Twenty One Drinking Game Rules

The drinking game known simply as 21 is a vocal drinking game in which players try to make it all the way to 21 without messing up. They can say one to four numbers, but depending how many they choose determines who’s turn it is next so it’s easy to mess up. This game works with any number of players but works best with around 4-8 players.

What You’ll Need

Since this is only a word based drinking game all you need is some players and drinks. No extra supplies necessary.

Twenty One Drinking Game Rules

The goal of the game is to count up from 1 to 21. Players take turns saying the next 1-4 numbers but depending how many they say is what happens next.

The game opens with someone saying “I propose a game of 21 to my left/right” If that person says left then the game goes counter clockwise, if they say right it goes clockwise.

From there the next player says the first number(s). They can say “1”, “1,2”, “1,2,3” or “1,2,3,4”.

If they only say one number play order continues in the direction it was already going. If they say 2 numbers then the play reverses direction. If they say 3 numbers then play order continues the original way but skips a person. If they say 4 numbers play order reverses and also skips a person.

Play continues with players saying the next numbers in order until they reach 21. If anyone messes up they drink and now the game restarts at 1. However if players get to 21 then everyone cheers and takes a drink.

Bonus Rules

  • Players aren’t allowed to say the number 13. Instead they simply nod.
  • Players aren’t allowed to same the same amount of numbers as the player before them


The 21 drinking game is more confusing than anything. It sounds easy but it’s really easy to mess up. However if you find the game is getting too easy try adding in more bonus rules every time 21 is reached.