Kings Cup: Rules, Variations, and Next Level Tactics to OUTSMART Your Opponents

in #games6 years ago (edited)

Bookmark this article for your next party and get ready to dominate! I will be covering the game of all drinking games called the Circle of Death, Ring of Fire, or best known as King's Cup. Depending on the size and skill level of your participants, there are different rules that you'll want to try, to maximize the fun, confusion and drunkeness of your late night party guests.

This is the most comprehensive guide on the internet, and also covers several strategies and dirty tactics all in the sake of good fun, to make your game unforgettable, and helping you come out on top!


  • Requirements
  • How to Play
  • Why I Made This Guide
  • Card Rules and Variations
  • The Rule I Don't Play
  • Strategies and Dirty Tatics to Get Everyone Too Drunk Before You Lose


For anyone not familiar with this game, King's Cup is the ultimate drinking party game that will push limits, challenge your wits, and hopefully get everyone wasted drunk!


  • Card Decks: 1 or 2
  • Players: 4+
  • An Empty Cup

How to Play

Going in a circle, each player grabs a random card from a face down spread (all cards touching, or in circle all cards touching) or scramble of the cards on their turn. Each value is assigned a "rule" that must be performed by the designated players, before the next player's turn to draw a card. This continues until, the 4th king is drawn, or everyone is too plastered to continue (see strategy guide below). Everyone wins except the person who draws the 4th king, thus drinking the "king's cup."

Why Make A Guide

for such a well-known game? The details are a lot less known than I initially thought. I was invited to a party recently with hopes that I would play and help teach others others how to play this game, as I play it often with various groups of friends. Along with my competitive nature, I like to take King's cup to a mental level and have a great time. I'm not an expert, but I play enough to feel that a strategy guide like this is needed. Not only to explain the game, but the different ways you can play it, including how to drink the least. Let's go on an adventure!


Different people play with different rules, making no two games ever exactly alike. Adapting to new rules on the fly is what gives this game it's surprise and allure. I will not list every rule in existence, but most of them are in here, along with variants, and some of my personal favorites that are lesser known, or I have come by through in experience.

Before starting a game, always agree on which rules will be used.


This rule is consistent in almost every game. Point to someone in the circle and that person drinks.

3 IS ME:
Sucks to be you. Pick up your own glass and drink.

Last player to touch the floor with their hands after this card is drawn, drinks. (When playing this rule, 5 must be guys, and 6 is chicks. Use this rule for inexperienced/new players)


Any female, or person that identifies as female must drink. (When playing this rule, 5 is a variation rule,and 6 is dicks. Recommended for advanced players)

If you decided to use the floor rule for 4 in your game, 5 is for any male or person identifying as male to drink.

5: Variation Rules/Mini Games

Depending on how insane you want to get, you can do any one of these for when a 5 is drawn. Drive is my favorite!

The person who draws this card must do any one dance move, or drink. (Good icebreaker for new players)


The person who draws this card does any one dance move. The next player must do their dance move, then add a different move to the sequence. The following player does the other dance moves in order, then adds their own. The first person to break this chain drinks. (Playing with this rule will make people rage, but can be quite hilarious)


The player who draws this card holds up an imaginary steering wheel. Choosing either left or right when starting, they turn the wheel and say "VROOM". The next player the wheel is turned to holds up their own imaginary steering wheel, and can either keep the same turning direction while saying "VROOM", or can reverse the play direction, turning the wheel the other way, and say "SKRRT."

Sounds easy, but it's not. (Use this rule if everyone in your game thinks they're pro! Has a similar confusion rating as the hardest drinking game "Fuzzy Duck" and will mind &#@^ players) In all of my party shananigans I have seen this rule once and it was challenging yet mesmerizing!

If your team went with 4 is floor, Any female or person identifying as female must drink when this card is drawn.


If you instead chose 4 is whores with a variation rule for 5, you are a bunch of dicks. Guys drink.

Consistent rule. When this card is drawn, the last person to put both hands in the air (to the heavens) drinks.

Did you draw this card? Choose your best friend or your enemy. Everytime you drink, they drink too, until another 8 is drawn. (Depending on player number, next time mate is drawn, you can negate the last one, or have them stack!)

