If you’re one of the cool kids, then you’ve noticed the surge in popularity of Beer Die. If you don’t sit at the cool table during lunch, then you may have missed it and are wondering why you see dozens of shirtless frat boys throwing dice at each other when it’s sunny out. Regardless of your social status, Beer Die is in and, as summer comes into full swing, it’s the drinking game you’ll be playing.
During the long, humid, and boring summer of 1923 deep within the forests of Maine, there was but one thing to do: drink. The times had made alcohol a necessity and a staple of everyday life, so, naturally, new ways to consume it were being invented every day. With prohibition forcing college students to disguise their alcohol consumption, dice games were played while drinking in order to fool authorities. Then, out of a ray of brilliance and creativity, the great game we know today emerged as Sir Rolo Polo organized the first ever game of Beer Die. The men of Lambda Nu first played the game with a long, rectangular table, four cups of beer, and two dice. The initial game also involved the players sitting down which is also referred to as Snappa--where the only real difference is sitting down.
The premise was simple. Four players on each corner toss a die into the air onto the opposing side of the table. If the die bounces of the table and is caught with only one hand by the other team, nothing happens. But, if the die falls to the ground or is not cleanly caught, the tossing team gets a point. More points are awarded if the throwing team is able to hit or sink a die in the opposing cups, but the general objective is landing dice on the other side.
The sudden rise of this almost-sport was difficult to pinpoint. Given some unique qualities to the game, it certainly has mass appeal.
Second, the game is so dramatically played and often acrobatic that it can be considered an athletic pursuit. The amount of hand-eye coordination, throwing form, and core strength actually made Beer Die a candidate for an official Olympic sport. After the IOC rejected it as an Olympic sport in 1936, the game was pushed to back-alley tournaments and underground gambling rings where it remained until late 2014 where it made a resurgence in the Southern college fraternity culture.
Last, the storied drinking game is the perfect combination of skill and chance. The players have enough randomness from the erratic bounces of the dice to make the game unpredictable, but the game also relies on the skill of throwing and catching to make the game competitive. Part of the fun is that the game is very difficult in nature (you see how well you can one-handedly snag dice out of the air). Overall, Beer Die players like playing because not everyone can do it like flip cup or beer pong, it takes practice.
For now, the coolest of the cool at colleges across the nation are tossin’ dice on warm summer days. Drinking cold beer and hanging out with your friends in the sun is really what summer is all about and playing Beer Die is just another way to do that. So, this summer, reconsider your values and get drunk at 2 in the afternoon the right way... with the cool kids.