Caps (drinking game)
Caps is a drinking game that involves throwing bottle caps into beer mugs (North America, North Europe, and Argentina), or at another other bottle with a cap balanced on open beer bottles upside down (France).
Four players split into two teams seated 8 to 16 feet apart (butts behind the cup), with a beer mug filled with beer placed between both players. Each side take turns throwing 1 cap each into their opponents' mug. Each time a team makes a shot, the other team gets a chance to "top it" or "match the shot" (rebuttal) by making a shot. If no cancel is made, the team that made the original shot or last top gets the points while the other team must drink a full beer between them. However, if a top is made, the team which originally made the shot tries to make a top as well. This exchange continues until a top shot is missed, at which point the team that missed drinks its beer and a point or points may be awarded to the team that made the last successful shot. The game then continues with both teams taking turns shooting.
The first team to reach five points wins, or the first team to be two points ahead after five. If there is an occasion where three out of the four players make a cap within four shots, the odd man out is the beer fetcher ("bitch"), and if all four players make back-to-back shots then a social is called and both teams drink their beers.
Northwestern University plays their own version of caps that has spread to other Big Ten schools as well as universities across the country. In this version of the game, four players in teams of two, sit approximately 15 feet apart. Players on the same team sit adjacent to each other about 15 feet away from the opposing team. A 25 oz glass beer stein or tankard/mug is placed between players on the same team, two of these mugs are needed for the game. Usually at least one glass full of beer or bottle caps is required to play a game. Some groups and players prefer to play where both teams sit with their backs against a wall with the mugs that are between each team also pushed back against the wall. This is often done as the distance between walls in bedrooms is often the right distance to play the game and it also prevents caps from flying everywhere preventing breaks in the game to collect caps. Others simply play wherever there is space, this is frequently in the hallways of fraternity houses.
With the two teams of two set up on opposing side, distribute the caps about evenly between the two teams and pour a can of beer in each mug to complete the setup. The game begins with the youngest player throwing or tossing her cap first. There is no rule as to how a cap must be thrown, only that you must remain seated while throwing. The most common throwing technique is to grip the lip of the cap between thumb and index finger and fling it across to the opponents mug. After the youngest person goes a person on the opposite team (across the playing field) then proceeds to throw a cap. After that person the other teammate on the original team throws and then finally the last person on the second team throws and the game continues in this order. Or simplified it goes, youngest player first (team 1 player 1), then team 2 player 1, then team 1 player 2, and finally team 2 player 2 continuing in this order for the entirety of the game.
If a player hits or sinks a cap into the opposing teams beer without it hitting the ground or wall first the opposing team will get once chance to rebuttal and try to make the a cap in the other teams mug. If the rebuttal is missed the team that missed the rebuttal must drink the beer in their mug and the other team gets a point. Most often the beer is split 50/50 between players, but some choose to alternate whole beers every point. If the team makes a rebuttal then the team that made the original cap gets a chance to shoot again and rebuttal the rebuttal. This second shot should be from the player that did not sink the first cap since the game must always continue in the alternating order that the game began with. Rebuttals can go back and forth as long as the teams keep making caps. When a rebuttal is made no team is awarded a point no matter how many rebuttals there were or who was the last team to miss. Some play that when a rebuttal is hit the team to miss last must drink their beer even though the other team is not awarded a point, others play where after a rebuttal both teams drink regardless of who missed last.
A typical game is first to 11 points and is always win by 2 caps. Therefore, if the game is tied 10-10 the next cap does not win as they would only be up by 1 cap. After a team sinks the final cap that would give them the necessary points to claim a victory, instead of just the next player getting a chance to rebuttal, both teammates will get a chance to sink the cap and keep the game alive.
Traditionally, if a player goes the entire game without ever sinking a single cap cleanly (i.e. it does not bounce off the wall or the ground before going in) this player would have to do either a naked lap around the house or building that is being played in, shotgun a beer, or get beer showered by the opposing team. Some play that a player must score a point (i.e. rebuttal shots or shots that get rebutted do not count) to avoid this punishment.
Additional house rules include drinking for bounces. Example - Player 1 bounces a cap into the glass. Player 2 misses the rebuttal shot and then Player 2's team drinks, but Player 1's team does not receive a point. If Player 2 makes the rebuttal shot, it is treated as a first made cap and Player 3 would have to rebut to prevent a point and drinking. If a player is taking too long to drink after his team loses the point, his team falls subject to the T-Dawg rule. If the player is holding his stein and not drinking, the other team can try to sink an additional cap into the stein. If successful, no additional points are awarded but the player holding the stein must shot gun immediately.
"Hardos" and those skilled at caps will often self impose a "side beer" during the game, or simply a beer you are drinking on the side outside of the procedures of caps, in order to consume more alcohol and thus make the game harder. There is no limit to how many side beers a player consumes, however, if the opposing team sinks a cap while you have a side beer open and your team misses the rebuttal, your team must drink the beer in the mug and you must also finish your side beer before the next round starts.
