Recommended Ages: 8 and Up
Amount of Players: 4 to unlimited
Materials Needed: Space for a circle and hands
Concentration is one of those games that require a little creativity and some quick thinking. You have to quickly come up with associations with the commonplace categories. It is very simple game, and you develop quick wits. Concentration is a fun way to keep everyone engaged.
Objective: To be the category champion.
Description: First, everyone playing must gather around in a circle. Each person will put their hands out, palms facing up, with their right hand on top of the person on your right’s left hand and the left hand below the person on your left’s right hand. You basically are holding hands, without the grabbing.
The introductory verse to the game is “Let’s play Concentration, no repeats or hesitations. The category is…” However, in order to keep with the rhythm of the game it is divided into syllables for the longer words, which results in, “Let’s – play – Concen – tration –no – repeats – or – hesi – tations – the – category – is – …..” Everyone says this introduction together. Someone will start by using their right hand to kindly slap the person on their left’s hand at every word. It’s almost as if you are going to slap your left hand, but the person on your left’s hand is in the way.
The game begins with someone starting the game by slapping the person’s hand to their left and saying “Let’s.” That person will then bring their right hand (the hand that was just slapped) to slap the person on their left’s hand and will say “play” simultaneously. This third person will then bring that hand and hit the person on their left’s hand and say “Concen.” (As stated before, because the word is so long, the game divides it into two slaps). This sequence of slapping continues through the introductory verse around the circle. When you get around the circle to someone slapping the person to the left’s hand and saying “is,” the person whose hand was just slapped selects a category. Examples of categories can be “sports,” “James Bond movies,” “actors,” “vegetables,” or “colors” and you can basically pick anything that has more than 20 options. The person has time to think of the category at this point.
The person says the category aloud to the group and makes sure that everyone knows the category. Then, he/she will then say something within the category and slap the person’s hand to their left, just like before. If a person’s category was, “colors,” he/she could then say “red” and slap the person on their left’s hand. Then it would continue around the circle, with people saying regular or obscure colors such as “mahogany,” “velvet,” “scarlet,” etc. while slapping.
The rules of the game are stated in the introductory verse, “No repeats or hesitations.” You can’t repeat words that people previously said that round, and you have to keep up with the rhythm while slapping the person on your left’s hand. When someone makes a mistake or hesitates, then they must step out of the circle. The hands then join to fill the gap, again with the right hand on top and left hand on bottom with palms facing up.
When the game gets down to two people, you can either call them both winners, or they will grab each other’s right hand clasping just the fingers (basically like a thumb war). The game will have the same rules and same instructions, except when you say a word you lock out your arm towards the opposing player. The opposing player’s arm now has a bent elbow. The player will then say the next word in the sequence and will lock out their arm towards the other player. With that in mind, the players stay a far enough distance apart that they aren’t punching each other, and so it’s also obvious whose turn it is. The rules are the same with two people playing and whoever wins is the category champion.
Concentration is fun and competitive, and is easy to teach others. Because everyone must state the introductory verse together, everyone needs to stay engaged and be actively thinking in order to win. The game is much easier to show how to play, and generally takes me all of 2 minutes to demonstrate Concentration. Once you figure it out you’ll be as good as gold.
Thank you for reading!