Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features the game I most fondly remember playing as a child. As a game of ‘Spoons’ progresses, it inevitably becomes more and more raucous; with players frantically grabbing (and fighting over) the limited supply of spoons. This is a great game to play with almost anybody!
Number of players: 2 – 13
Playing time: 25 minutes
You will need:
- A standard deck of playing cards
- Some spoons
Spoons is played with sets of four cards (e.g. the four kings, the four queens ect…) equal to the number of players still in the game. These cards are shuffled and dealt, face down, to all players so that everyone has exactly four. Spoons are also placed in the centre of the table (or center of the playing area) such that all players have an equal chance of reaching them. The number of spoons used in each round should be one less than the number of players still in the game. I also personally think that having spoons of different shapes and sizes makes for a more interesting game.
All players look at the cards they have been dealt. The aim is to have all four cards in hand be of the same suit (or at least quickly notice when someone else has done so). From their hand, each player selects one card that they do not want and puts it face down on the table (or floor). Once all players have done this and are ready, players all say “pass”, at which point everybody passes the face down card to the player on their left, before picking up the card which the player to their right has passed to them.
Play continues in this manner until someone has all card of a single rank in their hand. This player then picks up a spoon from the centre of the table (or playing area). There is then a race amongst the other players to pick up the remaining spoons. The player who is left without a spoon gains one of the letters of the word SPOON. Any player who picked up a spoon before any of the players gained four cards in a single rank, also gains a letter. When a player has collected all five letters, they are out the game. The last player in the game is the winner.
- If you want to increase the tension of the game even further, you may allow players to pretend to grab a spoon when they do not have four cards of a single rank. By pretending to grab a spoon, that player hopes to trick the other players into actually grabbing a spoon, thereby causing them to gain a letter. Care must be taken though. If one of the other players does have four cards of the same rank, by not taking a spoon, the player pretending to grab the spoon will gain a letter.
- For a more gentle playing experience, the act of grabbing spoons can instead be replaced by gestures such as touching your nose, or actions such as laying all your cards face down. Indeed, when playing by such rules, it is often possible to perform the gesture or action without any of the other players noticing, leading to much hilarity and confusion when “pass” is next called.