This is how to play the True American drinking game from New Girl

Because what else have you got to do in lockdown?


If you’ve been binging New Girl for the whole of lockdown, it won’t have taken you long to notice the characters’ drinking game of choice: True American.

True American features once in almost every season of New Girl. Jess, Nick and the gang first play the drinking game together in season one, and last play it at the end of season seven, where it flashes forward to them all playing it with their children and you begin sobbing uncontrollably.

However, New Girl never really explains how to play True American, and seems to add new rules to the game every time it features. Luckily for you, TikTok user @rebeccapleaseshutup has put together all the rules of the drinking game. In a series of videos, she says she combined the “official True American” rules, but “didn’t think it was chaotic enough” so then “binged” the scenes in New Girl to add to the rules.

Okay, but what is True American?

Like the TikTok user says, the True American rules can be pretty chaotic, but it’s easy once you wrap your head around them.

You essentially want to have a table in the middle of the room with all your drinks on, and arrange all your furniture around it in a circle. You’re paired up in teams, and the goal is to move around the room and try to finish your drinks before any of the other teams.

Here are all the True American rules and how to play:

How do I set up True American?

The castle

The castle is in the middle of everything, and is made up of the king and pawns. The king is a bottle of alcohol, and the pawns are cans and tinnies surrounding and protecting the king.

There should be eight pawns per team. Choose whatever drinks you want, although in New Girl they usually use beers for pawns, and a bottle of Jack for the king.

true american, new girl, drinking game, rules

Setting up the room

When explaining the rules, the New Girl characters describe True American as a cross between a drinking game, the floor is lava game, and “life-size Candy Land”. Put all your furniture in a circle around the castle – think tables, chairs, cushions and blankets. The goal is to travel around by stepping on these objects rather than the floor.

Make sure that within the circle of furniture, there’s one pickup spot per team. This is where you start the game, and where you can get new drinks. Also account for the “crazy zone” – more on that later.

Once you’ve finished a drink, you can only pick up a new drink from your team’s pickup spot. You need to either finish the whole drink before you go around the castle one whole time, or finish it in multiple turns but risk losing.

Picking teams

Teams are optional, but apparently the game works best when you play in teams of two.

To pick teams, count down from three and then everyone holds a hand on their forehead, with a random number of fingers up. You’re teamed up with anyone who has the same number of fingers up as you. Repeat until everyone’s paired up.

true american, new girl, drinking game, rules

How do I actually play True American and what are the rules?

Someone starts the game by shouting “one, two, three, four, JFK”, and everyone else responds “FDR”. Everyone takes a shot, grabs their first drink from the castle and runs to their pickup spot, where they start with their teammate.

Moving around the castle is the same as picking teams. Count down from three, and then everyone puts a hand with a random number of fingers up to their forehead. If anyone else but your teammate has the same number as you, you can move that many spaces. If you and your teammate both hold up the same number of fingers, only one of you can move – you can never move the same number of spaces as your teammate.

Remember the floor is lava, so if you step onto it you have to finish your drink before you can rejoin the game.

The “crazy zone”

The “crazy zone” is one or two pieces of furniture, considered separate to the rest of the game.

When you enter this zone, you can be assassinated for the first 10 seconds, where you have to dodge everyone throwing empty cans at you. If you get hit, you’ve been assassinated and have to move backwards three spaces. If you survive, you can move one of your pawns to a different team.

Ellis Island

When you leave the “crazy zone” and rejoin the rest of the game, you have to go through Ellis Island and pay a “tax” of taking a shot. If you can’t take the shot, you have to move backwards three spaces.

true american, new girl, drinking game, rules

The Federal Reserve

If you pick up a pawn that you don’t actually like, you can go to the Federal Reserve – another place away from the game. Here you can take one shot to be able to switch your drink for a different one you prefer.

The Great Depression

If you finish your drink really quickly, ages before you get back to your pickup spot, you can take a shot and jump into the Great Depression (the TikTok user says she uses her laundry basket, but you can use a bin, mop bucket, or anything else similar). Then, you can shuffle your way around the castle and quickly get back to your pickup spot to get a new drink.

How do I win True American?

The goal is for you and your teammate to finish all the pawns assigned to your team. Then the king is vulnerable, you can take a swig, and win – although by this point, I imagine everyone’s too drunk to remember any of the rules, so really you’re all winners.

All seven seasons of New Girl are available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Quiz: Which New Girl character are you?

How do you play Ibble Dibble? The deeply posh game in The Crown and Chalet Girl

Wii games and drunk Jenga: Here are 10 ways to make your pres of six people not dead