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Ride the Bus Drinking Game: A Comprehensive Guide for Partygoers

Ride the Bus is a popular drinking game that combines luck, logic, and strategy, providing a lively and unique experience for its players. This game, which requires only a standard deck of playing cards and some beverages, can be played among friends for some fun and entertainment. Not only does Ride the Bus keep its participants on their toes, but it also offers an alternative to classic drinking games such as Beer Pong and King’s Cup.

The premise of this drinking game is for players to correctly guess their cards in a series of rounds, with incorrect guesses leading to drinking penalties. The objective is to finish with the fewest cards at the end, thus avoiding the dreaded “ride the bus” punishment. While the game may initially seem overwhelming to newcomers, it becomes easy to grasp once the gameplay begins, allowing for players to watch, learn, and join the fun as the game progresses.

To play Ride the Bus, players should arrange themselves in a circle, with one person assigned as the dealer holding a randomly shuffled deck of cards. Throughout the game, participants must rely on both their luck and their ability to think logically in order to avoid excessive drinking and ultimately riding the bus. As each round presents new challenges, the excitement and suspense continue until the very end.

Setup and Materials

Required Items

To play the Ride the Bus drinking game, you will need the following items:

  • A standard deck of 52 playing cards
  • An appropriate surface, such as a table, around which players can sit
  • A sufficient quantity of beer or a preferred alcoholic beverage for each player

Setting up the Pyramid

Before starting the game, prepare the card pyramid that plays a crucial role in the gameplay.

  1. Shuffle the deck of playing cards.
  2. Deal 4 cards to each player. They must keep these cards private and hold them in their hand.
  3. The dealer will now create a card pyramid on the table as follows:
  • Lay 5 cards face down in a horizontal row at the base of the pyramid.
  • Above that row, place 4 cards face down.
  • Continue this process with rows of 3, 2, and finally 1 card at the top of the pyramid.

The pyramid structure should resemble this:

   X X
  X X X
 X X X X

Once the pyramid is set up, you can begin the game with the players taking turns trying to match their cards with the cards on the table, drinking, and ultimately trying to avoid “riding the bus.”


Rounds Overview

Ride the Bus is a lively drinking game that combines luck and logic. It is typically played with a standard deck of cards and works best with a group of three or more people. The game is played in four rounds – Red or Black, Higher or Lower, In Between or Outside, and Guess the Suit. Each round has a specific guessing task, and players must guess correctly to avoid drinking. The player with the fewest cards left at the end of the game wins.

Red or Black

In the first round, the dealer asks each player whether they think the next card drawn from the deck will be red (hearts or diamonds) or black (clubs or spades). If a player guesses correctly, they avoid drinking. If they guess incorrectly, they take one drink. The dealer continues around the group until everyone has played once.

Higher or Lower

For the second round, the dealer repeats the process, this time asking each player to guess whether the next card will be higher or lower than the previous card drawn. If a player guesses correctly, they avoid drinking. If they guess incorrectly, they take two drinks. Ties are considered a loss, and the player must drink. Face cards are assigned the following values: Jack (11), Queen (12), King (13), and Ace (14).

In Between or Outside

The third round requires players to guess if the value of the next drawn card will fall in between or outside the range formed by the first two cards drawn. For instance, if the first two cards were a 5 and a King, the player should guess whether the next card’s value will fall between 5 and 13 (excluding the end numbers) or whether it will be lower than 5 or higher than 13. An incorrect guess results in three drinks, while a correct guess means the player avoids drinking.

Guess the Suit

In the final round, players must guess the suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs, or spades) of the next card drawn. Guessing correctly allows the player to avoid drinking; however, an incorrect guess results in taking four drinks.

It’s important to practice responsible drinking while playing Ride the Bus drinking game. Though the game relies heavily on chance, players can apply their logic to make informed guesses. Remember, the main objective is to have fun and spend time with friends while enjoying this classic card drinking game.

Strategy and Tips

Ride the Bus is a drinking game that combines logic, chance, and strategy, all while promoting responsible drinking. In this section, we will discuss some valuable tips and insights to enhance your gameplay:

  1. Know the card probabilities: Understanding the probabilities of each card rank and suit can be helpful. Remember that there are four suits and ranks ranging from 2 to Ace in a standard deck of cards. Keep track of cards that have been flipped to increase your chances of making accurate guesses.

  2. Pay attention: Don’t get too caught up in the festivities and forget to observe the game. Keep an eye on the cards that have been played and take mental notes to help guide your predictions.

  3. Collaborative strategy: Consider working together with other players, especially if you are not in direct competition. Pool your knowledge of played cards and share insights to improve each player’s chances of avoiding the bus.

  4. Control your risks: While the game is designed for fun, be sure to drink responsibly. Be aware of your limits and remain in control of your alcohol intake throughout the game. Drinking games should always prioritize fun and safety over excessive consumption and risks.

  5. Adapt to different game variations: Ride the Bus can be played with various rule sets and game structures. To become a versatile player, learn different versions of the game, as each variation may require unique strategies and approaches.

Remember that Ride the Bus is meant to be a fun social activity, where logic and chance play a considerable role in the outcome. Keep these strategies and tips in mind when playing, and always prioritize responsible drinking and enjoyment.

Variations and Related Games

One popular variation of Ride the Bus is known as Pyramid. In this version, players place cards face down in a pyramid shape, with each row containing an increasing number of cards. Starting with the first row, players flip the cards one by one, guessing whether the next card will be higher or lower than the previous. Incorrect guesses result in taking drinks, while correct guesses allow the player to pass the turn to another player.

In addition to Ride the Bus, many other card-based drinking games exist:

  • Kings Cup: A classic drinking game that involves a standard deck of cards, drinks, and a large cup known as the “King’s Cup.” Each card has a specific rule associated with it, and players take turns drawing cards and completing the corresponding actions. The game continues until all the cards are drawn, and the player who draws the last King must drink the contents of the King’s Cup.

  • Asshole: Also known as President or Scum, this game requires a standard deck of cards, and the objective is to get rid of all your cards as quickly as possible. Players take turns playing cards of equal or higher value than the previous card, with drinking rules tied to the game, such as drinking when you pass or when certain cards are played. The hierarchy of the players changes during the game, giving rise to the name Asshole for the lowest-ranking player.

  • Quarters: A drinking game that involves bouncing a quarter (or another small coin) off a table and into a cup. Players take turns attempting to bounce the coin, with the successful player being able to assign drinks to others.

Here are some more examples of card-based drinking games:

  • Beeramid
  • Screw Your Neighbor
  • Drunk Memory

It’s important to remember that the primary goals of these games are to have fun and enjoy the company of friends, so play responsibly and drink in moderation.