Depending on where you are these toys/collectables had a number of different names, Milkcaps, Pogs, Tazos, Slammer Whammers amongst others. For this item I will keep to the Pog name as its shorter and its what I remembered first, then it was Tazo’s from Walkers/Lays packs.
Pogs peaked most recently in the early 1990’s, some say they are very similar to a Japanese card game from the 17th century.
Others believe that following the Great Depression in the 1930’s, children had to make there own games and by reusing the caps from the tops of drinks to flip bottle caps.
Why the POG name?
Well these become known as POGs because of the drink bottle ingredients being Passion fruit, Orange and Guava so POG.
So kids would draw and customise the caps and then to make a slammer 3 or 4 caps were glued together and were called “kinis” which is Hawaiian word for ‘King’.
For this reason it is believed that the origin of the game Pogs started in Hawaii around the 20’s to 30’s.
There was a breif craze it is beleive but we are told that the primary cause of the 90’s comeback was down to a school teacher who grew up in the 30’s, when in 1991 she decided to teach her class the game and it spread and once again Hawaii was POG mad.
The craze spread to the USA mainland and spread slowly across from the West and the craze and other makes of caps were produced to keep up with the spike in demand, many tournaments and large events were setup for this small toy.
The POG, Tazo, Milktop musthave reached the UK in 1995 and it was reported over 30 million caps were sold within by the end of 1996.
I am sure they will make a comeback again although it may be brief as many will prefer to play online games rather than slam the POGs.
Pogs relied on two different types of disc 1) the pog, 2) slammers. Pogs were flat thin circular discs made from cardboard which usually were printed with images on both sides.
Rules varied but usually each player had their own pogs and slammers and you first had to decide if to play for keeps or not.
Each player then enters an equal number of pogs and place them into a stack face down. The players then take turns in using a slammer thrown onto the top of the stack. Any pogs which landed face up after their throw were ‘won’.
After every throw the pogs which are still facedown were placed again into a pile for the next player.
When no pogs remained in the stack the player who had the most posgs was the winner.
The slammer is a heavier game piece made from plastic, rubber or metal which were close to the same size as the pog, metal slammers due to their weight could give an unfair advantage and were not used in many games.
By 1993 the Pog was gaining popularity across the world, this lead many schools to ban them as it was deemed a form of gambling and caused arguments and distractions.
The collectable aspect was quickly realised by corporate America and other organisations. Soon McDonald’s would have “caps” (POG was an actual brand, so “milk caps” or just “caps” was used by manufacturers) included in their happy meals, movies would have giveaways of pogs with their characters emblazoned on them, and corporations would give away pogs with their corporate logos.