It doesn’t matter if you’re a group of strangers, old friends catching up, or if you see each other every weekend: everyone loves a good drinking game. It eases the tension and breaks the ice, getting everyone talking. Before you know it, the party has kicked into gear, and everyone is best mates. It also helps that such games get you drunk, hammered, wasted, inebriated or whatever your description of choice. But while classics such a beer pong are much loved, you can’t beat drinking card games. Cheap and simple, they’re accessible to everyone. Plus, you can even play them over Zoom!
So, if you’re planning your next house party or you need a game to play with your roommates before you head into town, then we’ve got the games for you. We’ve scoured the internet, interrogated our drinking buddies and racked our brains to give you the very best drinking card games around.
Circle of Death (aka Kings Cup)
Circle of Death, also known as Kings Cup, is as simple as it is brutal. You only need a deck of cards, a cup and more than two people.
To begin, place the cup in the centre of the table. Next, take the deck of cards, and put them face down in a ring around the cup. Move around the circle each taking a card from the ring, completing the action dictated by the card picked. If you break the circle, you need to down the rest of your drink.
Circle of Death Rules
Each card entails a specific action. The Circle of Death rules are as follows:
Ace: Waterfall. Everyone starts drinking; they can only stop when the player to their left finishes, beginning with the person to the right of the person who picked the ace.
Two: You. The player who drew the card picks someone else to take a swig of their drink.
Three: Me. The player who picked the card drinks.
Four: Girls. All female players drink.
Five: Thumb master. Following drawing the card, that player, at any point, can place the thumb on the table. Subsequently, every other player must do the same. The last one to put their thumb on the table must drink.
Six: Gents. All male players drink.
Seven: Heaven. Similar to thumb master, the player who drew the card can at any point upwards. Everyone must follow suit, the last one to do so must drink.
Eight: Mate. The player who drew the card picks someone to drink with them. Whenever they drink, the other player must too.
Nine: Rhyme. The player who drew the card says a word, going round the circle clockwise, each player must say a word that rhymes. If they hesitate or mess up, they must drink.
Ten: Categories. The player who drew the card gives a category, e.g. countries. Every player must then name something belonging to that category. If someone hesitates or messes up, they must drink.
Jack: Rule. The player who drew the card decides a rule for everyone to follow. If someone doesn’t follow the rule, they must drink.
Queen: Questions Master. At any point in the game, the player who drew the card can ask a question. However, the other players cannot answer the question. If they answer, then they must drink. A person stays the Question Master until the next queen is drawn.
King: Pour. For each king drawn, a player must pour some of their drink in the central cup. The player who pulls out the last king must pour in their drink and then down the entire concoction. At which point, the game is over.
If everyone is already a little buzzed, try your hand at Indian poker. All you will need is a deck of cards and a drink.
To start, deal a card face down to each player. They then stick (or hold) the card to their forehead without seeing the card. After having looked at everyone’s cards – but not being able to see their own – each player must decide whether to play the round or fold.
The aim of the game is to have the highest card in a round (aces are played high). When deciding whether to fold, work round the group from the left of the dealer. Once everyone has decided, you place the card on the table.
- The highest card wins the round.
- Any player that folded, but whose card was lower than the winner must drink two.
- Any player who folded but whose card was higher than the winner must drink the value of their card.
- Any player who did not fold, but lost, must drink the difference between their card and the winner.
If you want to raise the stacks, beyond getting blind drunk, then you can place bets in the middle of the table at the start of play.
In Electricity, it’s all about creating a current. It’s a creative way to spark off an evening. You will need a deck of cards, some beers and at least four players.
Gather around a table and pick a dealer: they will decide the pace of the game. For the game to succeed, a current must be formed by evaluating the card most recently dealt to the person to the left and right of the person who was dealt the most recent card.
For a connection to be created, it must be either:
- Matching Suits (Club, Spade, Diamond, Heart)
- Matching Number (2-10)
- Matching Card (Jack, Queen, King, Ace)
Once a connection, either on the left or right, has been made, then you need to see how far the connection extends. Keep going until no connection can be made in the same direction. Everyone in the connection must drink the amount of the highest-value card. They can only use their most recently dealt card for a connection; with a two being two drinks through to an ace being fourteen drinks.