Created at Northwestern University, this variant of caps consists of two simultaneous games of caps. Most rules are the same as above. The two games are played across each other. The games are played to 3 (pending extreme differences in Long and Short course in which Short course games can be adjusted to 4 or 5), and are not win by 2.
8-Person caps is every person for themselves. The 2 members of the team that reaches 3 first both get 1 point. Everyone in the game rotates 1 person to the left except the person that made the last cap. They get the bonus of staying in the same spot. Each player is trying to reach 5 points. It is possible to co-win in this game. e.g. two players on the same team each have 4 points and they win their game to 3 before the other simultaneous game ends.
"Throwing" games if your partner has 4 points but you do not is encouraged.
Penn State Caps
Penn State Caps is a version of the game played at Penn State University. The rules vary slightly from caps played at Northwestern University and other Big Ten schools.
The Penn State version of the game involves throwing bottle caps into pint glasses. Generally, conical pint glasses are used; however, other glasses with similar opening diameters can also be used. The pint glasses are set six feet apart on the floor. It is recommended to put cardboard under the glasses to prevent liquid spilling on the ground. There are four total players: two players sit behind each pint glass, keeping their knees behind the pint glass and facing the opposite side's glass. There are two teams: players sitting diagonally from each other are on the same team. Thus, players on opposing teams sit next to each other, which contributes significantly to the game's "wagering" dynamic.
The game begins with two initial steps: first, making an initial pour in each glass, and second, determining which player should go first. How both of these actions are completed is determined by local tradition. The initial pour in a glass is generally claimed or ceded by one of the players seated behind the glass, based on a number of factors: how well the players have been playing, whether one of the players is new to the game or is a guest, etc. The glass is then filled as much or as little as the player would like, traditionally with beer (specifically Yuengling). If the players are all "regulars", determining which of the four players goes first is generally determined through some measure of seniority; however, if there is a new player or a guest, they are traditionally given the first shot.
Each player in clockwise order attempts to throw a bottle cap into the opposite side's glass. If a player shoots out of turn, they must drink what is in their side's glass. Out of solidarity, their partner may drink with them; however, it is not mandatory. After drinking, the player pours and the game resumes, but the player's next turn is skipped.
Every time a cap is made, a point is scored for the team, the only exception being when a player shoots out of turn. When a cap is made, next player in clockwise order gets the chance to take a redemption shot, called a "double". If this player makes their cap, the next player in clockwise order gets the chance to triple; if this is made, the next player gets the chance to quadruple, and so on. Once a player misses a cap—whether it be after a single, a double, a triple, etc.—the player's team drinks. If the player misses after a successful double, the opposite team first doubles the amount of liquid in the glasses, and then the player's team drinks; for a triple, the amount of liquid is tripled, and so on.
Whoever drinks, pours—this is always the case. "Wagering" the pour is a key game dynamic. When a player pours, they know that either they, or the opponent sitting next to them, will have to drink it; thus, the player may pour heavily if they feel there is a high chance their team will make the next cap, or they may pour conservatively if they don't feel so optimistic. The wagering dynamic gives more power to the losing team, as every point scored against a team gives the team an opportunity to control the pour.
After a point is scored, the order resumes where it left off: with the player in clockwise order after the player who missed the last redemption shot. A useful tip for the common case: if the last point was a single (not a double or a triple), the order resumes with the teammate of the player who made the point.
The first team to eleven points wins. However, a team cannot win on a double, triple, etc. The winning team must also win by at least two points.
If, at the end of the game, a player has not made a cap, they owe their partner a one-page letter of apology. The partner is encouraged to display this letter prominently.
Other variations invented at Penn State include cross caps and line caps. Cross caps is a variation in which two independent games are played in a cross pattern with eight people, perpendicular to each other. If caps from the two independent games collide in midair, all eight players drink. Line caps is a variation in which three people, instead of two, sit on a side, with two glasses per side (between players one and two, and between players two and three). The player in the middle on either side (the "lineman") plays in two separate games at once; the games overlap like a Venn diagram.
If at any point the game is tied and three of the four players yell "deuces", the game enters "deuces" mode: the score is reset to 2-2, and any tie afterwards again resets the score to 2-2.
The game is considered a shutout or a "skunk" at 7-0 and the losing team owes the person they are sitting next to a letter of apology.
- Fantastic Drinking Games: Kings! Beer Pong! Quarters! The Official Rules to all Your Favorite Games and More by John Boyer, Skyhorse Publishing (2011) p. 144
- Big Bad-Ass Book of Bar Bets and Drinking Games: Hundreds of Tricks and Tips to Keep the Party Going by Jordana Tusman, Running Press (2012) p. 275
- The Complete Book of Beer Drinking Games by Andy Griscom, Ben Rand and Scott Johnson, Mustang Publishing (2000) p. 114
- The Book of Beer Awesomeness: A Champion's Guide to Party Skills, Amazing Beer Activities, and More Than Forty Drinking Games by Ben Applebaum and Dan DiSorbo, Chronicle Books (2012) p. 57
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- "Caps Drinking Games". collegepartyguru.com. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
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