How to play Circle of Death drinking card game  | Rules with Printables

Save to Favorites

No account yet? Register

Circle of Death is a drinking card game; a close variation on Kings Cup (aka Kings) and Ring of Fire.

The main difference is in the simplicity of the rules, Circle of Death has fewer rules but keeps the best!

Here are the most widely accepted Rules for Circle Of Death the drinking card game, including the BEST ‘New Rules’ to add!

Just need a reminder of the rules? Click on Image below.

Printable Version

Resources Required

  • 1 x Pack of Cards (ideally waterproof!)
  • 1 x Cup (ideally unbreakable)
  • Several players (4 – ~10)
  • Each player should have a drink of their choice (NB: they do not have to be the same drink!)


  • Set the Cup in the center of the table and spread the shuffled cards face down in a circle around it.
  • Each player gathers around the table with their chosen drink (and refills!)

OverView / General Play

One person starts by taking one card from the circle, taking care to ensure the circle of cards is NOT Broken (i.e the remaining cards need to be touching so there are no gaps in the circle), and then follows the rules (see below) for that card.

After following the rules for that card Play then continues to the next person around the table who then takes a card etc

Play continues until the last King Card is drawn.

CIRCLE OF DEATH: Rules for each Card.

  • Ace – is Waterfall You start drinking, then the next person in the circle starts drinking, and so on. You can only stop drinking when you finish your drink or the person before you stops. So once the card drawer stops, the next person can stop, and so on.
  • King – Make A Rule Make up a new rule or cancel an earlier rule. EVERYBODY has to follow for the rest of the game!
  • Queen – is Question Master You can ask ANY question to ANYBODY. If they answer then they ask a question to somebody else. If ANYBODY doesn’t answer a question or forgets to then ask a question they Drink.
  • Jack – Thumb Master, in their own time, this player places their Thumb on the table. All other players then race to also place their Thumb on the table, last player Drinks!
  • 10 – is Categories Pick a category (eg Countries) and then each player, in turn, has to say a word in that category (America). First player to stutter or fail, Drinks
  • 9 – is Rhyme Say a word (e.g. Rum) and then each player, in turn, has to say a word that rhymes (e.g. Drum). First player to stutter or fail, Drinks
  • 8 and all cards below! If the color is red, the player that drew the card drinks that number of drinks. If black, they give that number of drinks out to other players AND / OR to the Cup.
  • LAST KING – If your card is the last King, then you have to drink EVERYTHING in the CUP.
  • Breaking the Circle When a player removes a card if the remaining cards are not left touching each other, leaving a gap in the ‘circle’ around the Cup.

    They must then chug the entire contents of their drink.


A lot of the fun with this game comes with the additional rules that players can add. Obviously the standard forfeit is to drink!

We play that these ‘New Rules’ stay for the evening, not just for that round.

  • ONLY drink with your LEFT hand
  • Can’t refer to people by their FIRST NAME
  • If you POINT, then you and the person pointed at must drink (an alternative is if two players make eye contact)
  • You can ONLY point with your ELBOW
  • Only refer to yourself in the THIRD PERSON (e.g. Bob cant say “I want a beer” instead he must say “Bob wants a beer”
  • End every sentence by saying the last word TWICE. (TWICE!)
  • If you swear you have to put your FOREHEAD on the TABLE until somebody else swears!
  • Everyone picks an ANIMAL NOISE and must make it before each Drink. (often gets people multiple times in a row!)
  • T-REX – whenever anybody drinks they have to do it with stubby arms on their chest.
  • RENAMING another player (e.g. DADDY, DARLING, etc) anybody that forgets, drinks.
  • VIKING, Whenever someone holds their index fingers up by their forehead (to look like horns), everyone, once they see the horns, must make rowing motions and noises. The last person to notice and do the rowing must drink.
  • Undo your INVISIBLE SEATBELT whenever you get up. Back on when you sit down.
  • Triple D – DRUNK – DRANK- DRINK If you say any of these words, you d***k!


Just need a Quick Reminder of the Rules? Check Out our Cheat Sheets.

Click on Image to open as JPG
Printable Version

Similar Games: Kings Cup or Ring of Fire

Have we missed some of the best drinking rules?

Let us know and we will add them to our list!

Please remember to drink responsibly! This alcohol drinking game is not meant to lead to you becoming sick due to over-consumption of alcohol.

Leave a Comment