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How to Play the Japanese Card Game Menko?

Have you ever heard of the Japanese card game Menko? This traditional game has been enjoyed by generations of Japanese children and is still popular today. Menko is a simple yet exciting game that can be played with family and friends. In this article, we will guide you through the rules and strategies of Menko, so you can start playing and having fun!

What is Menko?

Menko is a competitive card game that originated in Japan. It involves players trying to flip over their opponents’ cards by striking them with their own cards. The cards used in Menko are usually made of thick cardboard or plastic and feature various designs such as anime characters, sports teams, or animals.

Setting up the Game

To start playing Menko, you will need a set of Menko cards. Each player should have an equal number of cards, usually around 10 to 20. The cards should be placed face up on a flat surface, with enough space between them for players to strike them.

How to Play

1. Decide who goes first: Before starting the game, players should decide who will go first. This can be done by flipping a coin, playing rock-paper-scissors, or any other fair method.

2. The first strike: The first player selects one of their cards and strikes it against one of their opponent’s cards. The goal is to flip the opponent’s card over using the force of the strike. If successful, the player takes the opponent’s card and keeps it as a point.

3. Counterstrike: If the first player fails to flip over their opponent’s card, it becomes the opponent’s turn to strike. The opponent can choose any of their cards to strike against one of the first player’s cards.

4. Collecting points: The game continues with players taking turns striking each other’s cards. Whenever a player successfully flips over their opponent’s card, they collect it as a point. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Strategies and Tips

– Aim for weaker cards: Some Menko cards may be easier to flip over than others. Look for cards that have a smooth surface or are slightly bent, as they can be easier to strike.

– Practice your striking technique: The key to success in Menko is the striking technique. Practice striking your cards at different angles and with different amounts of force to find what works best for you.

– Observe your opponents: Pay attention to how your opponents strike their cards. This can give you clues about their technique and help you anticipate their moves.

– Be strategic with your card selection: When choosing which card to strike, consider the size and weight of the card. Heavier cards may have more flipping power, while larger cards may have a larger surface area to strike.


Menko is a fascinating card game that offers hours of entertainment. The rules are simple, but the strategies can be complex. By practicing your striking technique and observing your opponents, you can become a skilled Menko player. So gather your friends and family, grab a set of Menko cards, and get ready for some friendly competition!