Kings Cup

The Kings Cup ESL Game (also known as Ring Of Fire) is an adapted party game in which students complete different challenges depending on the card they pick.

Students for Kings Cup ESL Game:4+Time for Kings Cup ESL Game:20-45 mins
Resources for Kings Cup ESL Game:
Playing Cards

If you have more than about fifteen or sixteen students, divide the class into smaller groups. You will need one deck of cards per group.

All students in a group sit around one table. On the table, spread the shuffled playing cards face-down so that they form a circle (while still overlapping each other).

  1. Students take turns taking a card from the circle, showing it immediately.
  2. Depending on the card, one or more students usually have to complete a challenge (often after a mini game). This challenge could be a question, a description task or a tongue twister (try our Challenge Generator for all of these options). See below for a list of suggested card assignments.
  3. Another optional rule is that if a student breaks the circle when they take a card, they also have to complete a challenge. If you do include this rule, tighten the circle as necessary when fewer cards remain.
  4. Play the game for as long as desired, or until all the cards have been used.

Kings Cup ESL Game Rules:

(you may want to write/project these on the board)

AceWaterfallThis student says a category of personal preference (e.g. My favourite pizza topping). In a clockwise directions, the students take turns saying their preference. However, all the students have to hold their breath from the start until they answer!
2YouThis student chooses another person to do a challenge.
3MeThis student does a challenge.
4FloorThe last student to touch the floor has to do a challenge.
5SurviveThis student has to name five luxury items they would want if they were stranded on a desert island.
6Never Have I EverThe students take turns saying things they have never done, but they think others have. Each student holds up three fingers to represent three lives. If a student has done an activity, they lose a life. The first student to lose all three lives has to do a challenge.
7HeavenThe last student to raise their hand has to do a challenge.
8MateThis student picks another student to be their ‘mate’. Every time the original student has to do a challenge, their mate has to do it as well.
9RhymeThis student says a word. The students take turns (in a clockwise direction), saying words that rhyme with that word. This is too difficult for beginner/lower intermediate students, so try words that start or end with the same letter instead. This is repeated round the circle until one student can’t say a word, or repeats a previous word. That student has to do a challenge.
10CategoriesThis student thinks of a vocabulary category (e.g. pets, sports, green foods). They say one item from this category, then the student to their left has to say another item. This is repeated round the circle until one student can’t say an item, or repeats a previous item. That student has to do a challenge.
JThumb MasterThis student can put their thumb on the table at any point during the game. When they do that, all the other students must copy them. The last student to copy them has to do a challenge.
QQuestion MasterThis student gets to ask any other student a question, and they have to answer (within reason!).
KKing For The DayThe student describes what they would do if they were in power for a day (using grammar appropriate to their level).
Target Language

The Kings Cup ESL game is a really fun extended warmer or time-filler when you need a more relaxed class. It can be used with any level, simply adapt any challenges as appropriate.

You could also adapt your challenges to particular grammar/vocabulary topics (using fill-in-the-blank type questions, word definitions etc.) and use it as a review game.

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.