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What Do You Do With A Challenge Coin?

Posted by: Jack Thompson
Date: October 6, 2020
What Do You Do With A Challenge Coin

While challenge coins may sometimes seem like “simple” collectibles, the history and uses behind them go back for years and years. In fact, the challenge coin itself is part of a long, storied tradition with deep roots in the military. On top of that, challenge coins function, in a way, like game tokens. 

Though challenge coins started out as a military-specific practice, they’ve since extended to the general public. Families, groups, clubs, and even some businesses are getting in on the challenge coin action and it’s a fun tradition to partake in. 

If you’ve ever asked “what do you do with a challenge coin?” here are the answers you need. 

Know your challenge etiquette: In theory, using a challenge coin sounds pretty straightforward. After all, the rules are thus: The last person to present their coin in a social situation is responsible for paying for the next round of drinks. Seems easy, right? Well, if that’s all there was to it, it’s unlikely that the challenge coin tradition would have stuck around nearly as long as it did. 

What makes challenge coins so fun and interesting is that there are rules, insider modifications, and challenge etiquette that all work together to spice things up. And it’s important to always follow the established rules. That’s because if you’re found guilty of a rule infraction or if you break etiquette, drinks are probably on you. Unless you have some every deep pockets, you don’t want to be responsible for everybody’s bar tab. 

What Do You Do With a Challenge Coin

At this point, you’re probably champing at the bit to know exactly what challenge etiquette is. Luckily, it’s not too hard to follow: 

  • Always explain the rules: What’s the fun of playing a game if nobody knows the rules? Before any challenges are issues, make sure that each person present clearly understands how the game works. Otherwise, things will quickly descend into chaos. While chaos can be fun, massive bar tabs aren’t. 
  • Carry your coin: There are no exceptions to this rule. You could run to the bathroom quickly and be caught with your pants down but you’d still be expected to present your coin. Never leave it sitting anywhere. 
  • Challenges can happen at any time: This branches off of that last point. Even if you’re taking a nice relaxing shower, if you get challenged, you should be prepared to flash your coin. 
  • The challenger states the terms: Most commonly, your challenges are for an entire round of drinks for every player. However, sometimes a challenger will say it’s for a single drink of the loser’s choosing. Make sure to clearly state your intentions. 
  • Never pass out your coin: You need to remember that it’s an honor to receive a challenge coin. When you hand one to someone, you’re essentially gifting it to them. If somebody is that curious about seeing the design of your coin, you need to hold it in your palm or let the person view it while it’s on a table. 
  • A coin is a coin: Your coin isn’t a fashion accessory, piece of jewelry, or a belt buckle. You should respect the long history of the challenge coin and treat it with the care it deserves. It’s also key to note that you should never drill a hole into a coin under any circumstances.
  • You’ve been considered worthy: If you possess a coin or have been given one, you’re in on the game. Again, it’s a pretty high honor to hold onto a challenge coin and should always be treated as such. 

Of course, these are just some of the standard rules that almost everyone follows. Between different groups of friends, family, and even coworkers may have some of their own modifications and rule changes. That’s part of why it’s just so important to explain the rules at the beginning. Depending on who you’re with, other people may have used different modifiers or even entirely different rulesets. It will truly vary from group to group. 

Challenge coin designs: Challenge coins come in a wide array of different designs. Some even come in different shapes and sizes. The ultimate goal is to ensure that every single coin is unique to the group that carries it. This is part of the reason that some people work for their entire lives to collect different coins, especially if they are from military members. Many current and former service members will have entire displays of coins in their homes. 

As far as designs are concerned, many of the concepts form very naturally. This is because they’re often representative of military platoons and squadrons. As such, it’s important to capture the essence of the service members on the coins. Certain colors, numbers, and even phrases are incredibly important to these groups and need to be adequately represented on their challenge coins. 

However, when it comes to civilian groups and workgroups, designs tend to vary pretty wildly. Often, designs will represent shared memories, important milestones, and special moments that coworkers, friends, and family members cherish. 

Many people believe they need to have a fully-formed design before they ever contact a challenge coin company. Thankfully, that’s not the case. This is perfect if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly artistically inclined. As long as you come ready with a general notion of what a coin should look like, any qualified artist can turn it into a true statement piece. 

Pick the pros: For those who are ready to develop their own unique challenge coins, there’s no better place to start than here. The experts at Custom Challenge Coins know exactly how to take a strong idea or concept and turn it into a full-fledged reality. If you want a token of your group that will call back memories for the rest of your life, we’ve got you covered. Our design process is simple and straightforward. Plus, we can work with almost any budget to develop some outstanding coins. To learn more, contact Custom Challenge Coins today or request a consultation with one of our designers. We can’t wait to turn your ideas into art. 

Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After retiring from the military, Jack moved to Austin, Texas, to start a new chapter in his life. He has always been passionate about storytelling and decided to become a writer and podcaster. He runs a successful podcast where he discusses military history, shares personal anecdotes, and interviews other veterans. Jack also writes often about military traditions and history.

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