we’ll delve into the rules and guidelines for playing the Categories drinking game to ensure you have a fantastic time with friends.

Game Setup

Before diving into the rules, here’s what you need to get started with the Categories drinking game:

  1. Alcoholic Beverages: Choose your favorite drinks, whether it’s beer, wine, spirits, or cocktails.
  2. Players: Gather a group of friends or acquaintances to participate. This game is best enjoyed with a minimum of four players but can accommodate larger groups.
  3. A Table or Playing Area: Ensure you have a flat surface where participants can sit or stand comfortably.
  4. A Timer or Smartphone: You’ll need a way to keep track of time during each round.

How to Play

The Categories drinking game is incredibly straightforward and follows these basic steps:.

Select a Category

A player begins by choosing a category. This can be anything from “Types of Cars” to “Movie Titles” or “Countries in Europe.” The key is to keep it manageable and relevant to the group’s knowledge.

Start the Timer

Once the category is chosen, the player starts the timer. Depending on the group’s preference, the timer can be set for 10-30 seconds.

Round Begins

As soon as the timer starts, players take turns naming items or examples that fit within the chosen category. For example, if the category is “Types of Fruit,” players might say “apple,” “banana,” “orange,” and so on.


When a player fails to come up with a valid answer within the allocated time or repeats an item, they are eliminated from the round.

Drinking Penalty

The player who gets eliminated from the round must take a drink as a penalty.

Restart with a New Category

The player who was eliminated starts the next round by choosing a new category, and the game continues in this manner

Additional Rules and Variations

  • Time Limit: You can adjust the time limit to make the game more challenging or relaxed, depending on your group’s preference.
  • Penalty Intensity: Instead of just taking a sip, some groups opt for more substantial drinking penalties for eliminated players.
  • Stricter Rules: Some versions of the game implement stricter rules, such as disqualifying players for hesitation or incorrect answers.
  • Reverse Order: To add an extra layer of challenge, you can play in reverse order, where players must name items in the category but backward (e.g., “Zebra” instead of “Apple” in the “Animals” category).

Enjoy Responsibly

As with any drinking game, it’s important to enjoy the Categories drinking game responsibly. Keep track of your alcohol consumption, know your limits, and never drink and drive. The primary goal is to have fun and create memorable moments with friends, so always prioritize safety and well-being while playing.


Q1: Can we use non-alcoholic beverages for the Categories drinking game?

A1: Absolutely! The choice of beverages is entirely up to the participants. You can use non-alcoholic drinks or even water if you prefer to play without alcohol.

Q2: What should I do if someone in the group is not comfortable with drinking alcohol?

A2: Respect everyone’s preferences. If someone doesn’t want to consume alcohol, they can still participate in the game by using non-alcoholic beverages or even snacks instead of drinks for penalties.

Q3: Are there any age restrictions for playing the Categories drinking game?

A3: The Categories drinking game can be enjoyed by adults of legal drinking age. Ensure that all participants are of legal drinking age if you choose to include alcoholic beverages.

Q4: Can we create custom categories for the game?

A4: Absolutely! Custom categories can add a personalized touch to the game and make it even more enjoyable. Feel free to get creative with your category choices.

Q5: What happens if no one can think of an answer within the time limit?

A5: If the timer runs out, and no one can come up with a valid answer, the player who selected the category can decide whether to restart the round with a new category or continue with the same one.

Q6: Is there a recommended number of players for the game?

A6: The game works best with a minimum of four players, but it can be adapted for larger groups. However, too many players may result in longer rounds, so consider adjusting the time limit accordingly.

Q7: Can we modify the rules to make the game more challenging?

A7: Absolutely! The rules of the Categories drinking game are flexible, and you can modify them to suit your group’s preferences. For added challenge, you can implement stricter rules or unique variations.

Q8: How can we ensure the game is played responsibly?

A8: Responsible play is crucial. Always keep track of your alcohol consumption, know your limits, and never drink and drive. Encourage a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone participating.

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