Don’t think you can take baby sips; everyone else must count the number of drinks, one at a time. Yeah, this one gets messy!
An absolute classic of the genre: anyone who hasn’t played Cheat, needs to make it a priority. To play, you’ll need a beer per game and a standard deck of cards.
The dealer split the deck evenly between all the players in face-down piles. To start, all the players pick up their cards and review their hand. The person to the left of the dealer must place an ace in the centre, face down. They can lie about how many aces they have, or if they have no aces, then they must place down any card and lie. They must say out loud what they are doing, e.g. two aces, or three aces.
Going around the circle, the next player places down kings. The aim is to get rid of all your cards as quickly as possible. So, there is an incentive to place down as many cards as you can on a hand. Work through the card ranking from ace to two, and then back up to aces.
Part of the fun is trying to remember what was placed down the first time around, so you can work out if someone is lying or not.
If you think someone is lying, they shout: ‘cheat’. They must then turn over the cards they played. If they were lying, then they must drink. However, if they told the truth, then the person who called cheat must drink.
Keep going until someone gets rid of all their cards, at which point everyone else must finish their drinks.
Fast-paced and fun, it’s the perfect way to kick off a night. All you’ll need is a pack of cards, some friends (at least three), alcohol, and of course a spoon for each player (except one).
To set-up, arrange spoons in a circle in the centre of the table. From the cards, you will need to select a number of sets of four-of-a-kind equal to the number of players. For instance, if there are four players, you could use 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s (16 cards). If there are twelve players, use the entire deck. Discard the rest of the cards.
Next, deal four cards to each player. When one designated person says ‘pass’, each player must pass a card to the player on their right. Once a player has four-of-a-kind, they take a spoon and leave the game.
The last person who doesn’t get a spoon, must then down their drink (or alternately, drink equal to the added value of the cards in their hand).
F*** the Dealer
Another classic card drinking game that even gets the dealer involved in the fun. Sitting in a circle, each player must pick a face-down card from the deck. The person who picks the lowest card is the dealer (aces are high).
To begin, the dealer asks the player to their left the card’s suit on top of the deck. If their guess is correct, the dealer drinks two, and the game moves on to the next player. However, if they guess wrong, the same player must now guess the value of the next card in the deck. If they guess correctly, the dealer drinks three. If they guess wrong, the guesser drinks four.
If they guessed correctly, the game moves onto the next player. If wrong, they must now decide if the next card in the stack was higher or lower than the prior card. If they guess correctly, the dealer drinks four, if incorrect, the guesser drinks five and becomes the new dealer.
There is no winner, just a stack of 52 cards to get through. If the dealer doesn’t change before the end, a new dealer is chosen for the next deck.
The game where friendships go to die. For a game of President, you need at least four people. Pick a dealer and have them equally divide the deck between the players. The aim of the game is to get rid of all of your cards before anyone else. The first person to get rid of all their cards becomes the President. The second person, the Vice President, the last person to do so is the Bum, the second-to-last, the Vice Bum.
The President begins the game (if playing the first round, the person with 4 of clubs starts the game), followed by the Vice President, then any players in the middle, and finally the Vice Bum and Bum.
Any card played must be equal to or greater than the prior card played. If the card played is equal, then the next player is skipped. Aces are played high, and 3s are the lowest card, as 2 is a special card.
At the start of a new hand, the first player can play as many of a single value card as they have in their hand.
2s: Clear the entire pile. The person who plays the 2, starts the next pile.
3s: Wild card. A 3 can be worth anything, except a 2.
Special Position Rules
-At the start of each game, the President can request two cards of their choosing from the Bum, giving back any two cards in return.
-Starts the game off.
-Can force any player to drink for any reason, at any time.
-Peasants must refill their drink when needed.
-At the start of each game, the Vice President can request a card from the Vice Bum, giving back any card from their hand in return.
-Takes their turn after the President.
-Can force any player, aside from the President, to drink at any time.
-Can force the Bum to drink at any time.
-Can force the Bum to drink.
-Goes second to last.
-Must refill anyone’s drink that needs one.
