Ride the Bus Rules: How to Play the Drinking Game

Sick of playing King’s Cup every time you have a social gathering with friends? Thankfully King’s Cup isn’t the only drinking game you can play with a large group. Enter Ride the Bus.

Ride the Bus is a fun drinking game that involves a combination of luck and logic to avoid becoming the unlucky player that must ‘ride the bus’ at the end of the game.

While the rules may sound overwhelming on paper, once the game gets going it’s very easy to pick up and people can watch and learn as the game progresses.

To play Ride the Bus all you need is a driver (dealer), a rider (we’ll get to that later), a pack of cards, and plenty of booze. While you only need a minimum of two people, of course, the more the merrier.

Ready to ride the bus? Here are the drinking game rules.

How to Set up Ride the Bus

Setting up Ride the Bus is simple. All you need is:

  • A deck of cards
  • Alcohol

One player is assigned as the dealer with the randomly shuffled deck of cards. This player is usually the person that’s most familiar with the game, so they can explain the steps to everyone else as the game progresses.

Players should sit in a circle or around the table, and everyone should have their booze of choice at the ready.

How to Play Ride the Bus

There will be four rounds which will determine the unfortunate player that must ‘ride the bus’. Then that person will have to ride the bus – which can sometimes end up with them becoming very drunk indeed!

First Round

The dealer starts on his or her left and asks everyone the first question – ‘Red or Black?’

The dealer will then place the first card in front of each player. If the player is correct, that person can distribute a drink. If incorrect, that person must take a drink.

This continues until everyone has received their first card and has either distributed or taken a drink.

Second Round

In the second round, there’s a new question to ask the gang – ‘Higher or Lower?’

With ace being high and two being low, players must guess if the next card is higher or lower in value than their first card. For some, the answer will be simple but for others, it takes some guesswork.

If the player is correct, that person can distribute a drink. If they’re wrong, that person must take a drink.

Got an identical card? Bad luck, that’s an automatic penalty and you must drink!

Third Round

The third round poses the question – ‘In between or outside?’ and players must guess if the next card fits between the value of their first two cards or outside.

For example, if a player has a King and a Jack, they would likely guess ‘outside’ as the only ‘inside’ cards would be a Jack, Queen, or a King. If the player is correct, then they can deliver a drink to an individual of their choice. If wrong, it’s time for another drink!

If you have two identical cards, then your luck has changed. If you claim outside, you’ll automatically win, unless you’re super unlucky and receive a third identical card. In that case, it’s time to drink again.

Final Round

In the final round, the dealer will ask players to guess a suit – so either spade, club, heart, or diamond.

Correct guesses reward that player with five drinks to distribute to any players (or player) of their choice. Incorrect answers are penalized with one drink.

Now it’s time for players to collect their four distributed cards. Then, the dealer creates a face down pyramid containing five cards at the base, then four, three, two, and one.

Now it’s time to go hard. Drink values are allocated to each horizontal row in the pyramid. For example, the bottom row of five cards is equal to two drinks.

The second row of four cards is equal to four drinks. The third row of three cards is equal to eight drinks. The fourth row of two cards is equal to 16 drinks.

Finally, the fifth row of one card is equal to a shot of liquor, agreed upon by all players. Yum!

However, depending on the group preferences, you can determine your row values.

Starting at the bottom row of five, a card is turned over at a time. Any player who has the matching card places their card onto the pyramid and can distribute the row’s allocated number of drinks to whomever they wish. If more than one person has that card, that’s fine – multiple cards can be laid down.

For example, if the first card on the bottom row is a Jack and I have a Jack in my hand, I can distribute two drinks to whomever I choose.

This continues all the way up the pyramid, and the aim is to get rid of as many cards as possible.

Players can take a risk and save their cards in the hopes of getting a matching card higher up, so they can distribute more drinks (and get their friends drunk

However, this idea has its risks as the player with the most cards as the end of the pyramid will have to face the ultimate sacrifice – riding the bus.

Riding the Bus

Once you’ve determined your loser with the most cards left at the top of the pyramid, that individual must take a ride on the bus.

If there are players with a matching number of cards, a high-card tiebreaker must be played. The player with the highest card must hop on the bus, and if the cards match, the next card is used as the tiebreaker.

The player who’s lucky enough to ride the bus now must complete all the questions asked at the beginning of the game in a row! These include ‘Red or Black?’, ‘Higher or Lower?’, ‘In between or Outside?’, and ‘Suit?’.

Sounds easy enough, huh? Not really. As any failure at any stage means the player must start right back at the beginning at question one.

The game doesn’t stop until the player manages to answer the four questions correctly in a row or the entire deck is used. As you can imagine, this usually ends up with one person in the game becoming completely plastered and it can be pretty hilarious to watch.

Ready to Play Ride the Bus?

Ride the Bus is a fun drinking game that’s a great icebreaker for a large (or small) group. As always, please drink responsibly! Ride the Bus isn’t intended to make players sick with the over-consumption of booze.

If the player riding the bus, in particular, appears to be too drunk, it may be time to stop the game. Don’t continue playing until they’re too wasted to stand!

Want to learn some more drinking games? Check out the rest of our guides for plenty more boozy fun.

About Bar Games 101

Bar Games 101 is a website devoted to helping you learn about the best games to play with your friends. From classic bar games like pool and darts, to the treasure trove of tabletop games available today, we review the games, research the rules, and uncover helpful tips and strategies.

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