Circle of Death Rules

Circle of Death is one of the oldest, and grandest, drinking games in existence today. This game started in basements of frat houses and spread like a wildfire, engulfing anyone who had a deck of cards and a desire to drink. Circle of death is for those that drink, those that do, and those that win. If you’re a winner, keep reading our circle of death rules.

The Circle of Death rules are simple enough, but there are some variations. This guide will help you to understand one of the most important drinking games ever made. If you haven’t played before, you’re missing out and we’re seriously doubting your drinking abilities. Whether you need a touch up, a full king’s rule list, or just some variations on how to play, this guide will provide you with whatever you need. There is little debate that the game has been around since drinking games first started, but there is debate to where it started. There’s actually hardly any information on the origins of the king’s drinking game. If you figure it out, let us know.

Circle of Death Rules:

Begin by placing a large mug in the middle of the table. All players sit around the table. Remind people to stay focused. This game plays a lot better when people aren’t chatting about their new puppies or constantly snap chatting their friends. Focus on what you’re doing instead of diverting your attention to twenty different things.

Take a deck of 52 cards and spread them out, face-down, so all cards are touching and circling the mug in the middle of the table. You will be pulling cards from this in a clockwise fashion.

This game is played with beer. Use light beer, even if you think you think you’re a big drinker. Circle of Death will bite you in the ass if you get cocky and try to play with an IPA. Bud Light/Coors Light works great.

Each card pulled has a specific value or action that everyone must follow throughout the game.

The game ends when someone pulls the fourth king. For each king pulled, the puller must pour a portion of their beer into the mug in the middle. Whoever pulls the fourth king must drink the mug.


Make a rule. You’re in control.

  • Examples of rules:
    • No cussing.
    • No pointing.
    • You must drink with your left hand.
  • Need inspiration? This post from Reddit will have you busting up all night.


Two is you, meaning that you choose someone to drink. Choose anyone in the game and tell them to drink.


Three is me. If you pulled the card you drink.


Four is whores. All the chicks drink.


Jive or Drive. This one is a little up to interpretation. Some people play jive and others play drive.

  • Jive: Do a dance move of some sort or an action. Pull your ears and jump out of your chair. The person next to you has to mimic what you’ve done and add onto it. The next person must mimic the first action, then the second come up with their own. And so on until someone makes a mistake. Whoever makes the mistake must drink.
  • Drive: Drive is a lot harder than Jive. If you haven’t played before, you may want to read carefully or ask someone who has. This is harder to explain. Everyone must start their engines when the card is pulled and the card puller must choose which to direction to drive. When you start your engine, point both thumbs in the air like a hitchhiker. The card puller must then say “vrooom” and point to the left or right. This means turning both thumbs to either the right or the left. Whoever is pointed at must then continue driving with traffic by “vrooming” or by changing the direction of the drive by braking and yelling a screech. It gets confusing as it starts moving faster. If you reverse the flow of traffic and say “vroom” then you lose. If you say screech your brakes but continue the flow of traffic, you lose as well.


Six is dicks. All the dudes drink. Cheers before.


Seven is heaven. As soon as the card is pulled, everyone must point to the ceiling, the last one to do so loses.


Pick a mate. When you drink they do too.


Bust a rhyme. Come up with a phrase or a word and everyone must rhyme with the last word. When someone fails to come up with something (in a timely manner), they lose and must drink.


Categories. Choose something like “types of cars” or “countries in Asia.” As long as there are a lot of options, the category will work. More unique ones make this game more fun. If you fail to come up with something, drink.


Jack is back. The last person, or group of people, who drank last drink again.


Questions. Ask anyone a question. Make it rude or vulgar and it’s more fun. If anyone laughs after being asked a question, they lose. If someone answers with a statement and not a question, drink up.


The last king pulled must drink the mug. The first three pour a part of their beer into mug. Chug this shit quick.

That’s it. The rules to Circle of Death. Have questions? Contact us via our contact us page. If you’re looking for the King’s Cup Rules, we have those as well. (WARNING: That game is very similar.)

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