Ah, Kings. The drinking game with more names than Dracula and more rule variations than Calvinball. You know that one card game in Final Fantasy VIII where every person played it and every town had its own rule set? Kings is probably the closest possible card game toward representing such a phenomenon. I’ve played a crapload of this game back in the college times. I don’t remember any of those games having the same rules as another time. If I did anything from playing at a different college to going one town over, I’d have to relearn the rules all over again. Many-a-napkins were used in rewriting these temporary scriptures. The other problem I ran into is that no one person knows 100% of the rules, so almost as a common law, the first 15 minutes after deciding to play is spent piecing together the little bits everybody in the room knows about playing Kings. Of course, whenever we decide to play, nobody has a fucking computer around. Mind you that all this takes place after spending 2-3 minutes assessing that everybody in the room agrees we’re talking about playing the same game. Maybe you know Kings as Circle of Death, Avalanche, Waterfall, King’s Cup, or even Captain Dickhead.

Regardless, I grew tired of that twenty minute standing period filling up the cocktail napkin with pencil marks. I made a greatest hits version list of all the fucked up rules I’ve run into over the years. It was used a few times. It was successful.

Let me teach you how to play Kings:

Get a deck of cards. Put the deck face-down all scattered around like a Go-Fish pile. Or make an organized ring of face-down cards. Your choice.

The concept is everybody playing has a drink or beer ready. One at a time, a player will first call red or black, and then draw a random card. The card number or face card is matched against a pre-determined list of rules or mini-games everybody participates in. So whatever card you draw, that is what you have to do. A mini-game ends when somebody has to drink unless it’s Make-a-Rule-related. Suits don’t matter. My list is as follows:

1-5. = Distribute or Drink
6. = Sentence
7. = Make a Rule
8. = Name Drop
9. = Never Have I Ever
10. = Thumbmaster
J. = Slap
Q. = Question
K. = Category
A. = Avalanche / Waterfall
Joker = Social

Highlight that list. Go to Print…Selection. Do it. Do it now.
What’s that list mean?

1-5 = Since you called “Red” or “Black” before you drew the card, if the card color matches what you called, you get to distribute that number of drink sips to whoever you want, or split up that number of drinks across multiple participants. So if I called “Black” and I drew a 5 of Clubs or Spades, I could say “John, drink one, Moe drink one, Hilden drinks three.” Now, if you call the card color and are wrong, you have to drink the number of sips indicated by the card. The color calling rule only applies to card numbers 1-5. If you fail to call a color, you’re wrong by default.

6 = Sentence game is when the card drawer starts to say a sentence, but stops in the middle of it and the person next to him/her has to continue the sentence. Whenever somebody sounds like they used a period or just flat-out doesn’t make sense, that person drinks one. Example: Jarrod: “I was walking to my room…” Lag: “…and noticed somthig blak and shiny…” Mitch: “…that could have been used for anal sex with…” Savory Cade: “…transvestites and polar bears, implying…” etc.

7 = You make up a rule. Anything from banning bathroom breaks, mandating everybody adds “in bed” to every sentence they say, banning use of profanity, nouns, the word “the”, or just saying when Philthy takes a drink, Bobo has to take a drink. Anytime that rule is broken, the person takes a long sip. All rules stay in effect together through the entire game.

8 = Name Drop game is where the card drawer person names somebody by first name and last name, be it a character, famous person, whatever. The next person to the right has to say another name with the first name starting with the first letter of the last name the previous person said. So like, the first person starts with saying Isaac Hayes, second person says Hellen Keller, third guy says Kevin Smith, next guy goes with Steven Stills. This goes on until somebody fucks it up or takes longer than a few seconds to answer, and that fucker-upper drinks.

9 = Never Have I Ever is when the card drawer says “Never have I ever…” and says something he or she has never done, but somebody else in the room has. Whoever has done the thing that was said, those people take a drink. Like somebody says “Never have I ever 1LC’d Castle Shikigami 3,” and then I’d have to take a gulp of somethin’.

10 = Thumbmaster works like a rule card. The card drawer becomes the Thumbmaster only until a new person draws a Thumbmaster card. The Thumbmaster at anytime during the game, places his/her thumb on the table/ground/playing area, whatever. Everybody else has to put the thumb down as well. The last person to put a thumb down has to drink. The Thumbmaster can do this or abuse this as many times and as often as desired.

Jack = Everybody Slaps the center of the playing area. The last person to do it has to drink.

Queen = Question is where the person who drew the card asks a question while looking at the person he/she wants to answer. The person being looked at has to answer the question in the form of a question while looking at somebody else. This continues until somebody fucks it up and has to sip the drink. Example being: Phneri: “Have you seen my plaque?” M.C.: “Did you deserve a plaque?” MikeOHara: “The shiny one or the one made of crayons?” carrotpanic: “Was it the one that should have been made awhile ago?” Rusty Shackleford: “Did it look like my fantastic work of art?” SinfreeAleX: “Wasn’t that Moe’s Job?” PanicBot5000: “Do you know that plaque is for a site that no longer exists?” Mr. Destructoid: “Does this mean we’re competing websites?” …and so on…

King = Category. Guy who draws the card names a category. Then it goes around the room naming subjects in that category. So like somebody starts with “Old Podcast Injokes” and then it goes around with the guy to the right saying “One Ping Only” then the next guy says, “Cucumbers.” And another guys yells, “SCIENCE!!!” Another topic could be “Robot Masters” and the next guy starts with “Metal Man,” and then it continues, “Hard Man,” “Charge Man,” “Tengu Man,” “Fire Man.” etc. A bad answer costs a drink.

Ace = The Avalanche is when the person who draws the card starts to chug the drink. The person to the right begins chugging his/her drink as soon as the first person begins. Then the third person begins chugging after the second person starts. Like the wave at a stadium. The second drinker can’t stop until the first person does. The third chugger can’t stop until the second person does. The fourth chugger can’t stop till the third person does, etc. Whatever people call the Ace card is normally what they think the game is called. The Ace card has a lot of names.

Joker = Social Drink. Everybody takes one. Toasting to Heath Ledger optional.

A special note about the King. King cards are set aside and normally, the game ends when the fourth king is drawn. Usually at my area, the person who draws it has to take a shot, typically set aside at the beginning of the game. But depending where you are playing at, there can be radically different consequences for the fourth king.

So you should take your printout, cut out the short rules list, and tape it under your coffee table.

Have you played a variation of this game? What are the rule differences in your area? I played this in Miami of Ohio once and they made you play with shots. It got fucking brutal.

Tagged with:

4 Responses to Kings. A Drinking Game.

  1. John says:

    Incidentally, did anybody see the most recent episode of Lewis Black’s The Root of All Evil? It was The Olympic Games vs. Drinking Games. Hilarious.

  2. carrotpanic says:

    How did you do waterfalls with shots?

    Also, in circle of death the cards are splayed out in a circular fashion on a table. If you break the circle by drawing a card, you must finish your drink.

  3. DJ Incompetent says:

    I think there was switching to beer. I think the shots were penilties for missing in a mini-game thing.

    That night was overshadowed by punch-for-punch. My arm looked like it belonged to a Smurf. I was….not smart.

    I missed the Lewis Black thing. I like that show.

  4. darkradish says:

    Back when I was a line cook, we’d play Three Man in our off hours.


    Three Man introduced me to the joys of underage drinking, underage sex, and the horror’s that can be performed on an unconscious person with a magic marker.

Leave a Reply