New Girl has been teasing the rules of this super fun drinking game for a while now. Here’s how to play True American!

If you’ve been living under a rock, quirky and cute Zooey Deschanel stars in Fox sitcom New Girl. On the show the rag-tag group of roommates partake in an amazingly challenging drinking game named True American. For the past few seasons the rules and regulations of said game have been murky at best.

True American

Well thanks to aptly named website the official way to play has been reveald. And we’ve got the break down for you! But first, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a quick clip of them playing, accompanied by some quotes from the characters about the game…


So you see where the intrigue comes from. Let’s get started:

**WARNING NOTICE** CONSUMING ALCOHOL CAN BE DANGEROUS. While Drinking games are super fun, they often require more drinking that usual, always know your limits and drink responsibly and LEGALLY!

Players take turns trying to win moves in order to move around tables, chairs and cushions, which are your only salvation from the lava floor. Central to the game is the “castle” made up of a bottle of liquor and many beers. As players move around the “board” they take away beers and drink them (obviously). Once all the beers are consumed, the bottle comes into play, the first player to reach the bottle of alcohol, finish their beer and take a swig from the central bottle, wins the game.

The Castle:
From the overview above the castle is made up of the central bottle of booze (the “King”) and many cans of beer, however many cans you think you’ll need according to the amount of players. The cans of beer are the pawns and soldiers of the Secret Order. The Pawns, are lined up in four lines jutting out from the King. The Pawns also signify the barriers between each zone (as described in the video).

There are four Zones. Each zone has five spaces where a player can stand (without touching the lava). The central space in each zone is the only place where the pawns may be taken and thus, the closest space to the Castle. There are a total of Four of these spaces, one for each zone. The spaces at the beginning and end of each zone are the farthest away from the Castle.


True American

After you have your board and area set up, players may have a shotgun contest to determine who is first to play. You can roll a die or play rock-paper scissors as well but c’mon, that’s no fun. To start the game the winner of the contest yells “One, Two, Three, JFK!” to which all the other players yell, “FDR!” All players grab a pawn from the Castle and retreat to any space in a zone.

True American



Now that you’re all set and started it’s time to get down to game play. While New Girl is obviously a comedic and overly drawn out example of the game, this is still a really fun experience.

Players move around the “board” in a clockwise direction. The player whose turn it is always moves one space, however, the other players must “win” their moves. This player has three ways to provide the other players with means to win their move:

  • The Count: Players hold up 1-5 fingers on their foreheads after a three-count. Anyone holding a number that no one else has, wins! Winners may move one spot.
  • Complete a Quote: The player may slowly speak a quote from history or pop culture (American, obviously). Any other player that is able to jump in and finish that quote in tandem with the original speaker, wins! The winner can move two spots.
  • Something in Common: The player may yell out two people, places or things. Any other player that is able to yell out what those two things have in common, wins three moves.

Players must always have a beer in their hand and may not have more than three at a time. Players may only take a Pawn from the Castle when they are in one of the four center spaces.

After all the Pawns have been removed the King is left vulnerable. The first player to land on one of the center pieces, finish their beer and take a swig from the king – WINS!

You lose if you are caught without a beer or with an empty beer in your hands. If you step in the molten lava, you lose. To earn a place back in the game, you must drink one full beer and start on a space that the other players choose.

True American

Now New Girl has some different rules when it comes to layout, including an additional “crazy zone” that involves a trail of chairs, cushions, tables etc. through the zones. The floor is lava of course, so you use these objects to make your way through the zones without falling in the lava. There are also a few more fun additional rules such as:

  • Everything that you hear in True American is a lie
  • When a player finishes their beer, they yell “All trash belongs!!!…” to which all other players yell “In the Junk Yard!” Then all empty cans are thrown into a designated trash can.
  • A player may yell “JFK” at any time at which point everyone else must yell “FDR!” and finish their beer.

True American


There you have it folks! True American is a great game to play during Bronco’s halftime or maybe even a day where you and your crazy roommates are snowed in. Please remember to drink responsibly and to know your limitations. You don’t have to go as hard as the TV show depicts!


Not much of a beer drinker? Why not try one of these cider recipes instead!