Teks - The Iconic Filipino Card Game for Children

Teks was a coined term for a trading card game and the actual cards themselves popular amongst children that probably has started around the late 50's. The cards used in the game which was also called teks are very small, about a quarter of the size of regular playing cards first featured cartoon storyboard clips of local films complete with characters' dialogues and action sequences. Each teks are numbered which serves as indication to know what part the printed scene is on the series of scenes taken from an actual Filipino film titles or more popular television shows. It can be said that teks (cards) are the direct and unintended commercial byproduct of Filipino comics. More of a game for children, the teks was the very first form of trading card game for the Filipino mass.

Teks - Filipino Trading Card Game Retro Pilipinas Feature


Teks Game Mechanics
Teks Trading Card Game

The game relies heavily on betting which side will come up, and is decided by flicking the teks in the air. Some players slap the cards against each other in a high five for added effect. Players usually favor a specific card to use as the card they'll flip while all the other cards are basically act as betting currency.

Teks players use a method of counting the cards unique to the game: they count two cards for each numerical number said aloud, in a cadance that splits the spoken number's syllables in two. The odd card will be counted by a 'cha', meaning 'and a half', at the end of the counting.


Philippine Teks of the 90's


As a kid growing in the 90's I have been introduced to the first version of teks from the kids in our neighborhood. I usually watch them playing this obscure game, flicking the cards in the air then later looking at the results, the winners will receive a new set of cards to add to their already worn out (from being regularly flicked and handled) and almost ruined collection of teks.

I was not able to enjoy the teks like how most children in the neighborhood do. I can remember buying a text and just admiring the wonderful artworks featured in both sides of a single piece. Later in elementary school, the popularity of Japanese animation (anime) and other US cartoons have changed the contents of most teks offered at that time. The once was comics like panels taken from actual Filipino films and were reminiscent of traditional Filipino Comics were then (and up to now) replaced by colorful scenes or special images of the characters from the popular animated series at that time. The teks as a game has still the same mechanics. the only changed noticed in the 90's were the siz of each teks. I can still remember that each card pack cost one peso with three to six individual pieces available in each cards. Thinking that it would be a complete waste to just use the cards in a regular game of teks, I decided to just keep it in good condition inside a super elastic ice bag which then is placed in a shoe box. I started collecting teks from grade school all the way up to my high school days. Up to this day, I still have my collection of anime themed teks: Dragon Ball series (original Dragon Balls, Z, GT,), Ghost Fighter (Yu Yu Hakusho), Marvel Series, Zenki, Pokemon, Mojacko, Fushigi Yuugi, Slam Dunk, Sailor Moon, etc.

What about you guys? What's your fondest memory of playing teks? What Filipino or foreign titled teks have you played with? Share your thoughts and experience with teks on the comments section below:

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