Tl;dr: play more Caps

Photo-illustration by Emily Cerf

In the dumpster outside of every fraternity is a mass grave of discarded red plastic cups and shotgunned Natty Lights, marinating in the sticky residue of watermelon Four Loko and Skol vodka.  The likely culprit: drinking games. As the putrid smell sucker- punches your nostrils, an infomercial- esque thought emerges. “There must be a better way.”

But since Evanston has not developed adequate Red Solo cup recycling technology, these archaeological remnants of Beta Apple Pi will continue to rot in the landfill until our dying days (which, based on this winter, may be sooner than we think).

A night of drinking games can go through hundreds of cups and wreak irreparable havoc on the planet. It’s time to start living in the 21st century and be eco-conscious about your alcohol consumption. Plus, caring about the environment is all the rage. #careforclout.

To help you help the planet, NBN compiled a list of some of the best and worst drinking games to play, so you can cut down on plastic consumption while upping your alcohol consumption. [After all, green Solo cups do the job just as well as red.]

Lots of cups:

These are the worst games. Avoid them at all costs.

Beer Pong:
Beer Pong, the most ubiquitous of these ball-in-cup drinking games, is overplayed and unsustainable. One game of Beer Pong uses  ve cups per person and each person only drinks one beer. For the amount of plastic you’re putting into the ocean, you should at least be putting more alcohol in your body. A game can take  ve to 15 minutes, depending on how good everyone is. Pro tip: don’t play with that random girl who says she’s “basically a brother” even though no one knows her name. Besides, throwing balls into cups gets old.

21-Cup is an even more wasteful take on Beer Pong, played with six people instead of four. Both teams set up their beers in a triangular formation, like in beer pong, but instead of two beers and 10 cups per side, teams play with three beers and 21 cups per side. Hence the super creative name.  That comes in at an astounding seven cups per person, so you’re using more cups and drinking the same tiny amount of stale beer. In summary, if the name of your drinking game is basically bragging about how many cups it uses, it’ll probably cause an environmental tragedy.

Stack Cup/Slap Cup/Rage Cage:
Just because it has many names does not make this game more advanced. In this case, more names actually means more cups and more dead turtles, probably. These games all revolve around putting a mountain of cups in the middle of the table with an insufficient amount of beer in each, and getting rid of one each time you drink. There is no good way to accurately say how many cups per person this game uses, but we’ve seen seven people play with a whopping 50 to 60 cups.

Low cups:

If you want to be eco-friendly, but don’t want to be ostracized by your Bloomberg-supporting friends for being too granola.

Based on the namesake sport, Baseball is played by lining up four cups in a row at each end of the table and three cups spread out on each side of the table.  e game follows the painfully slow motions of baseball. Teams take turns “hitting” by trying to throw the ball into one of the cups lined up on the other end of the table.  is game uses 14 cups and is played by a minimum of eight people.  at comes out to 1.75 cups per person, a vast improvement over any of the more fast-paced games.

Beer Die:
Popular in warmer climates and usually played outdoors, Beer Die uses only one full cup of beer per person. Teams take turns trying to throw dice in the air, letting them bounce o  the opposing team’s side of the table, and hit the ground without the opposing team catching it. If you are scored on, you drink a little of your beer. First team to 10 wins.

No cups:

Saving the planet, one blackout at a time.

Beer Ball:
If you’re afraid of change, Beer Ball lets you cling to the tradition of throwing ping pong balls while eliminating plastic consumption in a revolutionary way. Instead of cups, each player has a can of beer in front of them.  e opposing team tries to hit the beer can with the ball. If they succeed, the thrower then starts drinking their beer until the team that got hit can get the ball and touch it to the table. Unlike most other drinking games, you win when you finish your beers, so you don’t have to choose between winning and getting drunk.
Cheers to the Governor:
All you need to play this game is a beer or drink of your choice. Everyone goes in a circle, counting out loud. Once someone in the group makes it to 21 everyone says, “Cheers to the governor” and a new rule is added. If you break a rule or mess up, everyone drinks and you start over at one.  e game always starts with the rule that 7 and 14 are switched.  e additional rules can be whatever you want. Now, if state politicians took environmental policy more seriously, that’d be the real Cheers to the Governor.

Harmon Killebrew:
Like “Cheers to the Governor,” all you need to play this game is one beer or drink of your choice. One person starts by saying the name Harmon Killebrew (famous baseball player from the 1960s whose last name is pronounced kill-a- brew).  e person next to them must name a famous person whose first name starts with the letter “K.”  e following player then has to name a famous person whose name starts with the first letter of the former person’s last name. Continue around the circle until someone can’t name a person. In that case, they drink. If you want to be extra hip, see how many times you can say Greta Thunberg in a round.

A game so closely connected to Northwestern that the school has its own section on the Wikipedia page, Caps might be the ultimate sustainable drinking game. For whoever has so far managed to escape this game, it is played with two glass steins full of beer set up on opposite sides of the room. Teams of two take turns attempting to throw old bottle caps into the steins.  is game hits all three R’s. Reduce: Caps uses no cups, and if you can get your hands on a keg, it can potentially be can-free, too. Reuse: Caps gives a great use to old bottle caps, which are usually discarded and forgotten about. Recycle: If you do happen to use cans to  ll up your steins, those can be easily recycled after the game. And if your belligerent fraternity brother breaks a stein, you can use the pieces to create a stunning mosaic.

In conclusion, stop playing Beer Pong, start playing Caps.