There are many names for this popular card game which is a favorite in many countries. It is a simple memory game that can be played by any number of players, but it is better to keep the number of participants between two and four. Special cards are available for the game, but standard poker cards work just as well.
After shuffling, all cards are placed face down on a table in rows so that each card is accessible and none are lapping over any others. The way the rows are placed is up to the choosing of the dealer. Some choose to have circular rows and others straight ones. The jokers can be included or excluded depending on player preferences.
Playing the Game of Concentration
On their turn, a player turns two cards face up to see if they can make a match. If there is no match, the cards are turned back over and the next player to the left has a chance to make a match the same way.
A match is two of a kind in matching color suits. A diamond and a heart or a club and a spade of the same number or face card make a match.
When a player makes a match, the cards are claimed by the player and placed in their stack of won pairs.
Under some forms of play, the person who gets a match continues to turn two cards at a time until they are no longer successful in making pairs. Under other rules, there is a limit to the number of pairs that can be obtained on one turn. In some cases, a person only gets one turn whether a match is made or not.
The game continues until all the pairs have been captured. At that time, the number of pairs each player has is counted and the player who has captured the most pairs is the winner of the hand.
The Skill of Memory
Concentration can be a disheartening game for people who do not have good memory skills. For young people, it teaches memory recall and is a good mental exercise.
Variations of Concentration
Some players choose to simplify the game of concentration by allowing matches whether they are the same color suit or not. This is especially true for very young players. Other versions have only matches of opposite colors. Special decks made for the game of concentration are often picture cards for younger players, and a pair involves matching same colored shapes or animals.
A longer game, and one that involves more players, has the use of two decks and matches must be identical, meaning the same face value and same suit.
The arrangement of the cards is one of the chief variations for concentration. Some players prefer to lay the cards out randomly, making it harder to pick the pairs. A checkerboard design makes it easier for some players to remember where cards are. This is accomplished by having two decks of playing cards with different colored backs and laying them out with alternating colors.