Sasha Lane and Alison Oliver in Hulu's adaptation of Sally Rooney's 'Conversations With Friends'

Here's Why That Drinking Game In Conversations With Friends Looks So Familiar

Frances and Bobbi had to have introduced it to their older friends, right?

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A lot can happen when friends go on vacation. That was never more apparent than in Episode 4 of Hulu’s Conversations With Friends, when a drinking game breaks out while the characters are on vacation in Croatia. The game gets pretty rowdy with its creative rules and competitive vibe — and some frequent party-goers just might recognize the game they’re playing.

Warning: Light spoilers for Conversations With Friends follow. When the friends meet up in Croatia, Frances (Alison Oliver) and Nick (Joe Alwyn) have taken a hiatus on their affair and tension is high. Bobbi (Sasha Lane), Frances’ best friend and ex, uses the game as an opportunity to tease Nick and Frances about their flirtatious relationship in front of Nick’s wife, Melissa. In Bobbi’s defense, she didn’t yet know Frances and Nick were hooking up, she just knew Frances had a crush. Suffice to say, this moment was incredibly awkward, but, hey, the rest of the game looked like a lot of fun.

As some may have recognized, the game they’re playing is, King’s Cup, which is sometimes called Ring of Fire or Waterfall. The game revolves around a cup filled with mixed alcohol (or a canned beverage) in the middle of a table, surrounded by a spread-out deck of cards placed face down. Each player takes a turn picking up a card, which signifies an action they, and sometimes the rest of the group, must carry out.

When setting up the game, it’s important that each card is touching the ones next to it, forming a circle of cards. In some variations of the game, if a player picks one up and breaks the card circle, they are expected to drink the beverage in the middle of the table, which is often a gross concoction of mixed liquors. That’s because some variations of the game require those who draw kings to pour some of their drink into the middle cup, resulting in an unappealing mystery drink. Other rules state that whoever draws the fourth and last king must drink the middle drink. Regardless of the variation you play, the game isn’t over at that point; it only ends once all the cards are gone.


Clearly, there are tons of rules, card meanings, and variations of the game. For example, in the show, Melissa (Jemima Kirke) picks up a two, which enacts a rule called “you,” meaning whoever drew the card has to pick someone to take a sip of their drink — Melissa picks Nick and he takes a couple sips of his wine. One of the most fun cards is the jack; whoever draws a jack gets to make a rule that everyone in the game has to follow. When Melissa tells Nick to drink, he forgets a rule that had already been set, and he has to chug the rest of his wine. Then Melissa in turn breaks a previously set rule by saying, “Good job, Nick.” Everyone in the room shouts “No names!” and Melissa has to chug, which indicates they’d also made a rule that they weren’t allowed to use each other’s names during the game.

These rules can also be a messy way to single someone out by making the rule specific to them. Bobbi is a pro at this — while staring down Frances and Nick, she says she has a new rule: If you forget one of the rules, you have to kiss the person on your left. For Nick, this is Frances, and Bobbi makes it worse by saying, “Don’t forget on purpose, Nick.” The whole room quiets and everyone, including Bobbi, is visibly uncomfortable.

King’s Cup can just be a lot of fun, but if you’re like Bobbi, it can also be a way to stir the pot. Regardless of your style of gameplay, always remember to drink responsibly — and try not to ruin any relationships in the process.

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