Why You Should Encourage Your Kids to Play Yu-Gi-Oh!


Yu-Gi-Oh! is a trading card game that originated in Japan but can now be found in a wide range of languages across the globe. It can be played casually or in tournaments, from the local level to championships with thousands of competitors. But is it a worthwhile hobby for your children?

Child's Play
Not just Child's Play but a game that can be so rewarding

You might be wondering whether playing Yu-Gi-Oh! is a good use of time for your child, and I am here to explain why it is. Yu-Gi-Oh! offers a wide range of benefits to children of different ages, many of which may not be immediately obvious.

Fine Motor Skills

Handling a deck of cards may seem trivial to most adults but developing the appropriate grip to draw and hold a hand full of cards takes delicate practice. Shuffling a deck also presents a challenge to some younger players. This can be made slightly easier with card sleeves, which will also protect cards from becoming damaged. (If you decide to get some, be sure to buy "Japanese size.")

Card Shuffle
Decks are often shuffled many times each game

Reading and Mathematics

The mathematics involved in playing the game are relatively straightforward. The battles between monsters involve addition and subtraction of Attack and Defense points, and a calculation of damages inflicted. The requirements for reading however can be far more complex. Many cards have long and complicated effects; these can be easily understandable in isolation but require higher level comprehension to digest in combination with other cards' effects that may apply simultaneously.

The Calculator
A great opportunity for mental math


While cards and their effects can be difficult to take in at first, playing multiple games using the same decks will quickly teach your children to recognize different cards from their names and pictures. Once they have each been seen a handful of times, their abilities will be committed to memory. This will make the game easier and more fun for your kids, while solidifying their ability to digest and remember other data later.

Memories of Hope
Reading becomes remembering

Critical Thinking

As a strategy game, Yu-Gi-Oh! requires a careful evaluation of available options. Initially this can be as simple as deciding which card in your hand is the most powerful, but over time these decisions become more nuanced. To be successful against strong opponents, a player must not only calculate the best of their own options, but also try to consider what options their opponent may have available. Creating balanced strategies of offensive and defensive plays requires careful consideration.

Mind Master
Every victory requires careful planning

Social Skills

The social benefits of Yu-Gi-Oh! are probably the most significant and wide-ranging. There are different aspects of social development that apply to children of all ages.

Taking Turns

The game itself is played in a turn-based manner, and within each of those turns, players must pause between each of their actions to allow their opponent a chance to understand what has happened, and sometimes respond to certain actions.

Lose 1 Turn
Patience is essential

Following Rules

Initially, the rule book included with a new deck of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards may seem complex. Despite its many pages the various sections are broken down with diagrams and examples to help understand the game's mechanics.

If children advance to tournament play, even at a local level they will soon learn that there are some further requirements beyond just the contents of the rule book. To ensure balanced games for tournament play, some cards are limited to one copy per deck, and others are forbidden entirely. There are also expectations of proper player etiquette and fair play at these events.

Ancient Rules
A rulebook is included with each deck


The game cannot really be played without some level of conversation between opponents. Even the shyest of players must clearly indicate to their opponents what actions they are taking. Most games will involve interactions between cards on each side of the table, these must be discussed between the two players to agree on the appropriate outcome.

Clear communication is essential


Oftentimes, learning how to lose is more difficult than learning how to win. Accepting defeat and offering a handshake to your opponent is all part of a game well played. Similarly, learning to win gracefully is critical to maintaining healthy relationships.

Respect Play
Civility in victory and in defeat

Making Friends

The culmination of all of these social skills when implemented correctly is a great opportunity to make friends with others that share a common interest. Anybody can participate in Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments, as such they attract a broad range of players from different backgrounds. Meeting different people and sharing a common interest is an excellent way to broaden horizons.

Box of Friends
Everyone can participate


At the more competitive end of the scale, large Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments attract players from across the world. These events are an amazing place to speak with people who use a wide variety of languages. This can be most beneficial to those for whom English is not their first language. Anybody who competes in these top-level events will quickly develop a basic level of English required to play. By interacting with native speakers between rounds of the event, basic language skills can be developed in a conversational manner, both in English and other languages.

Decode Talker
Opportunity to talk with native speakers

A Wealth of Benefits

Overall, there is much to be learned from playing this game. If you see your child enjoying it, you should be happy they have found a hobby that they can gain so much from. A pair of decks on a kitchen table is a great place to start, but if they like the game and have a competitive spirit, then there is no limit to how far they can go.

About the Author

Unlike most of my articles, it is likely that this piece is to be read by an audience who will not be familiar with the world of competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! … At the time of writing, I am 25 years old and have played Yu-Gi-Oh! intermittently for almost 20 years. From battling against my brothers when the cards first released in the UK, I went on to play local, national, and international events. I have enjoyed victories across all levels of the game and have grown immensely thanks to my involvement with the game. I have created YouTube content, written articles about the game, and even hosted the official live stream broadcasts from international tournaments. The opportunities for travel have been exciting, the competition has been amazing, and the friends I have made through the game will remain with me long after I have played my last card.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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Lord-Schnitzel(08.03.2021 14:01)(Edited: 08.03.2021 14:03)

Thank you for this article. As father and long time fan of the game I enjoyed reading the article and I can't wait for the first duel with my kids. I hope they will also fall in love with this great game as I did. However saying the game is for children from the age of 6 is, well, not very accurate thinking about card texts longer than some children books. Maybe 6 is old enough to start with some very, very easy speed duel decks containing mostly cool looking vanilla monsters to learn the rules.

Lelouch108(05.03.2021 15:24)

Great article. For my birthday I'm buying the speed duel box for my daughter to give me so I can teach her. No way is she holding my cards

ikromm(04.03.2021 10:13)

I'm happy that you pinpointed the many benefits of a card game.

It's also good to notice that this hobby might seems childish at first (I have been accused for this by my parents in the past for example), but the benefits of a strategy game like this are many. Given that the world needs more (actually) thinking people out there.


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