beetle drive

Beetle (game)

Beetle is a British party game in which one draws a beetle in parts. The game may be played solely with pen, paper and a die or using a commercial game set, some of which contain custom scorepads and dice and others which contain pieces which snap together to make a beetle/bug. It is sometimes called Cooties or Bugs.


The part drawn is decided by the roll of a die. The traditional rolls are:

  • 6 is for the body, of which there is one.
  • 5 is for the head, of which there is one.
  • 4 is for the tail, of which there is one OR wings, of which there are two.
  • 3 is for a leg, of which there are six.
  • 2 is for an antenna, of which there are two.
  • 1 is for an eye, of which there are two.

The part corresponding to each roll of the die, however, may vary depending on the rules established by the players. For example the popular boxed beetle drive set (by Gibson games) rolls very differently with 1 being for the head, which must be rolled first, and die rolls correspond with different parts to the traditional version .

Usually it is necessary to roll the correct number for the body before any other part may be drawn. To the body, one may attach the head, legs or tail, but the head must precede the antenna and eyes. The first player to draw all the requisite parts is the winner.

Beetle Drive

This game is played at social occasions known as a Beetle Drive, in which many rounds of Beetle are played. The players usually play in groups of four, and the first player to complete their beetle shouts out "Beetle!" stopping the play of all the groups. Then the winner (the player with the most complete beetle for one particular group) will move around a circle of tables to the right (clockwise), and the loser (the player with the least complete beetle) to the left (anti-clockwise) (or sit still). The ultimate winner would be either the one who has drawn the most complete beetles, or the one who has drawn the most parts in total, the person who has drawn the least parts is often awarded a Booby prize. Sometimes the game is played partially in pairs (with the person opposite), if either of you get a 6 then you can both draw the body, in this variation the winning pair moves table.

Beetle Drives can be used for fund raising and are often associated with the Guide and Scout movements.

Variations which don't use a Beetle

Games similar to Beetle, but using for example a boy, snowman or rabbit (Easter Bunny), obviously can no longer be called Beetle, however, they are played in exactly the same way.


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