There are a lot of variations (and strong opinions on the subject), but a basic game of Slug Bug or Punch Buggy goes like this: Players stare out the window, looking for classic Volkswagon Beetles. When they spot one, they squeal "punch buggy" or "slug bug" and then slug their seat-mate in the arm.
While there are no hard and fast rules for playing the game, to elevate the level of game play, players can invent more elaborate sets of instructions, such as those listed at www.thepunchbuggygame.com. Under these rules, slug bugs are defined as classic Volkswagon bugs, vans and pickups, and rare models like the VW Thing are awarded more punches than more common models like the VW bug. Players might also set standards for claiming a punch buggy sighting. For instance, they might require that the color of the bug be stated ("red punch buggy") or that the phrase "no punch backs!" be added. Forget to include the "no punch backs" clause, and your opponents may retaliate. Some players will insist that only classic VW bugs count, while others will incorporate newer models in game play.
A word of caution: It's probably not a good idea to involve the driver in a game of Slug Bug, even if you are attempting to enforce a no-contact version of the game. With a game called "slug bug" or "punch buggy," players will soon be trying to get away with pokes as a precursor to full-out punches even when game play calls for awarding points, rather than punches. When violence reaches unacceptable levels, it's time to move on to a less physical game. Our next road trip game requires brains rather than brawn. Discover how to read your seatmate's mind in 20 questions or less on the next page.