-Must deal the cards and clear the pile.
A player must drink whenever the following occurs:
-The need to pass.
-They get skipped.
-When a 2 is played.
-Whenever a higher-ranking player tells them to drink.
-If the President calls a ‘Board Meeting’ everyone waterfalls.
Give and Take
Essentially a game of truth or dare for the people older than the legal drinking age. Just bring some cards and some drinks.
The dealer hands out four cards to each player, face-up, then makes two rows of six face-down cards on the table. One row is designated ‘Truth’, the other row ‘Dare’. Then from bottom to top, if a player chooses to drink instead of truth/dare, then it equals the number of seconds they need to drink for: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and down your drink.
To proceed, begin flipping the cards from top to bottom, alternating between the Truth and Dare rows. Any player that has a card equal to the card which was flipped must either answer the Truth, perform a Dare, or drink for the required amount of time.
The group must collectively decide the question or the dare.
To make things even more interesting, throw some special rules into the mix.
-If a player has doubles of a card flipped, then they can throw their truth or dare to another player.
-If no one matches the card flipped, everyone drinks for two seconds.
-If you receive an ace in your first hand, then make up a drinking rule.
-If an ace is flipped over from either row, then the player with the most cards of the same suit as the ace makes a rule.
More like a beeramid… Once again, all you need is your drink, some friends, and a deck of cards.
The dealer lays out the cards in a pyramid format, with a base of six cards. Add more cards to the bottom of the pyramid for more players. Then, they deal four cards to each player, face down.
To begin, each player glances at their cards for five to ten seconds, attempting to memorise their cards. After this look, you won’t be able to see your cards again, unless you get called on a bluff.
The dealer starts turning over the card in the pyramid, row by row, starting at the base. If a player has that card in their hand, then they can assign another player to take a drink. If the player thinks they are lying, then they can call their bluff. That player must then pull the card from their hand in one guess, without looking. Or else drink their assigned drinks before continuing to play. Once a card has been revealed in a bluff, then the card is discarded. A new card is then assigned.
As you move up the pyramid, the number of drinks given increases. So, the first row is one drink, and the pinnacle of the pyramid is six drinks. If a player calls a bluff incorrectly, then they must drink double the number of assigned drinks. If the bluff is correctly called, then the bluffer must drink double the number of assigned drinks.
Ride the Bus
The drinking game that will drive you crazy. Ride the Bus has five rounds, with each round requiring you drink more and more. The person who loses the pyramid round has to drive the bus at the end.
To begin, each player receives four cards face down.
Round 1: Black or Red
Each player guesses if the top of their four face-down cards is black or red. If they guess wrong, they drink.
Round 2: Higher or Lower
In this round, you guess if the next card in the pile is higher or lower than the card from round 1. If you guess wrong, drink. If right, don’t drink.
Round 3: Inside or Outside
Next, guess if the next card is inside or outside the numbers of the last two cards. If wrong, you need to drink.
If the last two cards were a 3 and a 6, then if your next card is a 4 that would be inside, if it was a 9 that would be outside.
Round 4: Colour
Finally, guess the colour of the last card. If you’re wrong, guess what, you need to drink.
The pyramid round decides who drives the bus at the end. Place ten cards down in a pyramid, with four cards as a base. Then from the bottom to the top, begin to uncover the cards, with each player taking it in turns. If the card uncovered has the same value as a card in your hand, it can be discarded, distributing drinks to the other players.
The person with the most cards in their hand becomes the driver.
Round 5: Driving the Bus
Place sixteen cards down in the shape of a diamond: 1-2-3-4-3-2-1. The bus driver must uncover a non-picture card for every level of the diamond. If the bus driver uncovers a picture card, they must take a sip for every card previously uncovered. Replace the uncovered cards with a new card. Keep going until the bus driver has revealed seven non-picture cards.
While it’s great fun to play a drinking game with your friends, it is always important to drink safely. Never attempt to drive after having drunk. Learn your limits; if you’re feeling unwell, stop drinking. Remember these essential rules, and you’ll always have a great night.
P.S. In the meantime, if you’re solo and looking for a chilled (and sober) night in, check out our free solitaire card games!