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New Girl: How to Play True American


While the best drinking game in TV history is undoubtedly True American from New Girl, fans are still confused on how to play.

For fans of the hit FOX sitcom New Girl, the rules of the wildly entertaining, fictional obstacle course drinking game, True American, are virtually a mystery. To be sure, it’s a complex game that is as involved as it is confusing, with its official rules remaining unknown as they are never entirely spelled out for viewers. Instead, the audience is left to piece together the layout, instructions and everything in between from watching the episodes in which the game appears. Although Jess and her roommates take part in True American during almost every season of New Girl, to this day, fans are perplexed on how to enjoy the game in real life.


Invented by Coach, Nick, Schmidt and Winston before the start of the series, True American is described as a cross between a drinking game and a life-size Candy Land where the floor is molten lava. Players are tasked with crossing four distinct zones, including an alternate “crazy zone,” in a clockwise direction on a makeshift path littered with tables, chairs, cushions and other objects without ever touching the floor. With the “crazy zone” aside, each zone consists of five objects to stand on, including one near The Castle — a designated table in the center of the layout where players grab beers. These Pawns, otherwise known as Soldiers of the Secret Order, surround a liquor bottle serving as the King of the Castle, which stands on the middle of the table. Intriguingly, other liquor bottles are sometimes present, but the rules for drinking from them are unclear.


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new girl true american

Furthermore, each player shotguns a beer at the start of every game to determine who moves first and so forth. Afterward, players yell “Abe Lincoln, George Washington, cherry tree” immediately followed by “One, two, three, four, JFK, FDR” before running to The Castle, grabbing up to three Pawns and standing on the nearest object. According to True American Rules — a fan-made website not associated with the FOX Broadcasting Company — choosing to team up is optional and the selection process is pretty straightforward. To pick a teammate, every player at the beginning of the game must hold up a random number of fingers against their foreheads. If that number corresponds with another player’s selection, they become teammates. Moreover, if a player doesn’t match with anyone, they can team up with another person who didn’t pair up already.


When competing, the player whose turn it is is allowed to move one space while the other players have to “win” their moves by taking turns. As determined by the player whose try it is, the competing players can earn moves after correctly guessing the shared trait two people, places or things have in common; by finishing the second half of a given quote; or by choosing fingers to display on their foreheads similar to the team selection process. The players who guess these above items correctly or match with one another get to drink and advance through each zone.

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Of course, there are other random rules and regulations in True American where logic need not apply. For instance, everything that you hear in the game is a lie and if Clinton Rules are in effect, you have to strip when you lose at a given task. It’s also important to note that if a player gets caught with an empty can of beer or if they fall into the molten lava, they lose. However, a player can re-enter the game by drinking a whole can of beer and beginning again in a space that the other competing players decide. All in all, every Pawn in The Castle must be imbibed to secure the victory in True American. The first player who finishes their drink, reaches one of the center spaces and takes a swig of the liquor bottle representing the King wins the game.


Nevertheless, the information about True American is intentionally left vague. Besides completing the shotgun tip-off and subsequent chant, there isn’t much official information available on the game that FOX or the New Girl writing team provide. Sadly, fans will never know what terms such as “I am not a crook,” “manifest destiny” or “I like the look of that Ox” mean for gameplay. Therefore, if fans of New Girl want to enjoy a round of True American with their friends at home, they’ll either need to improvise and add their personal touch as the writers intended or follow the many fan-made instructions laid out across the internet.


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