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The Cup Game (also known as "Cupline") is an annoyingly fun and engrossing game that requires little to no materials, a little bit of skill, and a couple of good friends. The game was taught to me in high school, but beyond that I can't find any information on its origins, though I suppose it started out as either a barroom drinking game or as an activity at camp. The game consists of nothing more than the rhythmic tapping and passing of cups, but it is really fun and who knows? It may be exactly what you need to springboard your career in Stomp!

The only things needed for this game are a table (preferrably one which two or more people can sit face to face) and a cup for each player. I find the optimal cup is a plastic drinking cup because they tend to be the perfect height for grabbing and you don't have to worry about it breaking during the course of the game. If you must use something glass, make sure it is sturdy enough to survive an accidental knocking-over (something like a shot glass, but bigger) because accidents will happen. Note: the more players the better!

Players sit across the table from each other, or all around the table, if you have that many people are playing. Place the (empty!) cups upside down in front of each player, one to a person. You are now ready to play.

There is a rhythm to this game, and all players must perform the motions in unison. When just learning, it may (and probably should) go slowly.

Cup Game: Original Recipe
(think of the numbers as beats)

  1. CLAP
  2. CLAP
  3. TAP the bottom of the cup (currently up) with your right hand
  4. TAP again with right hand
  5. CLAP
  6. GRAB the bottom of the cup (still up) with your right hand. Pick the cup off the table and
  7. PLACE it back down in front of you.
(small pause)
  1. CLAP
  2. GRAB the cup from the left side with your right hand. To do this, turn your hand so that the palm is facing to the right (thumb down). It will most likely feel backwards and your elbow will stick stick out to the right.
  3. With your right hand, bring the cup off the table and rotate it so that the mouth faces left. TAP the open end of the cup to your open left palm (be sure your left palm is ready and waiting a little ways above and to the left of the cup). Make sure your right hand holds on to the cup.
  4. Continue rotating the cup so that it is now right side up and TAP the bottom against the table (the cup is still in your right hand)
  5. Without letting go (don't let go, we're almost there!) lift the cup once more and continue rotating it to the right, this time extending the bottom of the cup toward your left palm. SWITCH hands by grabbing the nearby bottom of the cup with your left palm.
  6. Keep the cup, now grasped by its bottom by your left hand, in the air for the time being. Move your right hand leftward, and use it to SLAP the table, usually somewhat left of center.
  7. Cross over your left hand with your right and PLACE the cup down on the table. The cup is still upside down, with the mouth in contact with the table.
The cup should now be once again upside down, roughly to the right of your center, ready to begin the cycle again. LATHER RINSE REPEAT!

A couple of notes:
Each motion should be performed on beat so that the motion is carried out in a steady 1, 2, 3, 4 manner. The second half of the process is the trickiest part, but just remember that the right hand does not let go of the cup until step 5. Finally, by placing the cup towards your right hand side during the last step of the cycle, you are in essence passing it to the person next to you. If you are going for high esthetics, on subsequent runs, the first steps 1-4 (first group) are performed on the cup where the previous person had placed it, and on Step 6 you grab it and place it back in front of you. Just keeps things neat.

Once you've got the hang of these motions and can perform it repeatedly at a pretty good rate, try these alternate versions for some variation. Both of these versions alter the first half only. The second half is carried out as normal. (if you can come up with an alternate version for the second half, /msg me and let me know!)

Alternates: 12 Herbs and Spices

  1. CLAP
  2. CLAP
  3. In a triplet fashion, SLAP the table to the right of the cup with your right hand, then SLAP on the left side with your left hand, then SLAP the right side again with your right hand. (Use "1,2,3" or perhaps the word "tri-pel-let" to get a sense of the timing)
  4. (beat 4 is part of the above step)
  5. CLAP (rest of the steps are peformed as usual)
  6. GRAB the bottom of the cup (currently up) with your right hand. Pick the cup off the table and
  7. PLACE it back down in front of you.
---------------------(or, if that doesn't fit your fancy, you could try the following alternative)
  1. CLAP
  2. SLAP both hands down on either side of the cup
  3. CLAP
  4. TAP the cup with your right hand
  5. CLAP
  6. GRAB the bottom of the cup (currently up) with your right hand. Pick the cup off the table and
  7. PLACE it back down in front of you.
When you and your friends get all of these patterns down, try alternating through the three of them, almost as if you were singing a round. Enjoy the different rhythms that appear!

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