Kings (game)

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Kings Cup.png
Cards during a game of Kings
Alternative name(s) King's Cup
Ring of Fire
Circle of Death
Type Drinking
Players 2+
Cards 52
Deck 1 Deck of Standard Playing Cards
Play Clockwise or counterclockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) Ace (A) – two (2)
Playing time 20 to 40 minutes

Kings, circle of death, king's cup, donut, jug, oval of fire, or ring of fire, is a drinking game that uses playing cards. The player must drink and dispense drinks based on cards drawn. Each card has a rule that is predetermined before the game starts. Many houses have their own variation of rules.

Rules and setup[edit]


  • 1 Deck of Cards
  • 2 or more players
  • Alcoholic beverages - typically wine, beer, or mixed drinks - or non alcoholic beverages
  • A large cup which will be used as the King's Cup

Setup and common rules[edit]

In this game, players perform actions associated with each card. Sometimes, rules on the cards "reveal interesting things about the participants."

Usually, cards are shuffled and dealt into a circle around either an empty cup or a full can of beer (or a shot/cup of spirits or wine). Each player takes turn drawing cards, and the players must participate in the instructions corresponding to the drawn card.

This game is highly open ended and all of the cards can signify any mini-game, the rules and the card assignments are normally confirmed at the start of the game. Depending on house rules, the game either ends when the last rule card has been pulled, or when the king's cup has been consumed; or when the cards are placed on top of the king's cup the game is over when the cards fall off, the one that knocked them off must consume the king's cup.

It is also common for the players to make up and agree on a set of rules every time the game is played.

Card assignments[edit]

Variations and other rules[edit]

Like almost all other drinking games, Kings has endless variations of rules. It is not common to play Kings exactly the same when playing with new people. There will be similar rules, but there will most likely always be some you've never heard of. These rules below are some of the other popular rules not covered in the common rules. Many of these rules are used with the "King – Make a Rule" rule. You can also replace some of the common rules you do not like with these. Kings is not a competitive game. Some people have completely different rules for the cards drawn. As long as everyone knows what the cards mean before the game starts, then it doesn't matter what rules are being used.

Game variations[edit]

  • A major variation in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Canada is that the contents of the King's Cup are drunk by the player who breaks the circle of cards (known as the Ring of Fire in the UK).
  • If playing with a full can of beer in the middle you must give gaggles, after each player draws a card s/he places it under the tab on the can, when a player's card pops the can open, that player must chug the can. In this situation, when a King is drawn the player makes a rule.

Card instruction variations[edit]

