(Non-alcoholic) True American

If you’re a fan of the American TV show New Girl, you’ve likely seen the episode titled Normal and been introduced to what looks like the craziest/funnest looking game ever imagined, True American (here’s a clip). I thought that this was some game that they made up specifically for the show. Boy, was I happy to be proven wrong last night when I found the rules to the real True American drinking game! Now, those of you who know me well know that I don’t drink. Being that this is an awesome game, from an awesome show, I imagine that I’m not the only non-drinker who thought this game looked crazy awesome and wanted to play it. I figured I would benefit that segment of humanity by adapting True American for non-drinkers like myself.

So without further ado, here is how to play the non-alcoholic version of True American!

In Summary

Players take turns trying to win moves in order to navigate the tables, chairs, and cushions which are your only escape from the molten lava floor. At the center of the game is a castle made of a 1 liter bottle of soda and many cans of ginger ale. As players traverse the game area, they remove cans and drink them. Once all of the cans have been removed, the first player to reach the bottle, finish their cans, and take a swig from bottle, wins the game.

The Castle

The Castle is made up of one, 1 liter bottle of soda and many cans of ginger ale (you decide how many based on the number of players). The bottle is the King and sits in the middle of the Castle. The cans are the Pawns and the Soldiers of the Secret Order. The Pawns are lined up in four lines radiating outward from the King. These lines of Pawns also signify the barriers between each zone. The game ends when all of the Pawns have been removed and a player drinks from the King.

The Zones

There are four zones, each with five spaces where a player can stand. The center space in each zone is the only space where the Pawns can be taken and thus it is the closest space to the Castle. There are a total of four of these spaces. The spaces at the beginning and end of the zones are the farthest away from the Castle.


Before the game starts, determine how many total cans of ginger ale should be consumed and setup the Castle with those cans as the Pawns. Using the lines of Pawns as barriers between the zones; designate each zone, making sure to have 5 spaces in each zone as described above. Teams are optional.

Example Layout

Starting the Game

After setup is complete, players may have a shotgun contest to determine who has the first turn. If no player wisher to shotgun a ginger ale, play rock-paper-scissors instead. To start the game, the winner of this contest yells “One, two three, JFK” at which point all other players yell “FDR”, grab a Pawn from the Castle, and retreat to any space.


Players move around the game area 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 a way to win their move.

  • The Count: All players yell “One, two, three” and then hold a number of fingers, between one and five, against their foreheads. Anyone holding a number that no one else has chosen wins. Winners may move one spot.
  • Complete a Quote: The player may slowly speak a quote from history or pop culture. Any other player that is able to jump in and complete the quote in tandem wins. Winners may move two spots.
  • Something in Common: The player may yell out two people, places, or things. Any other player that can reply with what these two things have in common wins. Winners may move three spots.

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


After all Pawns have been removed, the King is vulnerable. The first player to land on one of the center spaces, finish their cans and take a swig from the King, wins the game!


If you are caught without a ginger ale or with only an empty can of ginger ale, you lose. If you step in molten lava, you lose. To enter back into the game, drink one full ginger ale and start on a space that the other players decide.

***This version of True American was slightly adapted from the working version found on trueamericanrules.com.***