First things first. If you drink and drive, then you're an idiot. If you were hanging out with friends and they let you drive away drunk, then they are also idiots. My uncle once rolled his truck five times because he was drunk driving, and to this day we have no idea how he didn't hurt himself or anyone else. If your friends are real friends then they will gladly drive you home. Also, taxis aren't that expensive. So if you do decide to drink, be smart about it. /e Rainbow “The More You Know”
Ok, now that I’m done with the Public Service Announcement, I can move on to the true purpose of this topic: Balancing. Have you ever tried to play a game with someone who is drunk? Sure you have, be it a card game, a board game, a video game, or a tabletop game, everyone has. Hell, there are games specifically designed around drinking. There’s one thing that all of these games have in common; they all have a point where someone can be too drunk for it to be fun anymore. And there’s where the balancing act comes into play. There are a number of factors involved with finding this particular point. As always, the person’s individual tolerance is definitely a factor, as is the type of alcohol they are drinking. But what is an even bigger, often times overlooked, factor is the type of game you are playing.
Drinking games by nature have the highest point before it is no longer funny. Typically, this point isn’t reached until someone get’s seriously injured. Even when someone passes out, they can still be plenty of fun; all you need is a sharpie, shaving cream, or warm wet cloth. As you can see, the fun to be had that I am talking about is not for the drinker, they are always having fun, it’s for the other people that are hanging out and playing games. There are of course exceptions to this. Participating in, or watching, a game of Beer Pong where the competitors are too drunk to ever actually make a shot is extremely boring.
Video games also have a fairly high point before the fun factor is lost. This I believe is due to one main thing: the rules are programmed in. This means that in their drunken stupor, they don’t have to worry about remembering all the rules. They may not necessarily win, but at least they can do something. Remember though that being handed a win is never as fun as actually earning it. If you are playing an FPS against someone who is too drunk to aim, then does it really matter that you beat them 25-1? I’ve been to Halo parties where we had a different TV set up in different rooms of the house and a four person team at each TV. You could hear swears and taunts being yelled through the walls, usually right after a nice headshot. Most of the time, 90% of us were drinking but nobody ever drunk. Why? Because we were having fun, and if you are just a body for the other teams to get free kills on, then it kills the experience for everyone, especially you and your team. These examples are all about playing with other people. If you are playing against a computer, then it is never having fun, therefore there is no limit that you can hit that will make it have less fun. However, if you are often getting past the point where you don’t think that even the computer is having fun, then there is only one thing to do. Please click here. www.aa.org/
Last, and certainly lowest, are the board games, card games, and tabletop games. They have the lowest point because, unlike video games, you have to remember the rules. Playing Settlers of Cataan when you can’t remember what numbers you collect brick on is going to make it really tough to build roads. This makes it very important to pay attention to what is going on at all times. This is the reason why casinos love to see card players getting drunk.
Role playing games like D&D are a special case. Not only do you have to remember a lot of rules and pay attention, you also have to do quite a bit of math, not exactly the easiest thing to do while drinking heavily. Alcohol can sometimes assist you with role playing games, though. I am not the greatest dancer, I will fully admit that, and Pepper will definitely agree, and because of this I do not particularly enjoy dancing in public. Once I have exactly three beers, however, I loosen up to the point that I will dance. I am not even close to being drunk at this point, but my inhibitions have been lowered just enough that I don’t care about the opinions of the complete strangers that I will never see again that are not paying attention to me anyway. Fears are very rarely logical. But this concept can be useful in role playing games as well though. If you are a shy person who doesn’t necessarily enjoy speaking in public, or it is hard for you to act out your character, a drink or two could help loosen your tongue. Here’s a very important fact however: the legal drinking age in the USA is 21, that’s all I’m going to say on that.
I will fully admit that every time we roll dice, I have at least one beer, usually it’s more like three and they are usually a nice red/amber ale (Smethwick’s being the drink of choice). Our benevolent DM can always be seen with a hand wrapped around a gin and tonic. After many years we have learned the right balance of alcohol to enjoy ourselves and not ruin the fun of anyone that we are spending time with. This is a slow process that is not to be rushed. Take your time, know your limits and always drink responsibly.