Home » Drinking Games » Buffalo Drinking Game: Rules And How to Play?

Buffalo Drinking Game: Rules And How to Play?

Suppose your idea of a good night in with friends is more than simply sitting around drinking. In that case, you’re probably like me. You always look for exciting ways to liven up the evening and keep everyone entertained.

And that’s where the Buffalo drinking game comes into its own.

If you want extreme laughter, absurd challenges, and plenty of drinks, buckle up because you’re in for a rollercoaster of booze-fueled fun and frolics.

The great thing about this game is that there are no lengthy rules, and just about anyone can get involved (providing they’re old enough to drink, of course.) So, there’s no need to worry about talking everyone through a tedious instruction manual before you can play. Just pour your drinks and play!

What You’ll Need to Play The Buffalo Drinking Game?

Now here’s the best bit, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg on expensive equipment to play this game. You probably already have the items you need in your pantry or drinks cabinet.

First, of course, you’ll need to get the drink of your choice and ensure you have enough to keep the drinks flowing. The last thing you want is for your party to run dry; it’ll do nothing for your hosting reputation.

Secondly, have some cups handy. It would help if you had enough cups for each player to have one each. I suggest making sure they’re all the same size. If you don’t trust your tipsy tribe with your family glassware, you can get some pretty cool plastic tableware these days. I recently bought these colored plastic cups for an outdoor game night. They had lids for spillages and saved on the washing up, double whammy!

Lastly, you’ll need a good group of pals up for a laugh, like a booze-up, and enjoy a bit of friendly competition.

There you have it; you’re ready to play!

How to Play Buffalo Drinking Game?

How to Play Buffalo Drinking Game?

As I mentioned earlier, there’s not much strategy or rules involved with Buffalo, so this will take little time. It’s different from a game of Poker which can take hours to learn. Plus, it means you don’t have to start boring your friends with long guidelines when all they want to do is get the party started.

Still, just so you’re clear, I’ve put together a short step-by-step guide to make it even easier to follow:

1. Pick Your Hand

Assign your dominant hand. It can’t be changed mid-game; no swapping is allowed, and if you get caught using your strongest hand, there’ll be consequences. Also, if you’re ambidextrous, you can only pick one hand.

2. Double Fisting

Double-fisting is a rule, meaning you may use your dominant hand only if you’re holding two drinks simultaneously.

3. Call Out Buffalo

Throughout the game, you’ll need to monitor your fellow players closely. As soon as you spot somebody holding a beer in their dominant hand, you need to call out “Buffalo!” with as much passion and energy as you can, in other words, real loud. The idea is to make everyone else jump and catch people off-guard.

4. Chug or Penalize

There can be two outcomes when someone has called out Buffalo. Ideally, the rule breaker needs to try and chug the rest of their beer before another player spots the culprit and yells out Buffalo again, in which case, the caller must now chug their drink. So either way, at least one person needs to finish their drink.

Other Rules And Variations

While the classic rules of Buffalo contribute well to a night of drinking games, part of the charm of this game lies in its adaptability. What I mean by this is that players can customize and introduce variations to suit their preferences and make the game even more exciting.

Here are a few popular variations and customizations that you can consider:

1. Time-Based Challenges

To add an element of urgency, you can introduce time-based challenges. For example, players must finish their beer within a specified time limit once Buffalo is called on them. It keeps the pace fast and ensures players are always on their toes.

2. Category-Based Buffalo

Instead of calling Buffalo when someone is holding a beer, players can assign specific categories. For instance, someone can call Buffalo when they spot another player holding a red solo cup or a particular beer brand. This variation adds unpredictability and encourages keen observation. You will need more choices of cups and drinks.

4. Penalty Shots

Besides chugging the rest of their drink, players who fail to finish in time can be penalized with a designated number of penalty shots. This variation allows for some light-hearted punishment while maintaining the game’s spirit. You can use your imagination when it comes to challenges and disciplines.

5. Reverse Buffalo

Flip the tables with this variation, where players call Buffalo when they catch someone not holding a drink in their dominant hand. This twist keeps everyone engaged and encourages strategic maneuvering to avoid being caught empty-handed. You could alternate this with the classic version to create more confusion and better catch people out.

6. Team Buffalo

For larger groups, consider playing Buffalo in teams. Each team must collectively watch out for their opponents and call Buffalo on them. This variation fosters teamwork and competition and adds a layer of camaraderie among teammates.

Remember, these variations are just a starting point. Feel free to get creative and develop customizations that suit your group’s preferences and dynamics. The possibilities are endless, and the aim is to create a unique and memorable drinking game tailored to your friends’ personalities.


The Buffalo drinking game has become a game night favorite in our house. With its simple rules and opportunities for customization, it offers endless fun and friendly competition.

So, gather your drinks, assign dominant hands, and let the calls of “Buffalo!” ring out as you enjoy the thrill of this lively drinking game.

Remember, though, where drinking games are concerned, it’s important to know your limits, set boundaries, and look out for one another. This way, the night can be enjoyed responsibly and safely.

About Bar Games 101

Bar Games 101 is a website devoted to helping you learn about the best games to play with your friends. We review the games, research the rules, and uncover helpful tips and strategies.

Get our free guide to the 50 Best Bar Games.