King’s Cup ESL Board Game

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Have you ever played King’s Cup at a party with your friends?

The classic drinking game can also be adapted for language learning in the classroom. It is appropriate for all ages and a broad range of language levels.

Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Age Group: Kids, Adults

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King's Cup ESL Game

King’s Cup ESL Game Preparation:

To prepare the game, make sure that you have a print out of the game rules to refer to. Use a digital version on your phone, tablet, or computer if you have one.

You will also need a full deck of cards.

Plus, beforehand, you may want to adapt the game tasks depending on your students’ skill levels.

King’s Cup ESL Game Guidelines:

To begin, explain the game rules to your students. On the board, write all of the cards from Ace (1) to King (12) in a grid format. Next to each card, explain the task associated with the corresponding card.

For example, if we use the traditional rules of King’s Cup, then an Ace (of any suit) is ‘Waterfalls’. This means, when a student picks an Ace, then everyone in their group has to perform a task together.

On the other hand, 2 (of any suit) refers to ‘You”. In this case, if a student selects a 2 from the deck, then that student must select another student to perform a task.

You can create specific tasks that relate to vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, grammar, or any linguistic theme that you have been covering in your lessons. Adjust the difficulty depending on your students’ ages and levels.

For large classes, it is best to divide the students into smaller groups so that they have more opportunities to participate. Just make sure that you have one deck of cards for each group.

Use the template below as a guideline for the rules assigned to each card number. Change the rules as you see fit so that it matches your students’ proficiency levels.

King’s Cup Game Template for Students

  • Ace is for all. Everyone performs a task.
  • 2 is for you. The student selects another student in the class to do a task.
  • 3 is for me. The student who selects the card must perform a task.
  • 4 is for the floor. Everyone must quickly touch the floor. The last student to touch the floor must perform a task.
  • 5 is for guys. All of the male students must do something.
  • 6 is for chicks. All of the female students must do something.
  • 7 is for heaven. Everyone must quickly put their hands in the air. The last student to put their hands up must perform a task.
  • 8 is for mate or ‘friend’. If a student selects an 8, then they must pick another student to perform a task every time they do it and vice versa. This continues until another person gets an 8.
  • 9 is for rhyme. If a student selects a 9, then they must say a word out loud. Then, each student in the group must say a rhyming word in succession going clockwise.
  • 10 is for ‘Never Have I Ever.’ Everyone holds up 3 fingers. The student that selected the card says, “Never have I ever…” and completes the sentence. If other students have done that particular thing, then they must lower a finger. This continues until someone has no fingers left. The student without any fingers remaining must do something funny or challenging.
  • Jack is for rule. The student who selects the card makes a rule that must be followed for the whole game. If someone breaks the rule, then they have to do something funny or challenging.
  • Queen is for question. The student who selects the card asks another student a question.
  • King is for King’s Cup. The student who selects the first King must assign a funny or challenging task. Then, the students who select the next 3 Kings must perform the task.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

Time permitting, you may want to conclude the game with some vocabulary review. Check out the To Be ESL Vocabulary Game or Prepositions ESL Vocabulary Game for some ideas.

More ESL Board Games for Kids and Adults:

View the ESL board games archive.

View more ESL activities.

Related ESL Resources Online:

How to Play King’s Cup on WikiHow


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