SeedyKiwi enjoys a good game, whether that's a video game or a drinking game.
How to Play Three Man
Three Man is a drinking game I was taught to play many years ago now, and I recall very well that it's a good game for getting you tipsy. I vividly remember being told the one and only rule a new player needs to know, and of course I remember the first time I became the Three Man.
Looking around on the Internet, I've found different variations on the rules to Three Man; however, I am yet to find the rules that I was taught and came to love, so I will share those with you now. First we'll go over the basic rules, and then I'll share some additional rules that were always played amongst my group of friends.
What You Need to Play Three Man
This is an easy game to set up. It only requires the following:
- Two dice: Standard numbered six-sided dice are just fine.
- A rolling surface: This needs to be something that isn't too small or too big; a coffee table works quite well. In the absence of a table, the floor works (if you can mark out a designated rolling area).
- A hat: The Three Man must be identified by their headwear. Anything will do, but generally the crazier the hat, the better. Many times, our Three Man hat was a ripped-up beer box—pure class.
- People: Having four or more players works best.
- Alcohol: Beer is the recommended beverage for Three Man; however, it's your choice.
The One Rule for Beginners
When teaching beginners to play Three Man, all you really need to tell them is that if they see a 4 and a 1 rolled, they must put a thumb on their forehead and yell, "Oi!"
They will pick up everything else along the way.
Full Rules to Three Man and Guide to the Rolls
The active player (also known as the Roller) rolls two dice at a time, and they continue to roll until they roll a Nothing Roll. If a player rolls a Nothing Roll on their first roll of the dice, this is deemed a Virgin Roll, and the player drinks and rolls again.
For all other rolls, the Roller carries out the required action; oftentimes, the other players have to do something, too. Below is a listing of all the possible combos you might get and what the players have to do after rolling them.
- Double 1s: Cheers! Everyone has one drink.
- Double 2s, 3s, 4s or 5s: Nominate. The Roller gets to nominate that many drinks around the table, and multiple drinks can be given to a single person. For example, with a roll of double 3s, the Roller gets three (not six) drinks to nominate around the table.
- Double 6s: Waterfall! Everyone has to start drinking at the same time. The Roller begins, and everyone else must follow. Players cannot stop drinking until the person to their right has stopped (unless they finish their vessel).
- 1 and 2: Three Man. This is what it's all about! Rolling a 1 and a 2 makes you the Three Man, so you have to put on the hat and strap in. (If the current Three Man rolls a 1 and a 2, they can nominate someone else to take the hat.)
- 3: Special Drink for the Three Man. The Three Man has to drink every time a 3 is rolled on any die. If two 3s are rolled, the Three Man has to drink twice. These are additional drinks and are added to any drinks the Three Man has to consume due to any other rule.
- 1 and 4: Oi! Remember that rule for beginners? Whenever anyone rolls a 1 and a 4, all players must put a thumb on their forehead and yell, "Oi!" The last person to do so has to drink.
- 7: To the Left. The player to the left of the Roller must drink. This can be triggered by any combination adding up to seven (5+2, 4+3 or 6+1).
- 8: Yourself. The Roller must drink. This can be triggered by any combination adding up to eight, except for doubles (so 5+3 or 6+2).
- 9: To the Right. The player to the right of the Roller must drink. This can be triggered by any combination adding up to nine (5+4 or 3+6).
Nothing Rolls mean that nobody drinks and the next player takes over the dice as the Roller. Remember, if a Nothing Roll is rolled on the Roller's first attempt, it is deemed a Virgin Roll, and the Roller drinks and rolls again.
The following dice combinations are always Nothing or Virgin Rolls:
- 1 and 5
- 2 and 4
- 4 and 6
- 5 and 6
If you have started the game without a Three Man, the following can also be Nothing or Virgin Rolls:
- 1 and 3
- 2 and 3
Reminders About Being the Three Man
- Rolling a 1 and a 2 makes you the Three Man, which means you have to put on the hat!
- As the Three Man, you must wear the hat at all times.
- You remain the Three Man until somebody else rolls a 1 and a 2.
- If you roll a 1 and a 2 while you're the Three Man, you can make somebody else take over the job (and the hat).
Optional (but Recommended) Rules
The above rules are the core rules of Three Man, and they'll heave you—sorry, I meant have you—up and drinking in no time.
The following are rules that could be added right away if you're familiar with the game. If not, play a few times to get comfortable with the core rules first.
- Dice Abuse: If a player drops any dice on the floor or rolls them off the table, that is Dice Abuse! The offender must drink and roll again.
- No Vessels on the Table: Players may not put their vessels (cups, cans, bottles, glasses, etc.) on the table at any time. If a vessel is put on the table, the offender must drink.
- Taking the Dice in Hand: Players may not take the dice from the hand of another player. When turns change, the dice should be slid across the table, and the new Roller will pick them up off the table. If you take the dice from someone's hand, you must drink. If, when passing the dice, the passer is caught out, they must drink.
Additional Rules for More Fun
These rules are general rules that I have come across in a number of other drinking games, and they work well for Three Man, too. These rules add a lot to the game.
- No Pointing: No finger pointing is allowed. Getting caught pointing with your finger nets you a drink. As an alternative, you may point with a closed fist or (my favourite) with your elbow.
- Don't Say the D-Word: Don't say "drink." In my games, "consume" was the replacement word of choice. If you say "drink," it means you have to . . . consume.
- Don't Say the S-Word: Don't say "skull." This is the same as the D-word; you have to drink if you say it.
- There Is Only the Vessel: Whatever you are drinking out of is known as your vessel. If you call it by any other name, you must drink.
- No Names: You cannot call people by their names. You can decide if you want to allow nicknames or not, but calling someone by their name means you must drink.
- Drink With One Hand Only: Make it mandatory to drink with one hand only. If you take a drink with the wrong hand, then you must drink again.
There are many more optional rules you could enforce in your game, but these are the ones that featured most frequently in my experiences with Three Man.
Have a Drink and a Laugh, but Play Responsibly!
I hope this helps you get a cracking game of Three Man started at your next party. Just don't forget: no Three Man for the Key Man. That means don't drink and drive!