The player who draws this card says any one word that comes to mind, and the next player must say a word that rhymes with it. This repeats through the circle until the chain is broken. The player who breaks the chain first drinks. You must say real words!

The more common option. The player who draws this card chooses a category. (Examples: beers, fruits, video games) Starting with the player to draw the card, each person in turn says an item from the chosen category. The first player to repeat an item or take too long to answer drinks.


Be careful! Whoever draws this card makes a rule, which persists until the end of the game. These rules also stack on one another. Best rules are easy to remember. (Examples: anyone who curses drinks, you must remove the little man from you cup before drinking) This rule should be used when all players are experienced, for maximum effect. Failure to follow the new rule results in drinking.

Everyone holds up 3 fingers. The player who draws this card starts by saying; "Never have I ever..." ending the sentence with somthing they have never done before, but suspects another player did (Examples: never have I ever... had a dog for a pet, never have I ever... travelled out of country). Each person gets to say one for their turn. Each time someone says something that YOU did, put a finger down. First one to have all fingers down drinks.

Taking a lesson from Who's Line, the player to draw this card becomes the question master. Whenever they ask a question, you must respond with a question back. Answering with a statement means you drink. You can end it at the first person to fail, but it's common for the question master rule to persist, until another queen is drawn by the new question master.

The player to draw this card picks up their glass/cup/bottle and begins drinking. The next person is only allowed to start when the person before them starts. When the first person stops, the next person can stop. The following players are only allowed to stop when the player before them does. Think wave.

The main card is listed last. The player to draw a King pours a portion of their beverage into the cup at the center of the table. Other varitions of this (heaven forbid spit) include; adding a snack you are munching on, candy, french fry, part of your sandwich...) the first Three Kings adds an item into the cup. The game ends when the last king is drawn, finishing with that player drinking down this "king cup's" contents. Ew.

Fear of drawing the 4th King is why most people don't want to play this game.

I Don't Play Thumb Master

Being a more subtle version, depending on which rules you are using, one of the cards will be deignated as "thumb master". The player to draw this card puts their thumb down at the edge of the table. The last person to do this motion drinks. This rule is a huge cop out when considering that other rules like floor and heaven already exist. However, if you want to play this sneaky rule, it's here.


Dick Moves, Aggressive Plays, and Insane Strategies

The goal here is like Monopoly, you want to win before the game ends.


If you draw this card more than once in the same game, choosing a different person is a safe option to prevent other players from singling you out, but choosing the same person early on in the game is more fun, and could possibly gain you allies.

3 IS ME:
No escape. Hesitating to take this drink sets you up as an "easy target" later on in the game.

Never announce this card, just slam your hands on the floor. Doing this makes you look like you know what you're doing, and appear like a strong player who knows the game well.

No escape. Sorry honey.

Embarassing dances moves or twerking is highly encouraged. You'll be a good sport and someone will end up being too ashamed to follow.

If you choose SKRRT everytime it reaches your turn by sending it back to the person who sent it to you, someone else will eventually mess up. Alternatively, if you are starting, always choose VROOM to the next player. Someone will always try to outplay everyone else and screw up in the process!

No escape. Accept your fate.

Never announce this card, and just throw your hands in the air!

Choose the strongest player to ensure you drink less, or start losing on purpose to take someone down with you! However, if your rules allow for this rule to stack, you may want to choose the same person twice. Each time you drink, your mate drinks 2!

Oh boy, let me tell you a story of how I BS'd my way into passing this round one time. The player was a smart @&# and chose a difficult starting word; "sheriff." This is a good word to screw people with. I was next, panicked and said tariff, causing the whole game to stop.

They called my bluff, and everyone was laughing; "That's not a real word!"

To get out of losing a rhyme battle, say something that rhymes with the previous word, whether or not you are sure it's a word. You might learn a new word lol. Rule #1 of drinking games; If you get caught in a lie, lie harder. I was like; "of course it's a word!"

"What does it mean then?"

"I don't know, but it's a word... Look it up!"

The player pulled out his phone to Google it. "How do you spell it?"

"Uhhh... T... (everyone knew I was straight up lying at this point) A...R...I...F...F...?"

Boom, and just like that I became the game MVP for pulling words out of thin air. A tarrif is a type of tax that is paid on imports and exports. I learned something new AND didn't have to drink. Claim it, spell it, and look it up!

