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Are you starting college soon and need to learn the basics of battleship beer pong fast?

Beer pong battleship is a legendary college/university game that got its start in the early 1950s at Ivy League colleges across the U.S. Today, the game has evolved into several variants, which are enjoyed by people of all ages in bars, house parties, tailgating events, and sometimes even office parties! It’s clear to see that this game is well-loved. Because it’s easy to learn, you can master the game quickly.

1. How to Play the Game

If you’re a rookie who wants to know how to play beer pong, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

The game itself is simple. It involves trying to hit a ball into a cup of liquid – usually beer – on the opposite side of the table. There are two teams involved and they stand on opposite sides of a table. Each side of the table has a formation of six or ten cups placed in the shape of a triangle.

The objective of the game is to hit the cups, or to land the ping pong ball into the cup. Should this happen, the opposing team must consume the contents of the cup. The cup is then removed from the table.

2. Battleship Rules of the Game

This game’s rules aren’t set in stone. They depend on the university or group of people who are playing. However, there are some standard rules such as how teams are made up and the type of beverage consumed.


A team consists of two to four people and no more. Teams take turns throwing and serving the ball, and team members share the responsibility of consuming the alcohol if the other team shoots the ball in to a cup on their side of the table.


Generally, beer is the preferred beverage of choice. Because there is so much beer consumed during a game of battleship beer pong, it’s best to opt for light beer that contains 3.2% ABV. However, it is possible to use root beer instead, as is done at some colleges such as at Utah University, which forbids alcohol on campus.

Many people also fill the cups with water instead of beer, and then set the used cups aside for sanitary reasons.

Game Variations

Some people believe battleship beer pong is a combination of two previously existing drinking games, so there have been some modifications over the years. Sometimes, instead of playing on a ping pong table with a six-cup arrangement, people prefer to position the cups in a battleship formation using a 5-cup or 4-cup setup. Some even prefer two 3-cup arrangements, and so forth. The reason for these modifications is to try and model the game after the original battleship board game. Additionally, several “mines” can be included. The “mines” act as obstacles, and if players hit them, they lose points.

3. Setting up the Table for Play

Because there are so many variations to this game, the most common way to play requires a table (this can be a standard size ping pong table if one is available), two paddles, a ping pong ball, several cups (12 to 20) and a beverage of some sort. Set up may also include a table divider (median), which can be a net, a hockey stick, or a broom handle.

Play starts when both sides of the table are ready and a serve is made. The ball can only be returned once it touches the table. The receiving side is not allowed to hit the ball mid-air before it touches the table.

Have Fun with Battleship Beer Pong

Don’t take battleship pong too seriously. (Well, we doubt you will after all that beer!) The key is to just enjoy the game. If it’s your first semester on campus, take it easy with the alcohol. Be responsible and party with responsible people. All in all, whether you’re out tailgating or being initiated at a fraternity party, never drink on an empty stomach. So make sure you’ve had something to eat prior to playing the game.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

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