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If you’re looking for a fun drinking game for your next house party, “Circle of Death” will do the trick! Also known as King’s Cup, this fun drinking game involves a deck of cards and some creative rules to make your night more exciting.

In this guide, we’ll go through the basics of “Circle of Death”, including how to play and some additional rules you can add to spice up the game. So grab your drinks and try not to get too tipsy!

👉 In need of more card-drinking games? Follow this link and browse our collection of awesome drinking games with cards!

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Play “Circle of Death” Online

Don’t worry if you don’t have a deck of cards handy. You can play Kings Cup online instead. It’s perfect for video chat parties, too!

You can also download our free Kings Cup app on your phone to play it anytime you want!

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How to Play “Circle of Death”

Playing “Circle of Death” is easy, but it can get chaotic quickly. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A deck of cards
  • 1 large cup to be placed in the middle
  • Beer or any other alcoholic drink

Then, have all players sit around a table or on the floor and put a large cup of beer in the center. The dealer will then spread the entire deck of cards around the cup of beer.

The game starts once a player picks the first card and performs the action/rule for that card. The player to their left takes the next turn, and so on.

You can play the “Circle of Death” card game with two people, but it’s funnier when played with more people. To make your game more interesting, we recommend playing it with at least 4-7 people.

“Circle of Death” Rules

“Circle of Death” consists of drawing a single card and then performing an action associated with that card, just like in Waterfall or Ring of Fire. Aside from the rules for each card, there’s one main rule that you should always remember:

Don’t break the circle of cards! If you do, you’ll have to take a shot or drink beer!

Ready to play “Circle of Death”? Get your cards ready! Here are the rules for each card:

Circle of Death King Card Illustration King

Make a Rule: Whoever picks a King card can make a rule and undo any prior rules. Remember that if a player draws the 4th King card, they must drink the entire middle/death cup.

Circle of Death Queen Card Illustration Queen

Question Master: If you draw a Queen, you can ask one of the players a question. After the player answers, they must ask another player a different question. The questions go on until there is a player who is not able to respond with a question or answer. That player loses the round and must drink. Remember that you can’t return a question to the person who last asked you.

Circle of Death Jack Card Illustration Jack

Thumb Master: Drawing a Jack makes you the Thumb Master, which means that once you put your thumb on the table at any time you choose, all players must race to do the same. The last player to put their thumb on the table loses and must drink. You remain as the Thumb Master until a new Jack is drawn.

Circle of Death Ten Card Illustration Ten

Categories: The player who picks a 10 card can choose a category wherein the other players must state items that fit into the category.

For example: Anna says, “I choose the category beer brands and I start with Budweiser.”

Then, all the other players must come up with another beer brand until one cannot think of it anymore. Whoever stops responding or takes too long to come up with an item in that category must drink:

For example: Daniel says, “Heineken!” Then, Maria cannot think of a beer brand anymore. She drinks.

Circle of Death Nine Card Illustration Nine

Rhyme: Say a word that everyone must take turns giving a word that rhymes with the word that you mentioned. The first person who fails to give a rhyming word or repeats a word must drink.

For example: Nina says, “I choose the word king.” Maria says, “Spring!” Then, Nina cannot think of another rhyme. She drinks.

Circle of Death Eight Card Illustration Eight

Drinking Mate: Choose a player to be your drinking mate. Your mate drinks whenever you drink for the rest of the game or until another 8 cards are drawn. Here you go, bud!

Circle of Death Seven Card Illustration Seven

Heaven: Once a 7 card is drawn, all the players must put their hands in the air simultaneously. The last player to do so must drink. Make sure to raise the roof fast!

Circle of Death Six Card Illustration Six

For the Girls: All the female players must drink.

Circle of Death Five Card Illustration Five

For the Boys: All the male players must drink.

Circle of Death Four Card Illustration Four

Floor: Once a 4 card is shown, all the players must touch the table or the actual floor with their hands. The last player to do so must drink.

Circle of Death Three Card Illustration Three

Me: The player who draws this card has to take a drink.

Circle of Death Two Card Illustration Two

You: Make someone at the table take a drink.

Circle of Death Ace Card Illustration Ace

Waterfall: When an Ace card is drawn, everyone waterfalls (chugs their drink after the person to their right starts chugging in domino fashion and can’t stop until the same person to their right stops), starting with the player that drew the Ace.

The game ends when all cards are drawn.

If you want to keep playing or players are not drunk enough, just shuffle all the cards and play another round of “Circle of Death”. You can also give Kings Cup a try!

Bonus: “Circle of Death” Rules Ideas

What makes “Circle of Death” a great party drinking game is that you can come up with all sorts of alternative rules to make your game more exciting! Here are some “Circle of Death” rule ideas you can try to create your own version of Circe of Death!

Red and Black

When you draw a card from two to eight, you either drink or make another player drink based on the color of the card that you picked.

If the card is black, you drink for the number of seconds based on the number in the card.

If the card is red, you pick another player who must drink for the number of seconds based on the number in the card.

For example: If you pick a six of hearts card, you get to pick another player who must drink from the middle cup for six seconds.

Ace is “Slap your face”.

If you draw an ace in “Circle of Death”, the remaining players must race to slap your face. The last one to do so takes a drink.

Two means shuffle.

If you draw a 2 in “Circle of Death”, all players must switch places with someone else. The last player seated drinks.

Three reverses the game direction.

If you draw a 3 “Circle of Death”, the playing order is switched to the other direction.

Four is for dinosaurs.

If you draw a 4 “Circle of Death”, you can draw a dinosaur on another player’s face. Use a washable marker, please!

Five is for jive.

If you draw a 5 “Circle of Death”, everyone must start to dance immediately. The last person to dance drinks.

Six is for quiz master.

If you draw a 6 “Circle of Death”, you get to ask a trivia question. The player/s who gives the wrong answer must drink.

Seven is for snake eyes.

If you draw a 7 “Circle of Death”, you earn the power of snake eyes. Any time you make successful eye contact with another player, that player must drink.

Eight is for straight.

If you draw an 8 “Circle of Death”, you must drink a straight shot of any alcoholic beverage. (Vodka or tequila will do!) You must drink it “straight” without a mixer or glass of water.

Nine is for “Draw again.”

If you draw a 9 “Circle of Death”, you need to pick another card and follow the rule of the 2nd card you drew.

Ten is for social.

Everyone drinks!

Jack is Never Have I Ever.

If you draw a Jack, you get to play a quick game of Never Have I Ever. All the remaining players must hold up three fingers. You state “Never have I ever…” and add an action that you think the other players have never done.

If there are players that have done the action that you mentioned, they need to fold down a finger. The player to your right then gives the next statement, and the game continues. The first player who folds down all their fingers must drink.

Queen is for questions.

If you draw a Queen “Circle of Death”, you must answer a question from each player. If you fail to answer a question, you must take a drink. If you answer every question, everyone else must drink instead.

The 4th King

The first three players with a King card add an item to the middle cup. This could be another drink or even a snack like candy.

The player that draws the 4th King card has to drink the death cup with all the “gifts” from the other kings! Eww is right! Don’t make the concoction too gross!

With its simple rules and rotating action, “Circle of Death” is a great way to start your party. Whether you enjoy beers with friends or shots around the campfire, this classic game can liven up any gathering.

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