Circle of death

From DrinkiWiki

Circle of Death, also known as Ring of Fire, is a drinking game similar to Kings in which a deck of cards is spread around a can in the middle of a table and players draw cards in order, each card having a specific value or meaning.

Set up

Before starting the game, players must gather around a table and place an empty can in the center. A standard deck of cards is then shuffled and spread face down, in a circle around the can, forming the "Circle of Death".

Game play

The game starts when the first player draws a card and places it face up on top of the center can. The player then completes the action defined by the card he drew before the player to his left draws another card. The game continues around the table in this fashion until all cards are drawn.


Each card number has a specific action associated with it. When a player draws a card, he or she does the following:

"X drinks" used below can mean to drink constantly for X seconds or to drink X ounces of beer.

Two through Five
The player drinks that number of drinks.
Six through Eight
The player gives out that number of drinks to other players. This number may be divided up between players.
Rhyme Time (also know as 'nine, nine, bust a rhyme') - The player says any simple, often one-syllable word. Players then go in order around the table saying words that rhyme with the original one. This continues until a player cannot think of a new word or repeats a word that has already been said. It can also be played by rhyming phrases instead of words, with hilarious results.
Rule - The player who has drawn the ten is now the Rule Master. He or she creates a rule that all players must follow for the remainder of the game. Any player who breaks the rule must drink. Many possible rules can be found in the International Drinking Rules. Popular ones include outlawing the use of players' first names or the words "drink", "drank", and "drunk".
Gestures - The player who has drawn the jack is now the Gesture Master. He or she creates a simple gesture that all players must mimic whenever it is made by the Gesture Master. The last player to follow suit and mimic the gesture must drink. The player remains Gesture Master until another player draws a jack, at which point he or she becomes Gesture Master and creates a new gesture. Popular gestures include placing one's thumb on the edge of the table or crossing one's arms. The position of Gesture Master can also be referred to as Thumb Master, in which case placing one's thumb on the edge of the table is the only acceptable gesture.
Question Master - The player who has drawn the queen is now the Question Master. Anytime that a player answers a question asked by the Question Master, he or she must drink. The Question Master may ask as many questions as he or she wants, and is encouraged to trick people into answering his or her questions. The player remains Question Master until the next queen is drawn, at which point that player becomes the new Question Master.
Categories - The player who has drawn a king creates a general category, then players must list items that fit into the chosen category. For example, a player could choose the category "Candy Bars". He or she then starts the list by naming a specific candy bar. The other players then go around the table naming other candy bars. This continues until a player fails to name a new candy bar or names one that has already been said, at which point he or she drinks.
Waterfall - The player who has drawn an ace starts a Waterfall. The direction of the Waterfall is chosen by the player who drew the ace, then all players start drinking at the same time. The player who drew the ace is the first to stop drinking. When he or she stops, the first player in the direction of the Waterfall is allowed to stop drinking. When that player stops, the player sitting next to them is allowed to stop, and so on until all players have stopped drinking.
  • There are several ways to choose the direction of the Waterfall:
The Waterfall travels in the direction of the flow of the game (usually clockwise).
The player who drew the ace selects the order of the Waterfall.
The player who drew the ace asks a question which the players on either side of him or her must answer. The Waterfall travels in the direction of the player who answers first.
Other Rules
  • A solid ring of cards must be maintained around the center can at all times throughout the game. When a player breaks the chain of cards, he or she must drink.
  • If a player knocks the cards off the top of the center can when placing his or her card on top, he or she must drink.


There are some rule variations to Circle of Death:

  • Red and Black - Instead of the rules for numbers two through five and six through eight, some players prefer to use the rule called Red and Black. When any card between two and eight is drawn, the player either drinks or gives out that number of drinks, based on the color of the card. If the card is black, the player drinks that number, if it is red, he or she gives out that number
  • When a nine is drawn for Rhyme Time, players must create complete sentences that end with words rhyming with the original.
  • Two Corners - When placing a card on top of the center can, the player must leave at least two of the corners of his or her card off of the pile of cards. This makes it more difficult to balance the stack of cards and leads to more players knocking the stack over.
  • Crack It - When finished with a card, it is stuck underneath the tab of an unopened beer in the center of the table. The person to "crack it" drinks the whole beer.
  • Lewis 418 Rules - Ace Waterfall King Categories-4 drinks Queen Questions-4 drinks Jack Rules-call drinks 10 Sentence-3 drinks 9 Rhyme-2drinks 8 Spread it-spread 7 Heaven-Everyone get one 6 Dick-All guys get 1 5 Take 5-% drinks for you 4 whores-All girls drink 3 Free Drinks-Take a drink from anywhere in the rule 2 shoes-last to take their shoes off drinks 2
  • Duke University Rules (Duke University, Durham, NC)

