How to play the Waterfall Drinking Game

Looking for a new drinking game to liven up your next get-together with friends?

Or perhaps you want to get the party started early before heading out for a night on the town?

Whatever your reasons for playing, the Waterfall Drinking Game is sure to get the good times rolling!

Otherwise known as the Donut, Ring of Fire, Circle of Death, Kings or King’s Cup, this game has stood the test of time. The chances are your parents played it when they were your age. Possibly even your grandparents too!

Regardless of what you call it, this game is a classic and very addictive card-based drinking game that is guaranteed to result in lots of laughs, fun and plenty of alcohol being drunk!

In this guide, we will showcase how to play it, just in case you are not familiar with the rules.

What you need to play the Waterfall Drinking Game

What you need to play the Waterfall Drinking Game

To play the waterfall drinking game you will ideally need between 5 and 12 people, who should be sitting in a circle around a table.

You will also need a standard deck of 52 playing cards, as well as two six-sided dice (if up to 12 people are playing), plenty of alcohol and a ‘King’s Cup’.

The ‘King’s Cup’ glass, can basically be any drinking vessel you can find like a beer glass or wine glass. Residing in the middle of the cards, it acts as a reward to the last person who draws a king – so really the bigger it is the better!

You will also need to have the AC/DC song ‘Thunder’ ready to go on YouTube or Spotify as well (don’t worry we’ll explain why!).

Depending on how quickly you play it, and the degree to which you get distracted, the game itself can take anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes to complete. Therefore it is the perfect thing to play just before heading out for a night of pubbing or clubbing.

As you will invariably have to take lots of sips throughout the game we recommend you all drink something with an alcohol content that is not too high.

The basic premise of the game

The basic premise of the game

To set up the game you should place the ‘King’s Cup’ in the centre of the table, and spread the deck of playing cards, face down, around it in a circle.

Everyone should then be instructed to sit around the table with a beer or wine of their choice.

Whoever is designated as going first will then have to select one of the cards at random and turn it

over to show everyone what it is.

Depending on the value of the card, a member, or members of your group, may have to partake in the activity associated with the card.

Once that particular activity has been completed, you will then need to make your way clockwise around the room, with the next person in line selecting a card at random.

The game finishes when the last king is pulled out of the pack – at which point the person who does so gets to drink the contents of the ‘King’s Cup’.

Cards Activities

Cards Activities

As mentioned previously, each of the cards has an activity associated with it, which you might have to do if it gets turned over.

Ace – Thunder!

Ace – Thunder!

If an ace gets turned over then everyone in the group must stand up with their drinks.

The person who then pulled out the ace needs to start playing the song on YouTube or Spotify and everyone will need to take a sip of their drink every time the word ‘thunder’ is sung.

When the song is finished, then you can all sit down again and get back to the game.

2 – You

If you draw a 2, then you alone will need to drink 2 fingers of your beer, or 1 finger of your wine.

3 – I See You!

3 – I See You!

Whoever draws a 3, the first person to make eye contact with them will have to have a drink of 2 fingers of beer or one finger of wine.

Alternatively, you can ask them a ‘truth’ question, which will exempt them from drinking, if they choose to answer.

4 – One for the ladies

If a 4 gets drawn then all the ladies have to stand up and take a gulp of their drink!

5 – Showtime

5 – Showtime

If you pick out a 5 then it’s showtime! That is because you will have to do a live performance for the group.

This can be either the reciting of a poem, 30 seconds of singing your favourite song, a hidden talent or a celebrity impression.

6 – One for the Boys

If a 6 gets drawn, then all the boys need to stand up and take a drink, just like the ladies do when a 4 is picked out.

7- Compliment someone of the opposite sex

7 – Compliment someone of the opposite sex

If you draw out a 7 then you will need to say something nice about a member of the opposite sex. After you have made your comment, you will both need to take a drink together after saying cheers!

To add a bit of spice, you can even insist that the compliment can’t be to anyone you are dating.

8 – Mate

Drawing an 8 will be a real game-changer for someone because if you pick up that card you will need to nominate someone to be your ‘mate’ for the rest of the game.

As a show of solidarity and friendship, that person will then need to drink every time you do for the remainder of the game because after all, good friends don’t let their friends drink alone!

9 – Rhyme Time!

9 – Rhyme Time!

Uncovering a 9 really sets the cat among the pigeons!

As soon as a 9 is drawn someone will need to shout out a word. The remaining players will then take it in turns from a clockwise direction to say a word that rhymes with that one.

The round ends when someone can’t think of a rhyming word and thus has to drink two fingers of beer or one finger of wine.

10 – Categories

When a 10 is drawn, the person who picked it will name a category of which there are quite a few possible answers.

The group will then take it in turns, in a clockwise direction, to come up with correct answers within 10 seconds.

The round finishes when someone says an incorrect answer, repeats a previous answer, or can’t think of anything to say. At which point they will have to drink two fingers of beer or one of wine.

Some of the categories you could suggest include US presidents, European capital cities, fast food restaurant chains or songs by a band or music artist.

Jack – Roll the dice!

Jack – Roll the dice!

If you pull out the Jack, you will need to pick up the dice and roll it so everyone can see. Whatever number is rolled you will have to count that amount to your left and take a drink with that person.

To spice things up a level you can even introduce a rule where they also have to kiss that person too!

Queen – Question Time

The first person to draw a queen becomes the master of questions, who is tasked with the responsibility of asking other players questions throughout the game.

If people answer you, then they will have to take a sip of their drink, however, if everyone ignores you then they escape that punishment.

Your residency as the question master will finish as soon as the next person draws a queen – and thus becomes the Question Master.

King – King’s Cup

King – King’s Cup

The King is the card that gives the game its name.

If you draw this card you will need to shout ‘Waterfall!’ before downing the entire contents of your glass.

You will also need to fill up your glass again and pour two fingers of it into the ‘King’s Cup’.

Should you be the one to draw the last King the game will end by you standing up and saying ‘King’s Cup. drink up’ before downing the contents of the King’s Cup in one go.

Jokers – ‘Anything Goes!’

Although the game of Waterfall is not usually played with jokers, you can use these additional cards as wild cards and make up any special rules you like.

This can involve anything from kissing the nearest member of the opposite sex to your left to eating a banana or even faking an orgasm. Infact the more embarrassing the better!

Conclusion (1)


So there it is! Our version of how to play the Waterfall drinking game with your friends.

This game is all about drinking beer and having fun, so it is important to ensure everyone is doing that.

However the game is very addictive and guaranteed to make you laugh, so once you have all lost your inhibitions you will be in for a great time.

It’s important to note that the rules outlined for this game are not definitive, but rather should be seen as a guide.

Feel free to change them as you see fit, to suit the personality of your group of friends.