Concentration Card Game Rules

As its name suggests, Concentration is all about good focus and memory skills. This guide explains how to play the Concentration card game in detail.

Concentration is known under many names like Pairs, Pexeso, Match Up, or Match Match. 

Its rules are very similar to the rules of the Memory game. The players aim to collect pairs of cards, which can also remind you of the classic Pitty Pat game rules.

The game is often played with a dedicated set of cards, but this guide will teach you how to play Concentration with a deck of standard playing cards.

Key highlights of this Concentration card game rules guide:

  • What is Concentration
  • Concentration Card Game Rules
  • Concentration Scoring 
  • Concentration Card Game Rules in Pictures 
  • How to play Concentration (Video tutorial)

Continue reading and learn how to play the Concentration card game in simple steps. 

What is Concentration?

Concentration is a simple game centered around matching cards. Typically, the game is played in a pair, but you can also play it in a larger group or as a single-player game.

Number of Players: 1+ 

Ages: 6+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 5 – 20 minutes

Type of Game: Card-matching game

Similar to: MemoryOld MaidPitty Pat

Main Objective: Collect the most pairs of cards.

Our Take: This game is easy, fast, and exciting, and it can even help you improve your memory and concentration skills. 

What You’ll Need to Play Concentration

If you want to play Concentration, you’ll need:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 52
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers 

Tip: If you’re playing with young kids, you can use one of the dedicated sets of Concentration cards with images or symbols replacing the numbers.

Concentration Card Game Rules

Concentration is a perfectly straightforward game. Nevertheless, do not underestimate the initial setup of cards since it directly affects the gameplay.

Starting the Game

Thoroughly shuffle the entire deck of playing cards. Then deal the cards face-down onto the table one by one, creating an even grid (ideally, 4 rows, 13 cards each).

Ensure that the cards are dealt with care, and there are no apparent differences in orientation or spaces between them. 

The goal is to minimize the chances that players can distinguish the cards visually.

Pick the player who starts first. The gameplay continues in a clockwise direction.

How to Play Concentration

When you’re on your turn:

  • flip two random cards over, keeping them in their respective places
  • look if the cards form a pair (= are of the same rank)
  • if they form a pair, collect them and take another turn, flipping over two more cards
  • if the cards do not form a pair, flip them back face-down, ending your turn 

The players take turns following the procedure above until there are no more cards on the table. 

Tip: To make the game more demanding, pair only cards of both the same rank AND the same color (i.e., ♥︎Q forms a pair with ♦︎Q, but not with ♣︎Q or ♠︎Q).

How to Play a Single-Player Concentration

Concentration is an excellent alternative to the classic game of Solitaire. The game’s rules remain the same as if you were playing in a pair, but you collect all the pairs yourself.

People often play a single-player Concentration game against the clock and write down their scores, aiming to get faster with each new game.

Concentration Scoring 

When no cards are left on the table, the players count the pairs they collected during the game. The player with the most pairs becomes the winner.

Concentration Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Concentration card game rules 1 image

Shuffle the cards thoroughly and deal them one by one face-down on the table, creating a grid with 4 rows, 13 cards each.

Step 2

Concentration card game rules 2 image

The first player chooses two random cards from the grid, flipping them over while keeping them in their respective places.

Step 3

Concentration card game rules 3 image

If the cards have the same rank, they form a pair. The player collects this pair and takes another turn.

Step 4

Concentration card game rules 4 image

If the cards do not form a pair, the player flips them back over. The next player to the left takes their turn.

Step 5

Concentration card game rules 5 image

When there are no more cards on the table, players count the pairs they collected. The one with the most pairs becomes the winner.

How to Play Concentration – Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of the Concentration card game?

Some commonly named benefits of the Concentration card game include improving attention span, memory skills, and persistence. 

Can you play the Concentration card game with Jokers?

Technically, you can play the Concentration card game with Jokers if you treat them as a pair, but note that it’s hard to make an even grid of 54 cards. 

Sometimes, players agree that the pair of Jokers is worth two standard pairs during the scoring phase since it’s harder to collect than two randomly combined 4s, 8s, or Qs.

What is the Spaghetti variation of the Concentration card game?

In the Spaghetti variation of the Concentration card game, the cards are not laid in a neat grid but unevenly spread across the floor or large table. 

Other Concentration Online Resources

Other Similar Games to Concentration (Our Guides) 

If you enjoy playing Concentration, check out our guides to a few similar simple card games:

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova