Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Before you continue reading, I would like to warn all of you that this article may be a little lengthy. Also, I would like to you a little background on why I am writing it. Aside from the “because I can” factor, I feel sad letting all of this knowledge go to waste. I was going to do a speech about POG for a class, but decided against it at the last minute.

Now, for all of my devoted readers, sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cold glass of milk (or some passion fruit, orange, guava juice cocktail) and read on.

The game POG, for most of us who are in our twenties, was an introduction to the world of gaming. I will admit, it was not the most complex game, but it was fun.

The game of POG has its origins in the traditional Japanese game of Menko. Menko originated in the Edo period of Japan (around 1700) when they were made of nothing more than dried clay. Over time, new materials were used to make menkos such as wood, tile, and lead (which was eventually discontinued because kids would lick them for luck), finally menkos were made from paper.

Menkos were used as a rite of passage for young boys, allowing them to make friends and do battle with other children in a friendly setting.

Eventually, this game made its way to the US in an odd fashion.

Some of the Japanese immigrants working in a Hawaiian bottling plant in the 1920’s decided to relive the good ol’ days and play their favorite childhood game (or at least a variation thereof) with the milk caps they found lying around (I guess that is where that name came from…). When the game got attention, it was named after an acronym for the passion fruit, orange, and guava juice drink that was bottled at the plant.

Eventually a Hawaiian schoolteacher showed this game to the class around 70 years later, and the fad followed. I still wonder if the fact that the fad sensation that it experienced was the reason for its downfall soon after. Either way, I still have most of my slammers and a few POGs. I wish I could find the rest. Funrise Toys tried to release POGs again in 2005, and they even have a flash game at http://www.funrise.com/pog/ .

Another use for the little discs came around in 2001. Because of the weight of metal coins, the US military will not ship them to the soldiers overseas. After that was decided, paper POGs have been used in 5, 10, and 25 cent denominations.

If you do not know the rules, you stack ‘em and slam ‘em. Place a stack of eleven POGs per player and throw a thicker POG (called a slammer, kini, or the “big ‘un” if you so choose) at the stack with the goal of flipping some of the POGs over as they fall. You keep those. Woot!

I think I should work on a homebrew game similar to the “Poison” POGs that were so popular. Maybe some that have an effect on the players when flipped… Who wants to help?

I still find lots of these beauties floating around on eBay, so give it a look.

Since this was a research heavy article, I will let you know that my sources were:


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