Thumper: A Roaring Fun Drinking Game (with Apologies to the Neighbors)

What are we playing? Thumper!

Why do we play it? To get f*cked up!

Thumper is a quick, high energy drinking game.

It doesn’t require anything to play except a group of people, some alcohol, a good drumming surface like a table, and the willingness to field noise complaints.

The frenetic pace of the game and the constant drumming involved is sure to whip everybody up, so expect things to get really loud.

Thumper is a great way to kick off a party or a night with friends. It’s sure to get energy levels high and leave everyone with a healthy buzz to get the night started.

Are you ready to learn the rules?

What You’ll Need

  • People: As many as you can get! Just make sure you have enough table room for everyone.
  • A Table: A fine drumming surface for the discerning drinker.
  • Alcohol: It isn’t much of a drinking game otherwise! Pick whichever poison is your preference.

Gather Around the Table

The rules of Thumper are simple to learn – it’s the execution that will trip you up once you start drinking.

First, gather all your players around the table. Make sure everyone has enough table surface to themselves for drumming.

The player who begins the game will start a steady beat by drumming their hands on the table. Everyone else follows suit, creating a very chaotic environment right from the onset.

This will get people around the table fired up quickly! It also makes it very hard to concentrate once the game kicks in – that’s not a problem, it’s a feature.

The first player asks everyone: “What are we playing?”

The correct response is: “Thumper!”

Then, the first player asks the vital question: “Why do we play it?”

The proper response from the others is an enthusiastic: “To get f*cked up!”

This is where the round kicks in and the game really starts. Hold on to your drinks, it’s going to get hectic fast.

Creating and Passing Gestures

Once the ritual of the call and response demanded by the drinking gods is complete, the first player creates a gesture and shows it to the table.

This can be as simple as a thumbs up or a peace sign, or it could be a gesture of your own creation.

Whatever you choose to do, it should be able to be done quickly to keep the game flowing smooth.

Some ideas for hand symbols or gestures to get you started:

  • Put your hands over your ears
  • Cross your arms
  • Mime answering a telephone

As you can probably tell, there’s no real limit on what gesture you do. It’s only important that the gesture can be mimicked quickly to keep pace with the drumbeat.

In Thumper, the first player demonstrates their gesture to the table so everyone can see it. They then pass the turn to somebody else at the table by pointing to them.

This next player must attempt to copy the gesture created by the first player. They then create a unique gesture of their own. This next player passes the turn to someone else the same way.

The next player in line has to copy both the first player’s gesture, and the second.

As the round builds with each player creating gestures, the next player up has to perform every gesture that came before them, in order, before creating their own. This is when it gets hard.

Of course, eventually, you know somebody is going to slip up…

Failing to Keep Up

If a player forgets a gesture, does one out of order, stumbles significantly, or is unable to create their own quickly enough the round ends and they have to drink.

If the player didn’t see the gesture before them, or doesn’t realize they were supposed to be up next – too bad, they have to drink anyway. Pay better attention next time!

Be sure to keep the pace going at that point. The key to this game is not letting the energy fade between rounds. Everyone have a good cheer, bottoms up to the loser, and begin the drumming anew.

The player that had to drink will begin the new round with a fresh set of gestures.

Don’t forget to ask the questions at the start of every round. You wouldn’t want anyone to forget what you’re playing or your goals, after all.

As the Game Goes On

You can probably guess exactly why this game is effective as a drinking game. The more alcohol you have, the more fun the drumming gets, and the harder it gets to concentrate on remembering every other player’s gestures.

As the game progresses, mistakes will become more frequent. As mistakes become more frequent, the pace picks up, and more people drink. It’s a beautiful cycle that ends in everyone getting hyped up and tipsy.

There is no set end to a game of Thumper; it tends to fall apart when the time is right.

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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