The military challenge coin game is one of the pastimes created by the soldiers. It is a game where one needs to present or produce his/her coin or coins. There are consequences like buying the winner a beer.
The origin of the game is unclear there are claims that it started back in World War I after the return of the captured pilot to ensure that everyone is carrying their coins. There is also a story that it started during the Vietnam War because of the bullet club. The bullet club is created by the soldiers because they carry bullets in their pockets. The bullets are presented during the challenge instead of the custom coins issued by the military. Due to the safety issues of using bullets it has been replaced by military custom coins but the rules stays the same.
The rules of the game must be explained to the new soldiers or coin holders. Upon receiving the coin it should be carried at all times because you could be challenged anywhere at any time.
Rules of the game
The challenger must declare what is at stake in the challenge; it could be a set of exercises, money for donation, a round or single drinks, or any wager that has been mutually agreed upon the challenge.
Everyone can do the challenge or be part of the challenge regardless of their rank and what they are doing as long as they own a military challenge coin. Whether a soldier is on-duty or off-duty he/she is sometimes not exempted. People operating or driving a vehicle, standing guard, marching and other important tasks are exempted to challenging.
When and Where
A person can be challenge any time and any place. Whether a person is sleeping, bathing, undressed, or just relaxing, he or she can be called out for the challenge. It can be done in a bar, restaurant, barracks even in the bathroom.
Everyone who were challenged and failed to produce the coin are asked to buy a round of drinks or a single drink. If everyone was able to produce their coin the challenger will be the one who pays and buy the drinks. The person who bought that drinks cannot be challenged again. One has to be careful when challenging because the wager can be very expensive.
Coins must not be handed to another person during a challenge because the coin will become their possession and cannot be returned but if the coin was placed down and picked up by someone to check or examine it is not considered as “giving”. The person who picked it up must return it and cannot start a challenge using another person’s coin.
If someone drops his/her coin and another person picks it up that person has the option whether to issue a challenge or not on behalf of the coin owner. Lost coins must be replaced immediately.
Military challenge coins are the only coins are accepted to use in a challenge. Coins on necklaces, key chains, belt buckles, watches, lighters and personal custom coins are not valid but coins on pouches or holders are acceptable. Giving away coins most be limited because receiving a coin is an honor. Drilling of holes on coins is not allowed.
Changing of rules
The rules and wager of the game can be changed by everyone but agreements between individuals must be made. If the rules are made by the superiors or commanding officers a person of a lower rank cannot change the rules.
There is rule where a person must outrank the other person’s coin by presenting custom coins made for high ranking officials. Whoever owns the highest ranking coins wins the game.