Admittedly we learned most of our drinking games in high school and college. So, years ago. And now that we’re no longer in school, the eight years we spent enriching our minds has removed us from playing drinking games every evening weekend.

That said, while our competitive drinking side has diminished, it hasn’t vanished. And when we play we usually fall back on the easier and fun ones that require little to no learning curve, such as Circle of Death.

It’s similar to Kings. In fact, it’s basically the same goddamn card game. The difference is the rules and what you assign the cards. If someone really cares and puts up a fight, they’re assholes. Why do you even hang out with them?

Otherwise,  players are required to draw a card and act according to the rules associated with that card.

All you need to play is

  • a can of beer
  • a middle cup
  • a deck of cards

Circle of Death Setup

Players sit in a circle with a cup of beer – often gross or super strong beer — in the middle of the circle. The deck of cards gets spread around the cup in a circle face-down. Someone begins the game by picking a card from the pile and turns continue counter-clockwise around the table.

Circle of Death Rules 

Each player draws a card and then executes the action associated with the card they selected. Here are the card rules:

  • King – Make a Rule
    The player can make one rule and have the ability to undo a rule put in place by a previous King. However, if you draw the fourth King, you must drink the middle cup.
  • Queen – Question Master
    Ask a question to any other player, who must ask another player a different question. The first person to not reply with a question or ask the person who asked them loses and must drink.
  • Jack – Never Have I Ever
    You are now the Thumb Master. This means that you can place your Thumb on the table at any time and all other players must race to do the same. The last player with his or her thumb on the table must drink. You remain Thumb master until someone else draws a Jack.
  • 10 – Categories
    The player states a category and everyone else must state items that fit into the category. The first player to respond with an irrelevant or repeated item drinks.
  • 9 – Rhyme
    Say a word. Everyone must find a rhyme. The first player to hesitate, answer incorrectly, or repeat a rhyme must drink.
  • 6-8
    If the card color is red, the player must drink. Otherwise, the player has the ability to give the drink to someone else. Or, the person who drew the card assigns that number of drinks (usually one drink equals one second) to someone sitting in the circle.
  • 2-5
    That player drinks that number of drinks.
  • Ace – Waterfall
    Everyone chugs their drink, and the drinking stops only when the person to their right stops, starting with the player that drew the Ace. Think of it like dominoes, but with a greater chance that someone will vomit.

The game stops when all the cards are drawn. If you didn’t puke from drinking the middle cup, play again.

Special Rules

House rules apply, so consider these if you’re hosting and playing Circle of Death:

  • If you break the circle of cards, chug your drink or take a shot.
  • If an eight is drawn, guys drink.
  • If a seven is drawn, women drink.


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