Kings Cup, otherwise known as King’s Cup, Kings or Ring of Fire, is a popular college party game that has no standardized set of rules, which only adds to the fun.
Kings Cup Rules
King’s cup is generally played as a game in which the participants can alter to rules to make it more interesting. However, there are some basic ground rules that most games adhere too.
To start off, you need a deck of shuffled cards and a big pitcher (aka the king’s cup), which is placed in the middle of a table. After someone shuffles the deck, the cards must be fanned out around the pitcher. At this point, the card tasks (aka the rules) must be agreed upon by all participants. Here is an example of each card’s corresponding task:
Ace → Waterfall – Each player drinks until the person to the left of them stops drinking. The person who chose the card (the drawer) gets to stop first, then the person to their left, etc.
2 → A drink with Sue – The drawer must hand a drink to a female participant of their choice who will then take a sip.
3 → Thee for me – The drawer takes a sip.
4 → Drink some more – The drawer nominates someone to take a sip with them.
5 → Everybody dive – Everyone must put both of their hands on the ground. The last person to get on all fours must take a sip.
6 → Add to the mix – The drawer chooses a participant’s drink and pours it into the king’s cup.
7 → Heaven – The last participant to raise their hand must take a sip.
8 → Mate – Any couples playing the game must both take a sip.
9 → Nine’s a crime – Any participant who has ever been arrested must take a sip.
10 → Hens run the den – All of the male participants must take a sip.
Jack → To the max – The drawer must empty their drink into the king’s cup.
Queen → Don’t be seen – The first person who the drawer makes eye contact with (after drawing the jack) must take a sip.
King → Each drawer of the first three kings adds their drink to the king’s cup. The fourth drawer must consume a big gulp from the king’s cup.
The gameplay is simple. Everyone gathers around the table. Each player can choose whatever drink they want for their own cup. The host starts by flipping over the first card of their choice (which will remained flipped over until the game is over): Once the corresponding task is completed, a new round starts with the person to their left. Important note: The person who draws the card must simply flip it over so everyone has the chance to react at the same time, if needed.
Each player is free to choose whichever unflipped card they want during the turn. Once the fourth king card is taken and the user takes a sip of the king’s cup, the game is over. Sometimes every participant takes a swig of the king’s cup too.
Kings Cup Tips and Tricks
King’s cup is not a game that can be won or lost. The goal of the game is more so to have fun with some acquaintances and learn more about them.
Some players choose to add fun by adding questions for each card. For example, 7 might be, “Never have I ever…” In such cases, the drawer might say “Never have I ever cheated on a test.” Any participant brave enough to admit they have would then take a sip.
Other times people add hot sauce or ketchup to the king’s cup to raise the stakes.
- A deck of cards
- A table
- a big cup that will serve as the king’s cup
- Plastic cups
- A supply of drinks
As with any drinking game, remember to play safe and have fun. If the king’s cup becomes a disgusting cesspool of condiments and drinks, a small sip should be all that is asked of the final drawer of the king card. Likewise, the game can be played with soda, seltzer, water, hot sauce mixed with water, etc.
Fortunately, I have only played this game once and no one took it that seriously. I drank a beer or two then the game turned into a bunch of college freshmen sharing their craziest high school stories.