Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Play Concentration


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. These two cards don't match, but remember where they are for later play.

Concentration is often one of the first card games a child learns. In fact, don't be surprised if the youngest participants outplay their elders. Here's how to play:

Number of players: Two and up

Object: To gather the most cards by matching them in pairs.

The cards: Standard 52-card deck

Playing: You'll need a large surface area. Deal the whole deck out, card by card, facedown on the table. It doesn't matter if the cards are in neat rows and columns or in a haphazard arrangement.

A turn of play consists of turning over one card, then another. All players see the turned-up cards. If these cards match in rank, remove them from the layout and keep them. Go again. If the two cards turned aren't the same rank, your turn ends. Return the cards to their places facedown. Note the turned-up cards to match later.

Scoring: When the cards have all been taken, count each card. High scorer after three games wins.

Tips: You can get the feel for this game very quickly. The key to it is visual and spatial recall. If you're not sure which card to turn over, you should always go with your instincts. You'll probably be right more times than not.

Variations: At each turn, you may turn over a third card whenever the first two do not match. If still no pair is produced, return them all to their places. (When down to the final six cards, only two cards may be turned.)