What is the Card Game Concentration?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Concentration is a card game that requires making pairs and remembering placement. The goal of Concentration is to pair all the cards and empty the array. It is often played with a standard 52-card pack, but there are also specialized sets available that feature story characters, animals, or other specialty items to make matching more interesting. Online games of concentration are also available.

The card game concentration is often played with a standard 52-card pack.
The card game concentration is often played with a standard 52-card pack.

How to Play the Card Game Concentration
The game of concentration is played with two or more players. A single deck of cards, with jokers removed, is shuffled and dealt one at a time facedown either in an array of perhaps seven cards in a row, with the last row being uneven, or — to make the game more difficult — spread all over the playing surface without regard for order.

Children may enjoy playing the card game Concentration.
Children may enjoy playing the card game Concentration.

Players take turns turning over two cards in place—that is, without removing them from the playing are, simply flipping them faceup — seeking to find a match of rank, without regard for color. If the cards match, the player removes them from the playing area, stacks them in front of him- or herself, and takes another turn. If they do not match, the player ensures that all other players have seen them, and flips them facedown, without changing their position in the playing area. The next player to the left then goes, turning over two cards, which may include cards already viewed and/or new cards.

Play ends when all the cards have been removed from the array. Players count their pairs, and the player with the most pairs is the winner.

Teaching Children to Play the Card Game Concentration

To help young children learn the game, concentration can be varied to suit players of a variety of ages. Ways to make the game easier include:

  • have children match identical items rather than items that have a feature in common, for example, two Aces of hearts rather than an Ace of hearts and an Ace of diamonds
  • use a smaller array, starting with as few as two cards in each row (making sure that there are two pairs used)
  • using cards that picture familiar items
Concentration is a card game that requires making pairs and remembering placement.
Concentration is a card game that requires making pairs and remembering placement.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

We used to play Concentration in my logic classes, applying logic principles to help us win the game in fewer moves. It worked pretty well. Naturally, I don't remember much about how we did it, but several students got really good at it.

I've always like these kinds of games that challenge the mind in different ways. Games like Spades and Hearts are fun, but you need other ways of getting the mind to work in different ways, and games like Concentration are really good for that. I even remember the commercial for the actual game when I was a kid. We usually just played it with regular cards, though.

Grivusangel

I always enjoyed Concentration, and I've played it with a regular deck of cards, Uno cards -- you name it. You can play it with nearly any kind of card deck available, as long as you have an even number of cards to turn over.

I really prefer playing on the computer, since it's easier to turn the cards over, and they don't get out of alignment. This is a great game for kids, to teach them colors, numbers, shapes, whatever. And it certainly improves their memory. It's a simple game, and easily learned, so any child over the age of four should be able to learn it quickly.

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