Card drawn Title Instruction
Ace Waterfall To perform a waterfall, each player starts drinking their beverage at the same time as the person to their left. No player can stop drinking until the player before them stops.
2 Give 2 You point at two people and tell them to drink. You can also tell one person to take two drinks.
3 Take 3 You take three drinks.
4 Give 2 Take 2 You give out two drinks, and take two yourself.
5 Rule Set a rule to be followed, e.g. drink with your left hand, tap your head before you drink, don't use first names, etc.
6 Thumbs Place your thumb on the table, and try to do this without anyone noticing. As people notice, they will also have to put their thumb on the table too. The last person to place their thumb on the table drinks.
7 Raise your hand to heaven Last person to raise their hand will drink.
8 Mate Choose a person to be your mate and they drink when you drink for the rest of the game.
9 Rhyme Time You say a word, and the person to your right has to say a word that rhymes. This continues around the table until someone can't think of a word. This person must drink. The same word can not be used twice.
10 Categories You come up with a category of things, and the person to your right must come up with something that falls within that category. This goes on around the table until someone can't come up with anything. This person must drink.
Jack Guys Drink All the guys at the table must take a drink
Queen Girls Drink All the girls at the table must take a drink
King King's Cup When each of the first 3 Kings are drawn, the person who drew the card puts some of their drink into the King's Cup at the center of the table. When the 4th King is drawn, the person who drew the 4th King must drink the contents of the King's Cup.
Card value Alternative title Alternative suggestion
Ace "A spelling B" The drawer of this card chooses someone to spell a word. If they are unable to spell the word they must drink. A level of difficulty/trickery is preferred in the word. For example: Wednesday, Salmon, phenomenon, banana, etc.
Ace "Race" The drawer of this card chooses one other player to "race" to the bottom of their cup. Both players must finish what is in their glass
Ace "Dirty Pint" For the first three Aces, the drawer of the card pours a part of their drink into a jug in the middle. For the last Ace, the drawer of the card must drink the concoction in the jug.
Ace "Ace in your face" The drawer of the ace puts the card on their forehead ("lick it and stick it") and has to drink until the card falls off.
Ace "Ace to the face" Once the Aces is drawn everyone draws an unknown card and posts it to their forehead, without knowing the value of the card. Using the help of others, and helping others you must figure out what your card is without any reference to its numerical or symbolic value. You are not allowed to say for instance "Your card is the number that comes after 6 if you're counting upwards". The last person to figure theirs out drinks.
Ace "Ace is bass" The drawer of the ace slams his hands down on the table, the last one to do so drinks.
Ace "Tom Ace" Whom ever draws an ace thus becomes Tom Ace.
Ace "Hot Seat" Each player may ask the person who drew the ace a question. If the drawer of the ace refuses to answer the question, he/she must drink.
Ace "Begerk" The sound of a chicken. Players set up with their elbows on the table, hands on their face to make a pair of goggles. To go to the player to the left or right you must say Book while moving your left or right hand off of your eye. To go to a player across the table, you must say Begerrrrrk while moving both hands toward the targeted player. They must answer with Book or Begerk with the appropriate hand action to the next targeted player. The drawer of the ace starts, and the person who incorrectly answers or does not answer the Begerk has to drink.
Ace "Beep-Boop" The drawer of the ace starts by saying either Beep or Boop (Beep chooses the player to the right, Boop chooses the player to the left). The chosen player must answer with either Beep or Boop where the Choose/Answer process is repeated. A person who incorrectly answers or does not answer the Beep-Boop has to drink.
2 "Social" Everyone who is playing takes a drink. Commonly used instead of the waterfall rule.
2 "2 fingers" The drawer of this card must drink 2 fingers of their drink.
2 "Shuffle" All players must switch places. The last one to sit/switch locations must drink.
2 "Most Likely To" The drawer of this card chooses a possible activity, like "throw up tonight" or "have a secret crush on Justin Bieber". All participants point at the person they think is most likely to do this activity. Each finger pointing at you is one drink.
2 "You" Point at a person and they take a drink.
3 "3 fingers" As above but must drink 3 fingers.
3 "Accents/International House" Everyone adopts an accent that must speak in until the next 3 is pulled. Some variations allow everyone to speak in the same accent. First person to break the rule must drink.
3 "Rotation" The direction of play switches, e.g., from clockwise to counterclockwise.
3 "Slow Motion" Upon drawing this card, all player move in slow motion. The first one to break this rhythm must drink.
3 "Me" The drawer of this card takes a drink.
4 "Floor" The person who draws this card must touch the floor, and everyone follows, last person to touch the floor must drink
4 "Staring Contest" The drawer of this card initiates a staring contest between two players. The player to lose the staring contest must drink.
4 "Whores" All women drink
4 "Moose" Whoever gets this card must immediately put their thumbs to their head with his/her fingers splayed, resembling moose antlers. The last person to do this must drink.
4 "Dinosaur" As the four is unveiled, the player may use a permanent marker to draw a dinosaur on a fellow player.
4 "Nicknames" The person who picks up the name must allocate an amusing nickname to a fellow player. From now on – if anyone addresses this player by their real name, they have to drink.
4 "Rhyme" Someone says 1 word, everyone must say a legitimate word that rhymes with that word. If they can not think of a word they must drink.
