OBJECTIVE OF CAPS: Score points by tossing caps into a beer mug.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players (fixed partnerships)

MATERIALS: 2 cups (beer mugs), tons of bottle caps, tons of beer

TYPE OF GAME: (Skill) Drinking



Caps is a drinking  game that involves tossing bottle caps into cups (glasses, beer mugs are traditional) or tossing the caps at another bottle (capped) on top of an upside-down beer bottle which is both empty and open. The latter is the version of Caps played in France whereas the former is more popular in North America, Northern Europe, and Argentina. The game is for four players on teams of two.


Once players split into teams, the sit (or stand) anywhere between 8 and 16 feet apart. The general rule is “butts behind the cup.”  Between a team of players is a mug (or glass, cup, etc) full of beer.

Teams take turns tossing in 1 cap to their opponents mug. Every time a team successfully makes a shot, their opponents have a chance to “top it” or to “match the shot,” in other words; they can make a rebuttal shot. If the shot is missed, the players who topped successfully take 1 point and the players who missed split a full beer between them.

However, if the shot is made, they cancel each other it out. Players go back and forth taking rebuttal shots until someone missed. Once a player misses, their teammate and themselves drinnk and the proper amount of points are awarded to the other team. Play continues as usual until one team earns 5 points (or any other mutually agreed upon target score).

Other variations of Caps require players must be two points ahead after both teams fit 5 points to win.


  • If 3 of the 4 of the players consecutively score in 4 shots but one player does not score, that player is the “beer fetcher” or “the bitch.”
  • If all four plays make a shot in four shots, this is called a “social,” and everyone drinks their beer together.
  • Northwestern University has their own variation of Caps which has spread to several other Big Ten universities, but not limited to them, as it has been seen at various institutions across the USA.
    • In this variation, players sit exactly 15 feet apart. Players on the same team play diagonal one another, meaning, they stand on opposite sides and so that they form a diagonal.
    • A 25 oz beer mug is placed between players on the same side. It is common to play so that player’s backs and mugs are pushed against a wall and play is across a room. This prevents caps from flying all over the place.
    •  The youngest player throws first and starts the game. After, the player opposite them (on the opposing team) throws next. This pattern continues throughout the game.
    • There is no specific rule on how to throw the cap, but that you must be seated while you do so.
    • Players can rebuttal if the cap is sunk in the mug without hitting the wall first. Otherwise, typical rules apply. However, games go to 11 points (typically).
    • The game is often played “Hardos” to make it more challenging, meaning players drink beers on the side (side beer). There is no limit or pace applied to side beers. But, if you miss a rebuttal, you must finish the beer in the mug AND the side beer.
Nakoa Davis

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