Quarters, beer pong, flip cup, that one when you say things like “Zoops … Zaps … Consigliere” – it seems all of the “intoxication games” are reserved for the drinkers, but fear not, my stoner brethren and sistren, as summer races toward fall and the nights get cooler and longer, I introduce you to ZONK, a semicompetitive game of chance, skill, and strategy that will afford you and your friends the opportunity to do a solid dozen bong hits in a couple hours.
Everything might make more sense if you read the “official” published rules for the game at www.zonkthegame.com, which is a slightly-amended version of the way several of us passed the hours from midnight to sunup during our college breaks.
The way we played is essentially the same, just slightly simpler; there was a decent bit of cobweb shaking over the Facebook Messenger this past week as I enlisted help in an attempt to remember our version of the game clearly enough to pass it along to y’all.
The premise: Roll dice to score points and earn bong hits along the way to a winning score of 10,000 with bingers being awarded at 1,000-point intervals along the way with the opportunity to take a few extra special tokes.
The equipment: Bong, weed, lighter, six dice, notebook, writing utensil.
Beginning the festivities: All players roll all six dice; this creates the rolling order for the game, going from highest scorer first to lowest scorer last, with the lowest scorer earning the job of official scorer. Zonk nicknames (get creative) are used at the top of the scoresheet .
*All dice must always be collected and rolled singlehandedly. Any dropping of dice is known as a “Spaz” and results in a loss of turn.
The game is played in a clockwise direction, so seats are determined by the opening rolls.
Scoring: 1s are worth 100 points, 5s are worth 50 points, three-of-kinds, rolled at the same time, are worth the number times 100. Three 1s rolled at once is awarded 1,000 points. A straight (1-6 on a single roll) earns that player 1,500 points.
Playing the game: In order for a player to keep a score during any round, that player must show scoring dice on at least four of the six rolled dice; scoring dice are left on the table; as long as a player produces at least one scoring die per roll, the turn continues as the player picks up the remaining dice to continue his or her turn.
If all six dice show scoring numbers (1s, 5s, or three-of –kinds), that player must again roll all six dice and is allowed to keep a score by rolling at least one scoring number (this is where the strategy comes in).
The turn ends when the player decides he or she is satisfied with that round’s score or when an individual roll produces no scoring dice – this failing roll is the eponymous “Zonk” and is entered in the scoresheet as such. All points accumulated during a turn are forfeited upon the rolling of a Zonk.
A “Space” and an accompanying loss of turn is the penalty for any player too high or otherwise distracted to recognize that their turn has arrived.
Earning bong hits: A player must score at least 500 points in order to officially enter the game; this opening scoring roll or series of rolls results in a bong hit.
A player earns a bong hit every time he or she reaches or passes a 1,000 point marker, i.e., on or over 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, etc.
Every player in the game receives a bong hit when the first player in the game passes the 5,000 point mark.
Three consecutive Zonk scores by a single player results in a bong hit for that player.
A player gets special bonus bong hits if he or she lands exactly on 4,200, 5,150, or 6,900.
Bong hits are noted on the scoresheet by an asterisk.
Any bong hits for a turn must be taken by the current player before the next player begins the following turn.
Finishing/winning the game: The winning score is 10,000, with the following caveat. After a player crests the 10,000-point mark, every other player is afforded the opportunity of one additional turn to top that player’s final total, so it behooves the first player to reach that target number to run their score up as high as possible without Zonking.
There you have it. Have fun getting Zonked.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected]