Crown the King is a variation of Never Have I Ever/Truth or Dare/Cards Against Humanity — the goal is to answer a question with the “best” answer, earning the metaphorical crown, and earning the right to answer any subsequent questions first, at least until you lose the crown to someone else.
The reason for this is because you can’t use repeat answers — they’re first come, first serve — so even if you had the same idea as someone else, if they say it before you do, you have to say something else.
The questions are simple — you ask a general question, say “Best place to go on a first date?” and then everyone answers — then all the players agree on the ‘best’ answer, and that person holds the crown, and first answer rights, until someone else takes it from them.
You play it to learn things about each other — personality traits, opinions, battle styles, kinks… you name it, it’s covered. Any question goes, and you’re allowed to bow out at any time, although you aren’t allowed to skip answering a question. You also can’t lie — if you get caught lying, and you will, you lose the rights to the crown for the rest of the game. Shadowhunters are, by nature, extremely competitive. Being denied a prize, recognition, sits well with none of them.
It’s also a drinking game. In that you play it while you drink. If you win the round, you have the option of not drinking, although that’s rarely taken advantage of that, but any losers have to drink. Played with shots, most often, but also with larger drinks — you just take a gulp or a sip or whatever strikes your fancy, if you aren’t playing with shots.
The name of this game is in part a holdover from the time when Jonathan Shadowhunter and his family ruled Nephilim, and in part just a loan-word concept for how the rest of the Downworld functions — while there are democratic influences found within the upper echelons of the Downworld, in the end, everyone always answers to their ruler.
The Seelie Queen, The Unseelie King; large swaths of countries are parceled off and under the control of specific High Warlocks, who, in turn, hold the allegiances of every lower ranked Warlock, Vampire, and Werewolf in their area.
While the position of High Warlock is, nominally, elective, the fact of the matter is that there is a very small pool of individuals that are capable of holding said titles — it requires a specific combination of magical power and presence. “Elected” is also a misnomer — it’s more like a battle royale, last one standing wins.
“Best place to lose your virginity, I’ll start,” Jace says with a smirk, the — as of yet — uncontested ruler of this particular game of Crown the King. Izzy huffs and rolls her eyes dramatically at his faux gravitas. “On a battlefield, after a successful battle.”
“You keep stealing all the best answers,” Izzy complains, toying with her drink. “Just because you got lucky—”
“Hey!” Jace protests. “I didn’t get lucky, I’m just better than you. Now, answer! I want to take another drink!”
“Ugh, fine… during an important yearly celebration,” she decides.
“Weak,” Jace crows. “Your turn, Alec.”
Alec is… honestly? Jace would love to say that he’s the worst at this game, but that just depends on the questions being asked. Alec is downright creative when the right subjects are brought up. Sex is a hit and miss topic, so if Jace is in luck, he’ll get to keep his first answer rights.
“In a throne room, on the throne,” Alec says, sprawled out and relaxed for fucking once with the level of alcohol he has in him.
And also, apparently, on the top of his fucking game. Edom damn it.
Jace makes a disgusted noise and slugs back his shot. “Fuck you,” he tells Alec emphatically. “Take your stupid crown, I hope it gives you a headache.”
Alec tilts his head to look at Jace. “We didn’t vote, though.”
It’s not a disagreement. If Alec had disagreed with him, Jace might have hit him.
“No… Jace is right, hermano, that one was good,” Izzy says, taking her own shot. “How have we not heard that one before? You always have the best fantasies.”
“It never came up?” Alec asks, drinking another phial of his ridiculous fae concoction.
Jace and Izzy can’t stand it — it’s some weird combination of bitter and too sweet — but Alec loves it, and considering how relaxed he gets when he’s drunk off it, they approve.
Since he stole the crown, Alec gets to ask the next question and answer first, insuring the chance of him keeping it for at least round two.
“Best… gift to get from a lover,” Alec decides. “Still warm heart of a hated enemy.”
Jace stares at him mutely. “Alec,” he says slowly. “ What the fuck?”
Alec blinks at him — it’s not even innocently, because Alec honestly seems confused — and goes “What?”
“Where have you been hiding these?” Jace demands, Izzy echoing him in stereo. Jace is so glad he’s not alone, here.
“Did you get replaced? Are you a shell person?” Izzy asks, looking like she’s considering going for her knife.
“I think it’s plant person,” Jace corrects, distractedly, “But you have a point — seriously, Alec, what the fuck?”
Alec grins at them. Right, that level of drunk. The level of drunk that had had Alec coming very explicitly out of the closet with a complaint about how hot Aline’s cousin was. “It’s not my fault all your questions are stupid,” Alec tells them. He wiggles the phial in his hand at them.
“Your turn,” he informs Jace and Izzy without sympathy.
“Fine, a new weapon,” Jace says. “Like, not just any weapon, but my favorite type.”
Izzy makes a face. “Magical makeup. That shit is amazing.”
They all take drinks, then Jace looks expectantly at Izzy, hoping she’ll ask a ‘boring’ question and one of them can take the crown back from Alec.
“Best… first date,” Izzy eventually decides. Perfect. Alec was boring and domestic, one of them could easily steal this from him —
“Demon portal,” Alec replies promptly, because he’s a monster.
Jace makes an abortive noise, but Izzy doesn’t bother, giving a sigh of longing.
“Did you meet someone?” Jace asks. “Is that what this is?”
Alec blinks at him. Oh — oh no, oh, he did.
Izzy leans forward, seeing the same thing Jace did. “Alec? Tell us. We’re your siblings, we love and support you, we need to know these things.”
“Magnus Bane is really hot,” Alec tells them, taking another drink. “Like… really.”
“You met Magnus Bane?” Izzy asks, before Jace can get his thoughts in order.
Alec makes a noise of agreement. “Someone was slinging demon blood to vamps in the subway — Mom sent me to check it out but he was already there, handling it. Apparently it was one of his warlocks, and he wasn’t happy with them.”
“And he’s hot,” Jace prompts, when Alec trails off.
“He… made all the lights flicker, like in one of those mundane movies, you know? When they’re in the subway and something bad is about to happen? All the shadows turned black and there were things in them. It was terrifying,” Alec says. Jace thinks some of the description gets lost to the alcohol, but…
That did sound hot.
“He could kill me,” Alec says.
Ok. No. That was really hot.
“He’s totally into guys, too,” Izzy says, because she’s better than Jace at having Alec’s back with words. Jace usually just stabs people. Or things.
Alec makes a sad noise. “He hates shadowhunters, though.”
“You’re really pretty,” Jace chimes in. “He might like, be interested just because you’re pretty and it’ll piss people off?”
Because if Alec gets involved with the High Warlock of Brooklyn, a lot of people are going to be pretty pissed off.
“Pretty and pissed,” he says out loud, because he’s drunk enough that the word combo is funny.
“Pissed and pretty,” Izzy counters.
They all start giggling.
“Answer the stupid question so we can drink again,” Alec orders them after a minute.
“Pass, keep your stupid crown. Next question?”