A lot of people do this one wrong, and try to think of the most obscure answer that nobody else would say. Because of this, weird answers are more common. It is also easier to think of many simple answers instead of one complex backup.

In my last game, the category was fruits. When it got to my turn I said banana, to illiminate this answer early and start scaling up to harder choices. Everyone laughed like it was the hardest thing I could choose. When it got back to my turn, I said dragon fruit and my boyfriend lost it. He was reserving this answer as his trump card and with so much focus, couldn't think of an easy fruit to say instead.

This rule's effectiveness relies soley on the creativity of the player making it. A good rule will make you an expert that other players will not want to mess with, in case you draw this card again in the same game. This rule is omnipotent and persists until the game's end, and can be the most difficult choice to make overall.

Aside from the previous examples given above, this rule can negate or otherwise append any other rule in the game. You can relieve the question master of their duties, change someone's gender, assign two people as mates, change the gestures for floor/heaven, and even pass the 4th king to a different player if you draw it (do this as last rule only when a low number of cards are left c;). You can add a gesture before rules, or change the way everyone talks.

What is most misunderstood when making rules, is overcomplicating things. You need this rule to be able to be performed and easy for other players to understand. By trying to make up an extremely wacky rule, you miss out opportunities to put a game changer in place. If you are making a rule to drink less instead of making people drink more, you will be targeted.

The questions you choose to ask here can make you a bunch of allies that will team up with you to get someone else black out drunk instead of you. This can work one of two ways. The dick way is to make a call back to something extremely stupid that your friend has done recently and acknowledges as such. It is ideal that the rest of the group who is playing already knows about it. A well placed too soon joke will make you look like a savage, AND the focus is now on your friend, not you. A burn so bad, no one even thinks of challenging you.

The second fan-service method is to target something interesting another player has done or accomplished. I once said, "Never have I ever been a Nintendo game streamer on Twitch." That's pretty cool, and isn't something this person brags about. Making another player feel appreciated can easily gain you an ally, and take your friendship to new heights.

A less agressive method is to attempt at taking down as many people you can with a single question. This is also a good power play. "Never have I ever been a chef." Everyone's fingers go down so fast.

Spacing out, and timing questions is key to continously catching players off guard. Being stealthy with questions takes work, but an experienced question master can get any player of their choosing down.

Ask relevant questions that sound normal to ask that other players would ask. When play slows down ask; "Who's next?" Shamelessly ask what rules mean, and always target the same person for maximum laughs.

Also, there is NO RULE where you as question master must respond with another question. Experienced players use this to trap victims in a "question game", only increasing pressure on the target until they lose. In fact, they don't even have to respond to the questions asked in the first place. Question master is a scary role, because everyone falls for it.

Also known as waterfall. The shady way to try to get out of this is to "pretend to drink". You'll look like a sore loser, and everyone will target you. To thrwart suspicion, tilt your glass/cup/bottle at a decent angle and slowly drink it. If an Ace wasn't pulled in a while, take larger gulps so that when it does come up, you'll have half or less of your drink. However, if there is too little, the game will pause so you can get a refill.

Walk into every game thinking you will draw the last king and have to drink the dreaded cup. If you come in too cocky and add something you can't stomach, then proceed to draw the last king and don't drink... You will be bigger loser than simply losing the game.

In one of my recent games, I drew the first AND second king. Naturally you'd think I'd add really gross liquids into the king's cup. No way. On my first go, I added some plum wine I was drinking. The second time, I poured some of my energy drink in, then asked if I could add something else in, and added a chicken nugget from the ones I was already eating for good measure.

What are the odds? I pulled the last king. Without hesitating, I poured the rest of my energy drink in, and almost finished the glass, but lost when I tasted the beer another player added. ~cue gagging~ I was looking forward to the nugget too.

What I can tell you is that energy drinks mitigate the other liquids and their tastes to a good degree, but I messed up by drinking plum wine instead of beer, otherwise the brass monkey would have been reasonable.

You can add more suspense by adding his rule. To play, make sure all the cards are touching in the spread when the game starts. Any player that disconnects any cards so that they longer longer touch, drinks.


I am in no way responsible for any shenanigans/ fisticuffs that may spawn from following any of the rules or strategies detailed in this guide. Play at your own risk, but most importantly...

Have fun!




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