What is a Punch Buggy? If you have never played the game, boy, aren’t you missing out on a classic! So, the next time you plan a long drive with friends or family, add it to your list of road trip games to try. Now, time for some fun and more about the car that inspired the game.
Punch bug/dub/car, beetle bug, piggy punch, bugga bug bug… rings a bell? The game goes by many names, but nothing beats “Punch Buggy.” “Slug Bug” comes a close second. It’s been around since the 60s, so you could ask your grandparents if they have road trip memories of the game.
No answers yet? We’ll keep it short – Punch Buggy is a road trip game based on spotting the Volkswagen Beetle. The rules can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. You can have players of any age group, and the goal is to have fun, not have a boxing match in the car.
So, here are the basics of the classic Punch Buggy Road Trip Game.
What is a Punch Buggy?
The Punch Buggy car game is inspired by one of the most recognizable models in history – the Volkswagen Beetle, nicknamed the “bug.” The VW Beetle is typically small with rounded features, like a bug!
Punch Buggy car game mainly involves spotting VW Beetles on the road and gently punching the person closest to you while calling out “Punch Buggy” or “Slug Bug.” You can follow up with “No Punch Backs” to avoid getting punched for revenge.
Where did the Punch Buggy game come from?
Nothing official about its origins, and no experts on the subject. So, everyone’s best guess is it’s been around since Volkswagen’s heydays in the 1960s. In those days, the Beetle was so popular that you could spot several in varying colors on a short drive, too. And there is the “Summer of Love” – in 1967 when the iconic car was celebrated for its cutting-edge transformation.
In 2009, Volkswagen used a version of the Punch Buggy game for its marketing campaign – Logan Made Punch Dub. The ad agency Deutsch Inc. even gave it fictional history and claimed the game began “over 50 years ago.” The game is VW’s Superbowl Commercial plot, featuring Tracy Morgan and Stevie Wonder.
What are the rules of the Punch Buggy Game?
So, you ready to play?
Step 1: Lay down the ground rules and decide on a game duration.
You can start the game as soon as the car moves or only when you are on a highway. It’s your game – you decide when you want to start. Similarly, you can play till you reach the destination or when you leave the city. You can restrict it to one color of the VW Beetle or keep all colors in play.
Step 2: Assign a scorekeeper
You need someone to keep the score. Drivers, please don’t volunteer and keep your eyes and priority focused on the road. The scorekeeper can just record the game progress on their phone.
Step 3: Let the games begin!
Once all players agree to begin, keep your eyes peeled for VW Beetles on the road – new or old models, but it’s got to be a bug. When you spot one, lightly punch the player closest to you and call out “Punch Buggy.” The upper arm is the default punching bag – just don’t treat it like an actual punching bag.
You get the point every time you get it right – punch another player before they spot the same Beetle car and punch you. Anyway, there are no official rules to the Punch Buggie car game. However, there are some general guidelines – feel free to mix it up and have as much fun as possible.
More Punch Buggy rules to customize your game
- Every time you make a mistake, you lose a point. Think you spotted a bug, but it turned out to be another car model? Deduct a point!
- You can call out the Punch Buggy color – see the VW Superbowl ad above. You can restrict the game to just one color to make it more challenging. But stop if it gets too boring.
- Passing by a Volkswagen dealership – pause the game, or your car will turn into a boxing ring.
- Make exceptions – no vintage Beetles or only vintage Beetles! Keep the 2011-2019 and 1998-2010 models out. Of course, you have to be kind of a car enthusiast for this.
- Two punches for a classic Beetle or a rare color.
Do they still make Punch Buggies?
23 million units sold in 80 years! The Volkswagen Beetle sure made a mark on the world history of cars. From its peak at 1.3 million units in 1971, the Type 1 Volkswagen Bug dropped to an annual production of 30,000 by 2003 due to decreasing demand. So, the last of its kind – nicknamed El Ray – rolled out at Puebla, Mexico, in July 2003 – 65 years since its launch. Volkswagen released the Última Edición – a special series of 3000 Beetles to say goodbye to their iconic model.
The Volkswagen New Beetle, launched in 1997, is inspired by the original bug’s exteriors. In 2012, the Beetle A5 replaced it. Finally, in 2018, VW announced that they were discontinuing Beetle production. Similar models inspired by the original are still rolling off production lines – but none replaces the original Punch Buggy.
So, be careful when playing the Punch Buggy game – don’t fall for the wrong car!
One game won’t do for your long road trip with kids? So here are some more car games to keep the little humans happy and active on the way.
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