St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that, yes, we all know has history and mythology and all sorts of cultural significance — it’s intended to be a celebration of Ireland on March 17, the date of Saint Patrick’s death (he’s the patron saint of Ireland). But it’s also kind of a national drinking holiday, which means a lot of grownups are taking this opportunity to find fun games to play while they share some Guinness with friends.
When you’re selecting a game, think about what your friends like to do when they get together (are they #chillvibes or do they want to get up and move?). Do you have a little bit of time to order a special game set, or do you need to pick one that’ll let you work with what you have (like Lucky Charms and a few spoons)?
You can definitely go the low-key route with some of the more traditional pub games; they’re perfect to play while you catch up and chat with your pals. Or, you can go for the more involved games, like full-on trivia and minute-to-win-it style contests. No matter what your friend group enjoys, there’s a St. Patty’s Day game that’ll keep them entertained, and maybe even start a new tradition for years to come.
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Think “Never Have I Ever” with pre-made prompts so no one has to come up with questions on the fly. Yes, please! These adorable mug-shaped cards include prompts like “drink if your last name starts with O’ or Mc,” and “drink if you pinched someone today.” There are only 24 in this deck, but they’re enough to get your game started and your creative juices flowing to come up with your own. These are an easy game to take along to a friend’s gathering, to tuck in your purse when you head to the pub, or to leave out on the table for your own guests to pick up when they’re ready.
2 Leprechaun Hat Toss
Looking for a low-cost, easy-to-learn game to entertain your friends? A hat toss has quite possibly the lowest barrier to entry of any game. You need some dollar store leprechaun hats and a little bit of space for everyone to move around. Ask your friends to pair up into teams of two and stand across from each other. Then, they have to toss a hat back and forth at each other until someone catches it on their head. First pair to do so wins. You can play once or as much as you want, but once your buddies start getting a feel for the weight and aerodynamics of the hats, there’s going to be a lot of requests for “just one more time!”
3 Table Skittles
No, not like the “taste the rainbow” Skittles. Table skittles, also known as “devil among the tailors,” is a traditional Irish pub game, so it’s a fun option to play for St. Patty’s Day without diving headlong into all the shamrocks and leprechauns. You’ll need a
table skittles set, so you will have to plan ahead and order one, and study up a bit on the rules.
In short, the goal is to be the first player to 100 points, and you earn points by knocking over skittles (aka tiny pins) with a ball attached to a pole. This is a low-key tabletop option to pass the time while you sip Guinness and enjoy each other’s company.
4 Find The Coin
This game is appropriate for kids as is, but could be made adults-only with whatever drinking-related punishments your friend group prefers. Each round, one player will close their eyes (they’re “the leprechaun”) while the others decide who will hide a gold coin. When the leprechaun opens their eyes, they have to guess who’s hiding the goods. While this game sounds extra simple when things like table skittles are an option, that may be exactly what your party needs. Besides, who wants to have to learn a ton of rules when what you really want is just to hang with friends?
5 St. Patty’s Day Dare Cards
If you’re taking your party on the road and planning a pub crawl or meet-up at your local Irish establishment, take these dare cards along. Everyone can pull from the stack, scratch off their dare, and find a way to complete it out in the wild. There are 22 cards so they won’t take up the entire night, and they’re the size of business cards, so they’re compact enough to save until a few beers in when everyone’s ready for this level of goofy fun. Some of the dares include things like doing a jig or blowing kisses at someone wearing green.
Quoits is another staple pub game, but this one is meant to be played outdoors. It’s kind of like horseshoes in that you’re tossing weighted rings around spikes. You’ll need to order a set or, if you’re crafty, make your own.
Masters Traditional Games
describes the rules like this: “A single game is played by two people and each person throws two quoits alternately each turn. The players then walk to the other hob and standing alongside it throw the quoits at the opposite hob. The player with the quoit nearest to the pin wins the end and scores two points. The game is won by the first player to reach 21 points.” 7 St. Patrick’s Day Jeopardy
If you and your friends always crush it at trivia, bring the ultimate trivia game to your party and DIY a St. Patrick’s Day-themed Jeopardy round. Google “Jeopardy game maker” and you can find apps, online game builders, and Powerpoint templates, so you can design your round of the classic game show in whatever format you need. A little research will provide all the questions and answers you need. And don’t worry, there are also free buzzer apps your friends can download so everyone has a fair shot to answer. Surprise the winner with an on-theme prize (even a silly leprechaun hat will do) they can wear proudly the rest of the night.
8 Treasure Hunt
You’re going to need a few family size boxes of Lucky Charms, plenty of bowls, and one spoon per player. Assign points to every type of Lucky Charm marshmallow (hearts are one, rainbows are two, you get the idea). Players have one minute to scoop as many marshmallows as they can out of the cereal and into their pot of gold. Dock a point or two for every cereal piece that makes it into the treasure pile. Whoever has the most points wins! You can play as many times as you like, or let everyone start snacking on their cereal after round one.
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