Surviving Korean Drinking Games

So if you’ve joined a club at Hanyang University, chances are that you’ll be going on an MT to bond with other new members. In today’s post, I won’t be writing about the general MT experience since there’s already an article in myHUBS that pretty much nails all the general points of an MT. Instead, I’ll be writing about a very specific tradition that I’m sure many MTs practice: Korean drinking games.


These games are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There’s no beer pong or cup flipping. Many Korean games are dependent on your ability to count, which can become significantly harder when inebriated. I remember when I went on the kumdo club’s MT, I was probably drinking much more than I should have if I only knew the rules to these games! So consider this my way of saving your life.

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Ttalgi Game (딸기)

딸기 means strawberry in Korean, but if you lose this game you’ll be rewarded with a shot instead of a strawberry. The game starts with everyone doing a certain motion at a certain tempo. This is the motion: first pat your lap with both hands, in the next beat clap your hands together, in the third beat stick your left thumb outward, and in the fourth beat stick your right thumb outward. Everyone will continue these motions through the duration of the game. When doing this motion, the person that initiates the game will say “ttalgi” once. Then the person to his or her right will say “ttalgi” twice. This increasing pattern will continue up to “ttalgi” being said eight times, and on the ninth iteration, the counting will begin to decrease. Sounds easy, right? Well the thing is that your friends will make it very tough by saying ttalgi very fast. You won’t have time to think, so you need to pay attention constantly if want to avoid the penalty shot.

Baskin Robbins 31

If you think that the name of this game has something to do with the number 31, you’d be correct! Players will count to the number 31 while trying to avoid the dreaded number themselves, because if you are forced to say it, you lose and have to take a shot! Starting with the number 1, players are allowed to add between 1 and 3 to the current total. Here’s an example: at the number 25 one player can decide to add 3 to make 28 the second player can add 1 to make 29 if he thinks the person to his right should take a break from drinking. The next player chooses to add 1 to make 30, the player after him will have to say 31 and take the drink!


Did you think that the little metal piece sticking out from a bottle cap of soju was useless? It actually serves a very distinct purpose as a device for a game! Start by twisting up the end piece so it stands straight. Now one player will flick the piece once. If it doesn’t break, it is passed on to the next person and flicked again. This continues until someone breaks the piece off of the cap. The person that breaks the cap will have to take a shot.


Noonchi Game (눈치게임)

In this game players will stand and call out numbers in sequential order. If you’re the last person to stand or if you call the wrong number, you must drink! Furthermore, if two people stand and call out the same number, both people must drink! If you’re playing with Koreans, it’s best that you know how to count in Korean. This game happens very quickly, and there’s almost no time to think!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Korean drinking games. Part of the fun is having to learn, but it can be hard especially if you’re in a club that is comprised of primarily Koreans. Just remember to relax and have fun, because no matter how hard you try, the result will be the same!

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Article by Eli from the U.S.A.

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