The Rules for Circle of Death Card Game

The Circle of Death, also known as the Kings Cup or Ring of Fire, is a popular drinking game to play with a standard 52-card deck and 2–8+ players. To play the game, mix up the cards, and all players sit in a circle with them in the center of the table. The first player then draws a card and follows the activity linked to the corresponding card. This means that every card has a specific rule or action associated with the one it represents.

Circle of Death Card Game
The Rules for Circle of Death Card Game 3

Rules for Circle of Death Card Game

When starting the game, the dealer of death distributes the cards clockwise and face up, starting with the player on their left. On each player’s turn, they must play at least two cards, but they can play more if they wish. After their turn, players draw back up to their starting hand size.

When the draw pile is empty, players continue playing with the cards in their hands, but only need to play one card per turn. If a player runs out of cards, the other players continue playing without them, but they still share in the victory or defeat. The game involves various activities associated with different cards, like when a player draws an Ace, they start drinking, and everyone in the circle follows suit, but the person to their left or right can’t stop drinking until the person before them is finished.

Rules for Circle of Death Card Game
The Rules for Circle of Death Card Game 4

Similarly, drawing a King requires the player to say something they’ve never done, and anyone who has done that thing must drink. Other cards, such as Queen, Jack, and numbered cards, also have specific rules or actions associated with them.

The Circle of Death Cards Rules

In this game, each card in the deck corresponds to a specific action, when these cards are played players must follow the given rules, and they can introduce their own rules. Here Circle of Death rules for cards in the game:

  • Ace (Waterfall): When Ace is picked up, everyone starts drinking, and no one can stop until the person to their right has stopped.
  • 2 (You): The player who picked up the card will select someone to take a drink.
  • 3 (Me): The player who has drawn the card is forced to take a drink.
  • 4 (Floor): All players must touch the floor, and the last one to do so gets a drink.
  • 5 (Guys): All the men take a drink.
  • 6 (Chicks): All the ladies take a drink.
  • 7 (Heaven): All players reach for the sky, and the last one must take a drink.
  • 8 (Mate): The player picks a mate who must drink every time they drink, and vice versa.
  • 9 (Rhyme): The player speaks a word, and everyone else must say words that rhyme.
  • 10 (Categories): The player picks a category, and everyone must name something that fits into the chosen category.
  • Jack (Thumb Master): The player who plays Jack becomes the Thumb Master. They can place their thumb on the table at any time, and the last person to place their thumb must drink.
  • Queen (Question Master): The player who plays Queen becomes the Question Master. After they ask a question and someone answers instead of responding with another question, that person must drink.
  • King (Make a Rule): The player makes a rule that everyone must follow until the next King is drawn. The person who draws the fourth King must drink the entire middle cup.


Additionally, the game includes categories where the player who draws a specific card must start a category, and players take turns naming things that fit into that category. During a match, if a player fails to name a subject or repeats a word that has already been said, they must drink. The game continues until all cards have been drawn, and the last person to draw a card must finish their drink, signifying the end of the game.


The winner of the game is often determined by the completion of the circle of cards, and the player who draws the final card is typically required to finish their drink. Players can establish house rules and variations to customize the game according to their preferences and play style.

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