Spoons Card Game

Play Spoons (with vigour)

Spoons is a card game that was very popular in the Martin household growing up. I’ve played a few variations of it over the years but the general idea remains the same.

  1. One fewer number of spoons than there are players are placed in the center of the table (a la musical chairs).
  2. The goal is to get 4-of-a-kind by taking cards the player to your right has discarded, while discarding cards you don’t need to the player to your left.
  3. When a player has four of a kind in her hand (4 Queens, 4 eights, etc.), she yells out “SPOONS!”
  4. Everybody must then grab a spoon from the middle of the table and the player left without one gets a “letter.” When you spell S-P-O-O-N-S, you’re out.

Click here for the full rules of Spoons.

Some people play that when you get a set of 4, you don’t actually yell out SPOONS! This adds an element of stealth to the game, as you can casually pick up a spoon without others noticing, causing great commotion when they finally do realize they need to grab one.

Another important rule is that if you touch a spoon before someone has made a set of four, you automatically get a letter; a punishment for your itchy trigger finger. This can be particularly fun when combined with the stealth rule above as players “fake out” opponents by pretending to reach for a spoon and getting them to grab one when they’re not supposed to.

Also, touching your cards before the dealer has finished dealing and pick up hers is also a no-no, and punishable with a letter.

Cutthroat Cutlery

While a fun game in its own right, what makes it awesome is when players take it very, very seriously. Growing up with seven fiercely competitive siblings, the intensity of our games rivalled any game 7  final.

We quickly learned not to use Mom’s “good decks” of cards, knowing how destroyed they would get as the game progressed. Each time SPOONS was yelled out, a full on battle would ensue for the not-quite-enough silverware. A common scum bag tactic would be to grab more than one spoon if you can. While keeping one for himself and after dangling the second spoon just out of reach of the two remaining players stilling needing one, the cruel player would then toss the spoon across the room or down the hall.

Like a sick gladiator exhibition where two combatants are placed in the arena with only one weapon, the two players would charge toward the last spoon and wrestle, kick and scratch each other in a desperate attempt to avoid a letter. Spoons got mangled. Fingers did too. Lamps got knocked over and bodies pushed into walls. More often than not we were told to take our shenanigans outdoors. Of course, that only gave us more space to throw spoons and fight.

I remember a particularly aggressive game of Spoons in University around a friend’s kitchen table. One round I managed to snatch up two spoons. With my friends Jenn and Marie still needing one, I hopped onto the kitchen table and proceeded to do a cocky little jig. Competitors through and through, Jenn and Marie dove onto the table after me, causing it to split in half and we all came crashing to the floor.

We decided to call it a night after that.

What card or other games get you overly competitive? Share your stories in the comments below!

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Josh Martin
Josh Martin is the founder and chief blogger at Badge of Awesome. He lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada and is the author of "Misadventure Musings: Lessons learned from life's awesome and absurd moments" and "Going on a Bear Hunt: Five things cancer taught me about overcoming obstacles."

5 thoughts on “Play Spoons (with vigour)

  1. Enrique Westerheide says:

    Many people like to play collectible card games or CCGs. These games are popular among both teenagers and adults. A CCG is also known as trading or customizable card game. Masters of CCGs call it a strategy game as in this, a person needs to try several possible tricks to make a solid deck, which helps him beat other competitors. Here players collect the playing cards and an individual, who stocks the strongest cards of the game, wins.:

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  2. Sandy says:

    In college we used play that the dealer got to hide the spoons outside and would give us one hint as to where they were. Just getting out the door to go find a spoon was a feat with push and shoving and jumping over furniture and then we had to actually find them. It was always a good laugh when the person with 4 cards didn’t actually get a spoon.

  3. Dan Martin says:

    I can remember “exporting” this game to Germany several years ago when I was backpacking through Europe with some friends. We stayed at a small travellers’ hostel and, after supper and drinks, played this blood sport with zeal. Bodies were flying over chairs and tables, which obviously invited plenty of attention. Needless to say, we were eventually asked to stop.

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