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Circle of Death Drinking Game

If you’re looking for a fun drinking game for your next house party, Circle of Death is an exciting game that will get you and your friends drunk in no time! The Circle of Death card game is actually another name for Kings Cup.

In Circle of Death, all the cards have corresponding rules that players need to follow based on the specific card they pick. Most cards have rules that involve alcohol somehow, so players will end up drinking no matter what!

Tip: Playing Circle of Death is even more fun when the cards are waterproof. No more ruined games or soggy house rules! Check out this waterproof card deck on Amazon:

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Equipment for Circle of Death

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

How to Play Circle of Death

Players sit around a table or on the floor and put a large cup of beer on the center. The dealer will then spread out 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 more hilarious 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 basically consists of drawing a single card and then performing an action associated with that card, just like in Kings Cup.

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 break the circle, you’ll have to 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 IllustrationKing

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


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


Thumb Master: Drawing a Jack makes you the Thumb Master which means that once you put your thumb on the table at any time of your choosing, 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.


Categories: The player who picks a 10 card can choose a category wherein the other players will need to 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 have to come up with another beer brand until one cannot think of anymore. Whoever stops responding or takes too long to come up with an item in that category must drink:

  • Daniel: “Heineken!”
  • Lisa: “Coors!”
  • Nina: “Miller!”
  • And then Maria cannot think of a beer brand anymore. She drinks.


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

For example: Nina says, “I choose the word king”

  • Maria: “Spring!”
  • Daniel: “Ring!”
  • Lisa: “Sing!”
  • And then Nina cannot think of another rhyme. She drinks.


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 card is drawn. Here you go, bud!

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


For the Girls: All the female players must drink.


For the Boys: All the male players must drink.


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


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


You: Make someone at the table take a drink.


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 on playing or players are not drunk enough yet, 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! You will realize that although Circle of Death is basically the same as Kings Cup, some rules may be different. You can decide which rules to keep the same or change up a bit.

👉 Suggested read: Jenga as a Drinking Game: Rules and Label Ideas

Here are some Circle of Death Rule Ideas that you can try out 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.

Other Circle of Death Card Rules

We have already shared the more common Circle of Death rules above. Here are other rules that you can use to add more variety to your game! Feel free to get inspiration from these rules and make up your own! That will take your game to a whole new level!

Ace is “Slap your face”.

If you draw an ace, 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 card, all the players have to switch places with someone else. The last player seated drinks.

Three reverses the game direction.

If you draw a 3, the playing order is switched to the other direction.

🤓 Suggested read: Fuck the Dealer: Drinking Game Rules and Guide

Four is for dinosaurs.

If you draw a 4, you can draw a dinosaur on the face of another player. Use a washable marker please!

Five is for jive.

If you draw a 5, everyone must start to dance immediately. The last person to dance drinks.

Six is for quiz master.

If you draw a 6, you get to ask a trivia question. The player/s who give the wrong answer must drink.

Seven is for snake eyes.

If you draw a 7, you earn the power of snake eyes and any time you make a successful eye contact with another player, that player must drink.

Eight is for straight.

If you draw an 8, 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, 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 goes on. The first player who folds down all their fingers must drink.

Queen is for questions.

If you draw a Queen, 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.

Other Circle of Death King Rules

The King cards are always special. Here are other rules that you can use when you draw a King card. These will definitely give another twist to your game!

The King is a Table Slave

If you draw a King card, you become the table slave and must follow the orders of the other players. This can mean refilling the drinks or snacks every time it runs out. You will have to do this until a player picks another King card. Don’t take advantage of your king/table slave too much! You never know if you’re next!

The 4th King

The first three players with a King card add an item into the middle cup. This could be another drink or even snacks 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!

Circle of Death Play 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 to your phone so that you can play it anytime you want!

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Looking for some fun party games to liven up your next get-together? Check out our collection of 100+ party games for all ages!