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How to Play the Korean Ddakji Game

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Ddakji, sometimes referred to as ttakji, is a traditional Korean game played using folded paper disks. It is similar to the American game of Pogs that was popular in the 1990s, but there is no "slammer" piece involved in the game play. All you need to play are the folded origami ddakji disks.

Korean ddakji is the ideal activity to keep children busy. Folding the disks helps them learn basic origami techniques and work on fine motor skills. Playing with friends encourages them to work on social skills like sharing, taking turns, and graciously handling winning or losing the game.

Although it is traditionally a children's game, many adults enjoy playing ddakji as well. Ddakji is featured on the popular South Korean variety show Running Man. The hosts and guests on the show complete various missions to try to win the race.

There are ddakji game competitions in episodes 25, 59, 78, 110, 113, 116, 119, 131, and 144 of the show. Cast member Yoo Jae Suk gave himself the the title of "God of Ddakji" or "King of Ddakji" after having great success wining the competition.

When adults play ddakji, sometimes they use digital image editing software to design papers for making customized disks that feature photos or meaningful words and phrases. You can learn more about how to do this by visiting the Running Man Jjang blog.

1. Fold the Paper into Thirds

Ddakji
© Dana Hinders

You will need two sheets of square origami paper for each ddakji disk you want to make. Choose papers with coordinating colors or patterns. The size of the paper does not matter as long as it is square. If you don't have origami paper, cut construction paper into a square. See About Origami's How to Make Square Origami Paper for an easy way to do this.

To begin making your ddakji, fold the first sheet of paper into thirds.

2. Fold the Corners

Ddakji
© Dana Hinders

Fold the left corner up and the right corner down as shown in the photo to the left.

3. Make a Second Unit

Ddakji
© Dana Hinders

Repeat Step 1 and Step 2 with the second sheet of paper.

4. Prepare to Join the Units

Ddakji
© Dana Hinders

Place your folded units in the formation shown in the photo to the left.

5. Fold the Flaps

Ddakji
© Dana Hinders

Fold the left and right flaps in.

6. Complete the Ddakji

Ddakji
© Dana Hinders

Tuck the top and bottom flaps in to keep the paper closed. If it is folded properly, you should not need any tape or glue to seal your ddakji. This makes ddakji a good example of modular origami.

To play Korean ddakji, choose a throwing player. Many people suggest a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to choose a throwing player, but this is up to you. The other player places his ddakji disk on the table. The throwing player tries to throw his disk so that it makes the other player's disk flip over. If he is successful, he gets to keep the disk. Therefore, it would be a good idea to fold several disks before you begin playing.

Throwing ddakji looks simple, but getting the angle and force necessary to flip the other player's disk takes practice. If you are playing the game with very young children, stress that it's OK if they are unable to flip the disks immediately.

You may want to make disks using several different sizes of paper to see what is easiest for you to flip. It's also helpful to try to aim for the fullest or puffiest part of the disk when you're trying to flip it.

A video demonstration of children playing the ddakji Korean game can be found on YouTube.

For more paper toy ideas, please review the About Origami How to Make a Paper Toy in 15 Minutes or Less slideshow.

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