A Game of Challenge Coins in the Military

The game of challenge coins in the military has something to do with drinking and strengthening the camaraderie among military men. It is not clear when the tradition really started, but an interesting story happened during World War II that might have started it all.

Interesting Origin

The story about a soldier of the flying squadron being saved by his medallion has been told for so many times. The tradition of providing a custom medallion (now coin) to all the members of a particular squadron started from there. To make sure that the tradition of carrying the medallion will never die, a new tradition of posting a challenge was declared.

Anyone can make a challenge at any given time and place. It was more of a one on one challenge that time. The soldiers must carry their challenge coins wherever they go. One soldier would challenge another, and if the one who were challenged failed to show his coin, he is obliged to buy the challenger a drink. However, if the one challenged showed his coin, then the person who initiated the challenge would be the one to buy a drink.

challenge coinsThe tradition of initiating a massive challenge might have started when the US military were faced with the task to occupy Germany. At that time, one Pfennig coin of West Germany was equivalent to less than one US penny. No one would bother saving their Pfennigs, unless they got nothing else.

Each time the service men gathered in a bar, one of them usually declares a Pfennig check challenge. The men must show the contents of their pockets. If a soldier had a Pfennig in his pocket, then it was a sign that he was broke. If a soldier did not have a Pfennig, then it was a sign that he had money and should buy the drinks for the next round.

The same tradition has been adapted ever since. It was no longer a one on one challenge, but a group challenge.

The Modern Day Challenge Coin Game

The rules in the modern day military challenge coin game are the same as that of Pfennig check. This time, instead of using Pfennig, they use the challenge coins issued to each member of a particular unit. When someone calls for a challenge, each member must be able to show his coin. A member who fails to bring his coin along will need to pay a penalty. He must buy each one of his group members a drink of their choice for the next round.

The challenge coin game aims to improve the camaraderie of soldiers who belong to the same unit. It is a great way to renew their bond together as a team.

There are other groups or organizations that follow the challenge coin game of the military, and adapted the same rules. However, the penalty could be the same or different from that of the military. The groups who tried the game noticed that they became closer as a team.

You can impose other penalties, aside from buying a drink. It could be a week’s worth of cleaning materials, pantry stocks, or cleaning duty. You can make the loser host a once a week tea party for a month, or pay for your spa visit. Think of a penalty that would help bring the whole team closer than before. You will not only create good vibes among members, you will get a free treat too.

Modern challenge coins come in colorful designs, different shapes and sizes, different materials, various styles for the edges, and other options that your chosen provider can offer. All you need to do is choose the most suitable material for your coin and budget.


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