4 "Secret Service" After drawing this card, the drawer is able to perform the following stunt once throughout the rest of the entire game. The drawer puts their hand on their ear signaling that they are a part of the secret service, the last person to put their hand on their ear is the president. All members of the secret service must tackle the president in an attempt to protect them.
4 "Floor" Everyone puts their hand on the floor. The last person to do so has to drink.
5 "Divide" / "Give Five" The player who draws assigns 5 drinks throughout the group. They may assign multiple or all the drinks to one person or divide them evenly.
5 "Fuck You" Starting with the player who draws, players count up from one, any number with 7 in it or that is a multiple of 7 is replaced with "Fuck You".
5 "Five Fingers" When drawn, all players hold up 5 fingers and begin a game of Never Have I Ever. Number of fingers left up is the number of drinks you take.
5 "Ninja" All players join in a game of Ninja.
5 "Down by the Banks" All players join in a game of Down by the Banks.
5 "Drive" When drawn, all players must mime driving a car by having both hands grip an imaginary steering wheel, then the player who draws shall "steer into" a player on either side while saying "vroom", then the 2nd player onward may continue the circle and steer in the same direction and say "vroom", or reverse the circle and steer into the opposite direction and say "screech". Any confused player (e.g. saying "vroom" while gesturing the opposite direction or pausing too long) must drink. Optionally, all players or just the player who draws can do a revving sequence for fun, which a rule for the former can be implemented for the person who continues revving after the player who draws have already "steered" must drink for added difficulty.
5 "Guys" All men drink.
5 "Dive" The card is announced and everybody "dives", the last person to have their hand on the floor drinks.
6 "Dicks" All men drink.
6 "Chicks" All women drink.
6 "Captain Dickhead" "Captain Dickhead" The drawer of a 6 becomes the Captain (Dickhead) and can do anything they want, imposing an unlimited number of rules until the next 6 is drawn, where all the previous Captain's rules are revoked, unless the new Captain wishes to keep them. Similar to the rules card, except a little more extreme!
6 "Music Game" Each person chooses an instrument and an action that mimes it. Everyone claps together twice, then the person who picked the card says their instrument and mimes, everyone claps twice again, then the person says someone else's instrument and mimes it, e.g.: *clap, clap* Drums! *clap, clap* Piano! Then, the person whose instrument was called out follows suit. If you forget your instrument or clap out of time, you must consume.
6 "Pick a Date" Pick someone to be your "date" meaning they have to drink whenever you do
7 "Fat Boy" The card holder starts the count off with "1." The next player continues the count around the circle, but any number that is a multiple of 7 or containing a 7 digit must be replaced with "Fat Boy." Once "Fat Boy" is said, the direction of the count is reversed. Whoever hesitates, says the wrong thing, or says something when they shouldn't, must drink.
7 "Snake-eyes" When this card is picked, the holder becomes known as snake-eyes, and every time they make eye contact with anyone, that person has to drink.
7 "God" The player that has this card licks the back and sticks it to their forehead. For the duration of the time in which the card is on their forehead they can do anything they like, force any player to do what they like so long as it doesn't go against the basic rules of the game.
7 "Random Text" Whoever draws this card must surrender their cellular phone to another player, so that the other player may text a random person from their phone book. In the event of a text response sent by the randomly texted contact, the responsibility of responding is shared amongst all players except the owner of the cell phone. A reward/consequence system can be created around causing the contact to not text back.
7 "Cell Tower" After pulling this card all players must stack their cell phones on the table. The owner of the first one that rings/vibrates, must drink.
7 "Arm Wrestle" The person who pulled this card initiates an Arm Wrestling competition between two other players. The Loser must drink.
7 "Fuzzy Duck" The person who removed the card says 'Fuzzy Duck' and the person to the left repeats this. It travels round the circle until someone says 'Duzzy' and then it changes direction and everyone must say 'Ducky Fuzz'. The first person to say 'Duzzy Fuck' must drink.
7 "Tongue Master" The player who picks this card can place their tongue anywhere at any time and the last player to notice and place their tongue in the same position must drink. For example if you place your tongue on the person to your lefts' nose then all players must place their tongue on the nose of the player to the left. The last person to do this must drink.
7 "Heaven" Everyone raises their hand. The last person to do so must drink.
8 "Never have I ever" Whoever pulls this card starts a game of "never have I ever" the first person to have 3 things they HAVE done has to drink.
8 "Mate" Whoever pulls this card chooses a "mate" out of all the other players. Whenever this person has to drink, their "mate" also has to drink.
9 "Nose Game" When someone draws the allocated card, say a 3, they keep the card and the game continues. At any point during the game the holder of the card might put their finger on the nose (the idea being to do it so that no-one notices) the last person to then notice and put their finger on their nose has to drink.
9 "Rhyme" The person who lifts this card starts a rhyming game, with a word or sentence (with restrictions on unrhymable words). The person who cannot rhyme, or repeats a rhyme, drinks.
9 "Thumb Master" The player that picks the card becomes "Thumb Master". At any time during the game, they discreetly put their thumb on the table. Then everyone else puts their thumbs on the table. The last person to put their thumb on the table drinks.
9 "Thrift Tranny" After drawing this card, everyone must switch a garment of clothing with a person to their right, left, or directly across the circle from them, this person must be of the opposite sex. Players must never make a switch that causes a return of their own clothing, and they must only switch out their own clothing. It is recommended to play this rule along with "shuffle(2)" so that the clothing distribution is even more erratic.
