When you backpack around the world for a year, you become introduced to quite a few card games. Also to quite a few drinking games. Sometimes — as in the case of Circle of Death, which I learned this evening — you get introduced to both at once. Circle of Death is a simple enough game: a deck of cards is fanned out in a circle on the surface of a table; and each player in turn pulls a card out of the circle. Each number (or royal) in the deck has a certain action — failure to achieve the requirements of the various actions results in the loser(s) drinking. Very fun game, and a great way to turn a group of sensible, amiable friends into a bunch of loud-mouthed, hammered knobheads. But, hopefully, still friends.
At the Circle of Death table.
Circle of Death (also known as "Kings") has many rules — with some being dubiously "official" — and after playing it this first time, I've since been exposed to yet more variations on the game. Nevertheless, this evening at the bar at Yoho, Craig and Sarah taught us their rules; and as far as I'm concerned, they'll always be the rules that I (prefer to) follow. So, these are the "Craig and Sarah" rules of Circle of Death. When you pick up one of these cards, the following actions occur (note — in this list, "a drink" refers to "one mouthful", not "one glass"):
- Ace: one drink. If you draw this card, assign one drink to someone.
- Two: two drinks. If you draw this card, assign two drinks amongst the group (note: one person can be assigned more than one drink).
- Three: three drinks. If you draw this card, assign three drinks amongst the group.
- Four: four drinks. If you draw this card, assign four drinks amongst the group.
- Five: jive. Everybody jives in their seat (hands in the air like you just don't care — know what I mean?), last person to jive must drink.
- Six: chicks. All girls at the table must drink.
- Seven: heaven. Everybody points up, last person to point must drink.
- Eight: mates. All guys at the table must drink.
- Nine: rhyme. If you draw this card, you must say a sentence. You then go around the table, and each person in turn says another sentence that rhymes with yours. The first person that fails to make a rhyme (or that repeats an already-said rhyme) must drink.
- Ten: thumbs. If you draw this card, you may keep it for as long as you want. Then, at any time during the game, you may put your thumb on the edge of the table (without telling anyone), and everyone else must also put their thumbs on the table. Once you do this, you return the card to the deck. The last person to notice and to put their thumb on the table must drink.
- Jack: make a rule. If you draw this card, then you can make a rule — any rule — that will apply to everyone for the rest of the game. E.g. "anyone who draws a five has to cough two times".
- Queen: scattergories. If you draw this card, then you have to choose a category (e.g. "car brands", "cities in Europe", "sexual positions"), and say an example from that category (e.g. "Honda"). You then go around the table, and everyone in turn says an example from that category. The first person who fails to say an example (or who repeats an already-said example) must drink.
- King: everyone drinks. Very simple, and no exceptions!
Good times, and occasionally-good cards.
Additionally, Craig and Sarah also follow the standard rule that the first person to "break the circle" has to immediately finish their drink. The game ends when all the cards in the circle have been picked up and added to the deck. We spent quite a while (and got through quite a few drinks) playing Circle of Death this evening: and we ended up getting through quite a few bizarre made-up rules (e.g. "no pointing — everybody point with your elbows"), crazy scattergories (e.g. "dirty words in a foreign language"), and ridiculous rhymes.