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How to Play The Original Memory Game: Rules and Instructions

How to Play The Original Memory Game: Rules and Instructions

Objective of The Original Memory Game

The objective of The Original Memory Game is to find more matching cards than the other players.


  • Place all of the cards face down on the table.
  • Mix up all of the cards to randomize them.
  • Once you have mixed up all of the cards, assemble them into a grid. You are not required to place the cards into a specific grid pattern, but you should place the cards in some sort of pattern so it is easier to remember where the cards are during the game.
  • The youngest player starts the game. Play passes left/clockwise during the game.
Setting up the game components

Playing The Original Memory Game

On your turn you will choose any two cards from the table and turn them over. You need to fully turn them over so all of the players can see what was on each card.

What happens next depends on if the two cards are a match.

Finding A Match

If both of the cards you chose have the same picture on them, you have found a match.

Finding a match in Original Memory Game
The current player flipped over two zebra cards. Since they are the same, the player has found a match.

You will take both cards and place them in front of you. These cards will score points at the end of the game.

Taking cards after finding a match.
Since the player found a matching pair, they will remove both cards from the table. They will then choose two new cards to reveal.

Because you found a match you get to flip over two more cards trying to find another match. This continues until you fail to pick two cards that match.

Picking Two Different Cards

If the two cards you picked have different pictures on them, you have failed to find a match.

You will turn over both cards so you can no longer see the pictures. The cards should remain in the same place they were in when you first turned them over. This is to allow players to try and remember where the pictures are on future turns.

Didn't find a match in Original Memory Game
The current player flipped over an ice cream cone and a ballerina. Since these two cards don’t match, they will will turn the two cards to their back side. Play then passes to the next player.

Your turn will then end. Play passes to the player on your left.

Winning The Original Memory Game

Players keep taking turns trying to find matches between the cards. The game ends when all of the cards have been matched and taken by a player.

All of the players count up how many cards they collected during the game. The player that collected the most matches, wins the game.

Winning Original Memory Game
The top player found nine matches while the other two players found seven matches. Since the top player found the most matches, they have won the game.

Solo Game

If you want to practice your memory or just want to play by yourself, you can play the solo game.

The solo game is basically played the same as the normal game. You will take all of the turns though.

The objective of the solo game is to try and find all of the matches in the least number of turns as possible.

The Original Memory Game FAQs

If you have any questions about how to play The Original Memory Game, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.

Components for the Original Memory Game


There have been many different versions of the game made over the years. Most versions of the game have a different number of cards. All versions have an even number of cards, but the total number can vary. A lot of versions have 72 cards, but some can have as few as 48 cards.

Year: 1959 | Publisher: Hasbro, Milton Bradley

Genres: Children’s, Memory

Ages: 3+ | Number of Players: 1+ | Length of Game: 20-30 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate

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