Kim's Game

You've probably seen such games in action, or at least know of such a thing. There are a number of variations, but let's look at the fundamentals first.

Basic game

The game, at its simplest, consists of a table upon which there are a number of objects of various kinds; eg, coins, cutlery, tools, toys, etc. A player is shown the objects for a short period of time (perhaps a minute), after which they are taken away or hidden under a cloth. The player must then attempt to correctly recall and name as many objects as possible.


  • Some variations might include removing one object while they are under cover, showing the remainder to the player, and asking for the name of the missing object.
  • Sometimes the objects remain uncovered throughout the game, until the very end; they must be identified and memorized by touch.
  • The game is trivial to extend to multiple players; the player who remembers the most items wins.


The game is most commonly used as a recreational method of enhancing a person's memory and observation skills, at which it is widely considered to be quite successful. In the book by Rudyard Kipling for which the game is named, the technique is used to train students for clandestine operations. Kim not only learns to remember all the objects and name them, but also becomes able to describe each object in detail.