Kings (also known as king's cup, donut, circle of death 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. Often groups establish house rules with their own variation of rules.
- 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, or (in the "Ring of Fire" version of the game) an unopened beer can
Setup and common rules
In this game, a deck of cards is shuffled and dealt into a circle around either an empty cup or a full drink of choice. Each card value is assigned an action, which must be performed by the relevant players upon it being drawn. Players then take turns to draw cards and participate in the relevant activity.
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 the king's cup has been consumed. In variations where cards are placed on top of the king's cup, the game is over when the cards fall off, with the player responsible for knocking them off having to 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. Some common assignments for card values include:
|Ace||Waterfall||To perform a waterfall, all players start drinking their beverage at the same time. No player can stop drinking until the player to their left stops. (In some versions the person who draws the card says "waterfall sucks" and each person takes a sip in order the represent performing the "waterfall". This is due to safety concern around drinking games.)|
|2||Two for you / Two is you||The player who drew the card gives out two drinks, either both to the same person or one to two different people.|
|3||Three for me / Three is me||The player who drew the card takes a drink.|
|4||Four is Whores||All women playing take a drink. (In some versions this is under the number 6)|
|Hit the Floor / Floor||Last person to touch the floor with their hands must take a drink. (In some versions this is one hand, in other versions it's both hands)|
|5||Thumb Master||When you put your thumb on the table everyone must follow and whoever is last must drink. You are the thumb master till someone else picks a five.|
|Five is Guys||All men playing take a drink. (In some versions this is under the number 6)|
|6||Six is dicks||All men playing take a drink. (In some versions this is under the number 5)|
|Six is chicks||All women playing take a drink. (In some versions this is under the number 4)|
|7||Heaven / 7th Heaven||Last person to raise their hand has to drink.|
|8||Mate||The player who drew the card chooses another player who must drink at the same time as them for the rest of the game.|
|9||Rhyme Time / Nine is Rhyme||The player who drew the card says a word, with players going clockwise each saying a word that rhyme with the original. The first person to fail to come up with a rhyming word that has not been used must drink.|
|10||Categories||The player who drew the card chooses a category, with players going clockwise to name things that fall within the category. The first person to fail to come up with something that has not been said must drink.|
|Jack||Make a Rule||You can make up any rule that everyone has to follow, such as you can only drink with your left hand. Everyone (including you) must follow this rule for the whole entire game and if you disobey you must drink.|
|Social||Everyone must take a drink.|
|Never Have I Ever||Starting with the player who drew the card, everyone goes around the circle and saying "never have I ever ___." Whoever has done the action must drink.|
|Queen||Questions||The player who drew the card starts by asking anyone a question. This player then asks anyone else a question. The first player who fails to ask a question must drink.|
|The player who drew the card becomes the question master. Whenever they ask a question, other players must also respond with questions or otherwise drink. This continues until another Queen is drawn, at which point that player becomes the question master.|
|King||King's Cup (+ Rules)||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. In some variations, the first three people to pick a King card can also make a rule that must be followed until the next King is picked. Some common rules include Buffalo (must always use left hand), Thumbs (player puts their thumb on the table silently, last person to follow suit drinks), Drink Drank Drunk (no one can say any version of the word "drink"), In bed (everyone has to say "in bed" after every sentence), and Teeth (players can't show their teeth when they laugh).|
Ring of Fire
In the "Ring of Fire" version of the game, a can of beer (or other alcoholic beverage) is placed in the center of the ring of cards. Players "discard" cards by sliding them under the beer tab. The player who pops the beer tab must drink the whole can. That signals the end of the round, and another can is placed in the middle to continue the game.
If by drawing a card a player creates a gap in the circle of cards, they must finish their own drink.
Variations and other rules
Like almost all other drinking games, Kings has endless variations of rules, and individual drinking groups usually have their own set of card effects. There will be similar rules, but there will most likely always be some that some players have never encountered before. Some games specify that playing a certain card allows that player to make up a new rule which lasts for the remainder of the game.
A major variation in the US, 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).
A popular variation in Australia is the Smoko or Toilet Card replacing Give Two Take Two. In this version, a player needs to possess a Smoko Card to leave the table to smoke or use the toilet. A player can have multiple copies of the card and they can be traded, typically under conditions such as; the recipient must refill drinks on demand, crawl for the rest of the game, talk in a funny voice, etc.
When drinking from bottles of beer, the discard can be placed on top of the beer with two corners of each card hanging off the edge. As this continues, it will begin to resemble a mushroom. Similar to the game Jenga, if the mushroom collapses, the person who last placed their card or was attempting to do so must drink the entire bottle. If all cards are successfully discarded without the mushroom collapsing, the last person to discard drinks the bottle, and others finish their drinks.
In Belgium the game is known as "Circle of Destruction" or "Hardcore Kings". In the beginning a pint is placed in the middle of the circle and everyone has to pour some of their drink in it, from now on this drink is referred to as "Witch's Brew".
|Ace||Safe||Everyone drinks but you.|
|2||Who||A round of spin the bottle is played.|
|3||Wanna fight me?||A match of arm wrestling is played with the player sitting on the opposite side of the circle, the loser drinks. A slap contest can also be played.|
|4||We're whores||Everyone has to take off one piece of clothing as fast as they can, last on to do so has to drink.|
|5||My life||You have to take a sip from every player's drink.|
|6||...tynine||The player who had sex the most recently drinks, the second time this card is drawn the player who had sex the second most recently drinks and so on...|
|7||Close to heaven||Do a body shot out of the belly button of your left-hand neighbour.|
|8||Mate||Choose a person to be your mate and they drink when you drink, and vice versa, for the rest of the game. If one of the mates draws another 8 card they chose another player and now all three have to drink. You can also merge two mated pairs this way. If all players of the game become mated, then all ties are cancelled.|
|9||Time to shine||You have to do 20 push ups, if you can't do it you have to drink the amount of sips you were short of 20.|
|10||Witch||You have to down the witch's brew. Afterwards the pint is refilled.|
|Jack||The Jack entertains||You have to do a credible and serious belly dance, for every minute you can pull this off you may choose another player who had to down their drink.|
|Queen||Mixer||Every player has to hand in his drink and you may reassign them to different players.|
|King||Rewind Time||You can use your rewind power one time to let someone do their assignment again.|
- LaBrie, JW; Ehret, PJ; Hummer, JF (2013). "Are they all the same? An exploratory, categorical analysis of drinking game types". Addict Behav. 38: 2133–9. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.12.002. PMC 3654653. PMID 23435275.
- "Ring of Fire Rules (With A Handy Infographic to Reference)". Let's Play A Drinking Game. April 19, 2020. Retrieved January 13, 2021.