ring of fire rules title

OBJECTIVE OF RING OF FIRE: The objective of Ring of Fire is to not pull the last king card.


MATERIALS OF RING OF FIRE: One standard deck of cards (minus jokers), a flat surface, a drinking glass, and, of course, alcohol. 

TYPE OF GAME: Drinking Card Game



Also called King’s Cup, Ring of Fire is a classic drinking game where players draw cards from around a single cup in the middle, also called the king’s cup. Based on the card drawn, that player or many players will have to follow the rules, which may range from drinking to playing a game within the game. The game ends when the last king is drawn, and the player drinks from the King’s cup!

This is a fun drinking game you can play with your friends and has fairly simple rules. If you can’t remember all of the card rules, feel free to jot them down on a piece of paper or on your phone. But the good news is that most of the rules rhyme, making it easier for you to remember!

Want to drink something special for the occasion? Look at this incredible drink list here.


Now, to start this awesome game, let’s set things up!

First, place a cup in the center of the table. Then, shuffle a deck of cards and spread them evenly around the base of the cup face down, like in the picture below.

ring of fire set up

Once the cards and cup are set up, each player will grab their favorite alcoholic drink of choice and stand around the table together.

Okay, now, ready? Let’s get playing and try not to get too drunk!


The gameplay is simple; each player takes turns drawing a card from the ring of fire. Then, each player must follow the directions based on the card chosen.

The only rule of Ring of Fire? Do not break the circle of cards, so be careful ! In other words, make sure the cards are always connected to one another.


ring of fire rules

The cards in this game all have rules associated with them. You can change or vary these rules depending on house rules, but make sure you have this discussion before gameplay begins. With that said, here are the traditional card rules for Ring of Fire.


Ace is waterfall. Waterfall means when a player pulls an ace from the circle, the player who draws the card starts to drink, then the player to their left starts to drink, and so on, until every player is drinking at the same time.

The player who pulled the card may stop drinking at any time of their choice, then the player to their left may stop, and that continues till no one is left drinking.


Two is you. The player who draws the card picks another player to take a drink.


Three is me. The player who draws the card takes a drink.


Four is girls. All female players must drink.

ring of fire four


Five is thumb master. The player to draw this card is now the thumb master. Whenever this player puts their thumb on the table, all players must follow suit. The last player to put their thumb on the table is the loser and must drink.


Six is dicks or gents. All male players must drink.


Seven is heaven. If a player draws this card, all players must raise their hand toward heaven. The last player to raise their hand loses and must drink.

ring of fire seven


Eight is mate. The person who draws this card picks another player. For the remainder of this game, this chosen player must drink whenever they drink.

ring of fire eight


Nine is rhyme. The player who draws this card says a random word. Then, the player to their left must say another word that rhymes. This continues around the circle, and the first person to hesitate, mess up, or repeat a word must drink. Words that are not rhymable are not allowed!


Ten is categories. The player who draws this card says a category of their choice, such as chain restaurants, soda, or shoe brands. Then, the first player must start off this mini-game by saying a word that is connected to the category. For example, if the category is shoe brands, the first player may say “Nike.” The player to their left must continue the game by also saying something within the category, such as “Adidas” or “Christian Louboutin.” The game continues around the circle until someone hesitates or messes up. That person must take a drink.


Jack is rule. The player who draws this card must make up a new rule that ALL players (including themselves) must follow for the remainder of the game, such as drinking with your non-predominate hand. When the rule is broken, the rule breaker must drink. Note: if you draw a jack, you could also create a rule that gets rid of a previously created rule.


Queen is question master. The player who draws the card is the question master and acts as the question master until another queen is drawn, at which point, this would be the new question master. As the question master, your goal is to ask other players a random question. Players must not answer any questions by the question master. If a player does answer a question master’s question, they lose and must drink!

ring of fire question master


King is pour. When a player draws this card, this player must pour a bit of their drink into the cup in the center of the table. The player to pull the final king (the fourth king) must drink all the Ring of Fire cup’s contents! Yikes!


As you draw a card one by one from the ring of fire, it’s important to keep one rule in mind: do not break the circle! In other words, make sure the ring of cards is always a ring of cards. If a player pulls a card on their turn and also breaks the circle, they must finish their drink or take a shot as a penalty!


The game ends when the last king is pulled. As mentioned already, the person to draw this card must drink from the King’s cup (AKA the gross cup in the middle).

Looking for other similar games? Check out our game rules for Ride the Bus!


The cool thing about Ring of Fire is that you can easily substitute rules and create house rules to your heart’s content. Here are 10 Ring of Fire rule variations you might want to consider playing:

  1. Breaking the ring of cards variation 1: Instead of finishing their drink or taking a shot, the player that breaks the ring must drink the King’s cup. Make sure to put the King’s cup back to continue the rest of the game.
  2. Breaking the ring of cards variation 2: If you want, you can simply forgo this rule altogether, with no penalty for breaking the ring.
  3. Knocking cards off the table: If a player knocks any cards off the table at any point during the game, they must take a drink.
  4. 4, 5, 6 variation: In this variation, 4 is for floor (every player must touch the floor with the last player taking a drink), 5 is for guys (males drink), and 6 is for chicks (females drink).
  5. 5 variation (1): 5 is jive. In this variation, the player must do a little dance before taking a drink.
  6. 5 variation (2): 5 is drive. In this variation, you drive an imaginary car and play Vroom. Here are the rules for Vroom.
  7. 7 variation: A 7 rule variation is that it stands for snake eyes. If a player draws this card, whoever they make eye contact with must take a drink.
  8. Jack variation: Instead of creating a new rule, in this variation, you play Never Have I Ever. If you play this game, here are some Never Have I Ever questions to help you.
  9. Ace variation: Ace is for race, and the person who draws the card may pick another player to race them to finish their drinks.
  10. Heart rule: In this variation, basically, anytime someone draws a heart, they must kiss the person on their left.


Can You Play Ring of Fire as a Non-Drinking Game?

The Ring of Fire rules are typical of standard drinking games. However, the Ring of Fire drinking rules could be changed to fit a non-drinking group. You could either simply play the traditional game with non-alcoholic beverages or change the rules to fit non-drinkers.

Is Ring of Fire a Complicated Game?

In terms of drinking games, Ring of Fire can be a bit more complicated than the standard games that get you drunk. However, the great thing about this game is that the rules are totally subjective to your group. It is also one of those games that the more you play it, the easier it is to remember the rules. You can also always print out the rules or write them down on your phone.

How Many People Can Play Ring of Fire?

This game plays three or more players. Like most drinking games, you can play this game with as many players as you want, and people can easily filter in and out as they wish throughout the game. Please remember to always drink responsibly, and make sure you and your friends make it home safe!

Is Ring of Fire Safe for Work?

Drinking games, in general, are not safe for work, but if your job is more casual with drinking, then this game can be a fun game to play after work hours. The prompts are not scandalous in nature, so as long as the players keep things kosher, the game should be relatively tame. But with that said, there’s no guarantee you won’t get drunk in front of your boss!

Mia Kim