2 = You (choose someone to drink)
3 = Me (you drink)
4 = Whores (women drink)
5 = Never have I ever (Play the game "Never have I ever" with either a given number of fingers (often 5) or one rotation)
6 = Dicks (men drink)
7 = Heaven (all point up, last one drinks)
8 = Social (everybody drinks)
9 = Bust a rhyme (the player who draws the card says a phrase and each person to the left says a phrase that rhymes until one player breaks the rhyme and drinks)
10 = Categories
J = Waterfall
Q = Questions (The person who draws asks another player a question, who, in turn, must then straightaway ask a different player a completely unrelated question and so on til someone misses and then drinks)
K = King's cup (The first three players to draw a king pour a portion of his/her beer into a communal cup, and the player who draws the fourth king drinks it)
Ace = Make a rule

  • While these rules are followed by many Duke students there are often variations on 5, 8, J, K, A
  • Weerona Rules (University of Wollongong college, Australia) (Also the official rules of Appalachian State University Students)

2 = you (choose someone to drink)
3 = me (you drink)
4 = floor (all touch floor, last one drinks)
5 = guys (all males drink)
6 = chicks (all females drink)
7 = heaven (all point up, last one drinks)
8 = pick-a-mate/date (choose someone to drink with you)
9 = rhyme (word or phrase)
10 = categories
J = never ever (go round circle saying 'never have i ever (done some random thing)' anyone who has done this particular thing puts up a finger. three fingers up = drink and must tell the story of the action)
Q = question (you ask someone a question. they must then straightaway ask someone else a completely unrelated question and so on til someone misses and then drinks)
K = drinking rule (popular rules are 'the little green man', thumb master, no names/pointing and the 3d rule (can't say drink/drank/drunk)
Ace = waterfall/cascade (direction chosen by you)
Joker = By default acts as a King or an Ace, but may take on the role of any card.

University of Otago (New Zealand) Circle of Death - one of many versions

2 = Nominate two drinks
3 = Nominate three drinks. You can nominate these three drinks in any way you please.
4 = I have Never. The card drawer says something they have never done. If you have done it, you drink.
5 = Rhyme Card. Drawer picks a word. Everyone in the circle must say a word that rhymes.
6 = A Ship Came Into The Harbour. Drawer begins with a A ship Cam Into The Harbour carrying a shitload of ____" Everyone else must name brands of that particular item.
7 = Quizmaster. The drawer asks a trivia question. Anyone who doesn't know the answer must drink.
8 = Toilet Card. The toilet Card allows you to use the toilet at any time of your choosing. You may not use the bathroom until you get a toilet card, unless it is between games.
9 = Song Card. The drawer starts singing a song, and the last person to join in drinks.
10 = Thumb Master.
J = Snake Eyes. The card is removed from the circle and the anyone who makes direct eye contact with the holder must drink.
Q = Question Master. This person tries to get people to anser their question. If you answer their question, you must drink.
K = Vessel card. The first three Kings drawn add to the bowl in the middle from their drink. The last King drawn must drink the entire vessel.
Ace = waterfall/cascade (direction chosen by you)
Joker = Strip Card. The Joker must remove their pants and scull their entire vessel.

Any extra cards as a result of playing with 500 packs are deemed as 'strip' cards, and everyone must drink, and then remove one item of clothing.

Needler Rules

Note that some of the precise details have become obscured over time, therefore the roles of cards 6, 7 and 10 may be switched. These are, however, blatantly the best rules for this game. Drinks in this variant are always measured in fingers.

  • 2-5 (Black) - Drink 2-5 drinks
  • 2-5 (Red) - Nominate 2-5 drinks
  • 6 - New Game - person must devise a drinking game within the drinking game, generally involving going around the circle saying something or performing a certain action until someone fucks up, at which point they have to drink
  • 7 - Question Master - all questions asked by holder of this card must be answered with "fuck off, Mr. Question Master" followed by the answer to the question - question master is deposed by the drawing of a subsequent 7
  • 8 - Toilet Card - must hold this card to go to the toilet
  • 9 - Waterfall
  • 10 - New Topic - same as "categories" above
  • J - Males Drink
  • Q - Females Drink
  • K - First three kings add to pint glass in centre, fourth king has to drink it
  • A - Thumb Master + New Rule