9 "Whine" The player who drew this card must whine about something. Examples include "This wine is too cold!", "This fan is too loud!", and "My beer tastes like yeast!" After the player that picked the card whines, the player to their left must then whine about something else. Play continues in this fashion until the majority of players deem a whine not whiny enough or a player cannot think of anything to say. If this judgement is made, the whiner in question must drink.
10 "Simon Says" The person who draws the card starts with a sign, for example peace sign or touching ones nose, and the next does the same and adds another. The next person does both previous signs and adds another. And so on until someone misses a sign or takes too long.
10 "Toilet Card" A card is nominated toilet card and only the holder of the card is permitted to use the toilet
10 "Chinese Fire Drill" When the card is picked, everyone must run one full-time around the table past their own chair and into the next chair. The last person to sit down drinks. To avoid cheating, anyone who knocks over a chair has to drink.
10 "Go on then!" The player must remove an article of clothing.
10 "Cargo" The player that picks up this card must start off by saying, "A ship came into the harbour, carrying a cargo-load of ...", then they name a category, such as 'politicians', 'shoes', 'rugby players', etc. You go around the circle, with each person naming something from the category until someone either says something wrong or can't think of anything. That person must then drink.
10 "Ben" The player named Ben must take a drink. Similarly, a rule can be instituted stating that any player with a name that rhymes with the number on the drawn card must drink.
Jack "Make a Rule" The player can make up a new rule to be played throughout the remainder of the game.
Jack "Never Have I Ever" Go around circle playing Never Have I Ever. Drink each time you put down a finger. First person to put down all five fingers takes an extra drink, and the game continues.
Jack "Gentlemen" Participating males drink.
Jack "Mack" The player who draws the first Jack must wait for the second Jack to be drawn. These two players must then Mack. This process is repeated for the remaining two Jacks.
Jack "Prank Call" The player who draws this card must have a random phone number dialed for him/her, preferably on speaker phone. When the phone is answered by the random person, the "Excuse me is your fridge running", "well you better go catch it" gag must be completed.
Jack "Jackass" The player who draws this card must take a drink whenever any other person at the table drinks. This continues until another Jack is drawn, at which point that player becomes the new "Jackass" of the game.
Queen "Ladies" Participating females drink.
Queen "Questions" The player begins by turning to a random person in the group and asking a question. That player must then turn to someone else and ask a different question. If the person does not ask a question (responds), cannot think of a question quickly, or repeats a question, they must drink.
Queen "To the Queen" Group drink. All players raise their classes and toast to the queen and then drink for a set amount of time (typically a couple seconds).
Queen "Assey" The player must drink from two drinks at once for a designated amount of time.
Queen "Lean" The player who draws the queen immediately leans his/her body in any direction (forward, backward, or toward the side). While he/she holds that position, all other players must lean the same way. The last player to lean (or if a player leans in the wrong direction) must drink. For example, if I lean to the left (toward the direction of my left-hand side) after drawing the queen, the player(s) across from me must then lean to the right (toward the direction of my left-hand side), and the player(s) adjacent to me must lean either forward or backward in the direction of my left hand-side.
Queen "Chameleon" All players must get at least three limbs off the floor and touching the wall, to resemble a chameleon. The last player to do so must drink.
Queen "Question Master" The player drawing a queen becomes the Question Master, at any time (until a new queen is drawn) they can ask a question of any player, if that player answer the question they must drink. Sometimes the response "fuck you" is allowed and forces the question master to drink. No other verbal response is allowed.
King "King's Cup" An empty cup is placed in the middle of the table. Whenever a king is drawn, that person pours some of his or her drink to the community cup. When the fourth king is drawn, that person must chug the contents of the community cup.
Joker "Talent Showcase" Playing a deck with the jokers left in. The drawer of this card must perform any personal talent on the spot for the amusement of the other players. If they fail to do so or do not deliver a worthy "showcase-esque" performance to amuse the other players, they must finish the remainder of their beverage.
Joker "Extra Jacks" Playing a deck with the jokers left in, treat them as extra Jacks. They may function as regular Jacks, or may introduce a random rule (such as from a list or drawn from a hat), or may "roll back" to the previous Jack's rule.
Joker "Jokes on You" Playing a deck with the jokers left in. The drawer names any card, the next time this card is drawn that player must finish the remainder of their current beverage.
Any "Gecko" Once the card is drawn the person who does it shouts "Gecko". All players need to press their bodies flat against a surface like a wall or counter, and the last one to do so drinks.
Any "Celebrities" You must say a celebrity's name (e.g.: Snoop Dogg) the next person clockwise has to say the name of a celebrity whose name starts with the first letter of previous celebrity's last name (so: Dogg = David Spade) If however the person says a name where the first letter of the first and last name is the same (e.g.: Dogg = David Duchovny) the order reverses anti clockwise until another double is said. This ends when a player can not think of a name or takes to long to say a name. That person Consumes! Also no repeats.

See also[edit]