Challenge coins go way back to your grandparent’s generation and even before. It’s a time-honored practice that’s been bringing people together for years and years. It’s amazing and heartwarming to consider that the tradition lives on today.

Interested in participating in the challenge coin tradition? It’s essential that you understand the rules of the game. The general rules of the challenge coin tradition are fairly simple. But there are some finer details you’ll need to understand in order to join in.

You won’t want to be the one that doesn’t understand how it all works! It can be a costly mistake. Read on, and we’ll make sure you know everything you need about the coin challenge.

Understanding Challenge Coin Origins

Before hopping into the rule of the game, it can be helpful to have some background about challenge coin history.

The origin of the challenge coin dates back to World War II. OSS officers were deployed to France and were given coins that were used to help separate true OSS members from spies.

The first military unit known to have a coin was the 10th Special Forces Group. Green Berets were the only known units to have coins prior to the creation of the United States Special Operations Command, which was formed in 1987.

The Challenge Coin tradition has spread far and wide in both the military and the private sector since that year. Initially, coin checks were a precautionary measure. But this practice would soon morph into a sport to pass the time.

In this time period, soldiers began to use the coins for a number of games. The most popular game involved spontaneously checking if other members had their coins on them. Those that didn’t would be punished in a variety of ways.

That tradition became the modern basis for the challenge coin system.

The Challenge Coin Rules

There are a few different things to understand when it comes to the challenge coin tradition. Specific challenge coin rules vary from group to group, so it’s best to verify the specifics with the particular group you intend to spend time with.

The below is a general outline that applies to most challenge coin participants.

Calling For A Coin Check

It all begins when a holder of a challenge coin initiates what’s known as a coin check. This is a challenge that then needs to be met with a response by others around them.

If you are the “challenger,” you initiate this “coin check” by slamming your challenge coin onto the table or bar. All other coin holders must then “respond” by pulling their coins out and placing them on the same surface.

If a surface isn’t available, holding a coin out in clear and public view is also acceptable.

The specifics of a coin challenge may vary depending on group and location. But in almost all circumstances, the challenger will make it very clear and obvious that they are beginning a challenge.

Finding The Losers

More often than not, someone present during a coin check may not have their coin on their person. This individual then has to pay a penalty. They must reward all those that did actually have their coin present.

This penalty is usually in the form of a round of drinks. The failed player (or players!) must buy drinks for all those that successfully responded to the challenge.

A penalty could also be something else depending on the group. The penalty can take any form that was pre-decided by the group. You should refer to your own specific’s groups rules and see what form of penalty is the standard.

And as always, you should ensure that everyone is driving responsibly following a challenge.

In some cases, a person is allowed to take two or three steps in order to obtain their coin. But if a person does not have their coin in the immediate area, they are not allowed to go and retrieve it. Leaving it one’s bedroom, for example, would be considered penalty worthy.

If No One Loses…

In some cases, everyone might successfully be able to display their challenge coins. In this situation, it is the challenger that has to pay the penalty. They must buy drinks for everyone that they challenged.

This helps create a sense of risk in the game. There’s always a chance that the challenger themselves might have to pay the price. Therefore, calling a challenge won’t happen every second of the day. It’s a strategic call.

Misplacing Your Coin

The worst things that can happen to challenge coin participants is losing their coin. This does not grant one immunity when a coin challenge is presented.

Until the coin is found or replaced, this person is still liable when it comes to coin challenges. Other players are very likely to take advantage of an individual if they discover that their coin has gone missing. If your challenge coin does go missing, it’s a good idea to keep that information to yourself.

A person with a lost coin would need to replace it as soon as possible. Otherwise, penalties can quickly add up.

The Rules of the Coin Challenge

Participating in the challenge coin tradition can be a great way to have fun with friends. If you’re planning on starting your own group tradition, it’s essential you understand all the coin challenge rules.

Want to learn more about past history? Check out our blog for more info.

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