Memory Matching Game Tips from a USA Memory Champion

Have you every played the Memory Matching game?

You know, the one where you have to turn over tiles and try to match the images. Like this…

These are the rules:

  1. Mix up the cards.
  2. Lay them in rows, face down.
  3. Turn over any two cards.
  4. If the two cards match, keep them…and go again.
  5. If they don’t match, turn them back over. Now it’s another player’s turn.
  6. Remember what was on each card and where it was.
  7. Watch and remember during the other player’s turn.
  8. The game is over when all the cards have been matched.
  9. Whoever has the most matched pairs, wins!

Today, I help you master this game. I’ve been waiting for this question for a while now…

Reader QuestionMy daughter is beating me on Memory Game (where you turn around cards and have to find identical pairs).Any suggestion to help me recover my dignity?

My AnswerObviously, the more tiles you play with, the harder it is to remember all the tiles you turn over. Also, if you play multiple games back-to-back, that can get tricky for your memory too. Since previous games (and the image/tile locations) will all mix and blend together.

I have 4 tips that will help you win this game:

1) Mental Imagery, Actions, and StoriesIn the picture, you can see ducks on the cards.If you turn a duck tile in the top left corner, create an image and action to remember that that card is a duck.

Example: Imagine a duck walks up to that tile in the corner and starts pulling it away.

Other examples:If the tile is a tire image, imagine a tire burning rubber on top of that tile.If a tile is a balloon image, imagine that tile floating away.

Of course, tiles that are on the corners and edges will be easier to remember than ones in the middle of a large grid.To remember ones in the middle just create a simple story to remember the exact location.

For example: a ball image that is located 4 tiles down and 3 tiles across. Tell yourself a quick story, like: “the ball was thrown 43 yards”. 4 down + 3 across = 43.

2) Speed of PlayMaking images and stories quickly takes some practice. Imagining ducks and balls being thrown 43 yards is slow at first, but you will get the hang of it…especially the more you play your game. You’ll learn all tile images really quickly.


Until you’re proficient, play slower.

Flip over a tile and stall a bit as you make the image/story.Pretend you’re really trying to think hard about the next tile you’re turning over…to buy some more time.

3) StrategyMOST people who play this game will try to get lucky and take a guess on their 2nd flip.

I think this is sometimes a mistake.

Let’s say 1/3 to 1/2 of the tiles have been turned over. (That is plenty of information to play with!)

Flip over a new card for your first flip. If you know where the match is, flip the match over.BUT, if your first flip reveals an entirely new card, DON’T guess on your second flip. Instead, flip over a card that has already been shown.

The reason you shouldn’t guess at this point in the game is because a) chances are you won’t get lucky b) the card you flip over 2nd will give your opponent new information that might lead to them getting an easy match.

Let your opponent guess and reveal new cards to you.

4) Sit in new spotIf you play multiple rounds of this game, the images and stories will start to blur together.The best tip I have to combat this is to sit at a different angle each new round.Example: Sit on the right side the first round, then sit to the left, then sit below…for each new game.This will help you connect your stories to your specific vantage point for each new game.

Be sure to use these 4 tips to beat your daughter for a couple of games, then be a good sport and teach her what you’re doing too 🙂

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