Spoons is a matching card game with a special rule that brings it into the same area of “physical card games” as Speed or Spit.
Spoons is something of a combination between Crazy Eights and Musical Chairs. Players take turns being given cards from the Player to their right, and discarding one card to the Player on their left. The first Player to achieve a 4-of-a-kind grabs a spoon. Once they do, all the Players scramble to steal a spoon for themselves. Odd one out is removed from the game.
How to Play Spoons?
The Spoons card game is played using the standard 52-card Anglo-American deck, as well as a number of spoons. Although any easily grasped token could be used, considering the name of the game using regular silverware would be the traditional option.
The instructions for Spoons are fairly simple, as is the game itself. This makes Spoons a wonderful game for beginners.
The deck should be shuffled, and then the spoons should be arranged in a circle at the center of the table, each set individually, so they are easy to grab in a scramble.
There should, at all times, be one less spoon in the middle of the table than there are Players. This way, one Player at the end of each round will end up with no spoon, and that Player will be eliminated from the table.
The goal of the game is to be the final Player with a spoon.
The game begins with the Dealer giving each Player 4 cards, all dealt 4 cards at a time to each Player. The Dealer will deal themselves out last, and then draw the top card of the deck in order to give themselves 5 cards in the hand.
- The Dealer must then choose one card to discard from their hand, passing it to the Player on their left face-down.
- That Player must then take the Dealer’s discard, and either add it to their hand, or discard it.
- If that Player chooses to add the card to their hand, they must discard another and pass it to the next-left Player face-down.
This process continues until one Player achieves a four-of-a-kind, or the next-left Player will be the Dealer.
If no Players achieved a four-of-a-kind, the last Player in the rotation will instead discard into a trash pile. The Dealer will then draw the top card of the deck, and begin the process again.
This continues until one Player achieves a four-of-a-kind. If the deck runs out without a Player achieving a four-of-a-kind, the deck is reshuffled from the trash pile, and the process begins again.
Once a Player does actually have a four-of-a-kind, they may take a spoon from the center. Once this winning Player has taken their spoon, the card-game portion of Spoons ends.
From here, the game is one of reaction time and physical speed. The remaining Players must scramble to get a spoon of their own from the center of the table. The last remaining Player to not have a spoon in their possession is the loser, and they are removed from the game.
The next round will then begin, with one spoon removed from the center now that there is one less Player in the game.
Ending and Winning
The game continues until the final showdown, with one spoon in the middle of the table and two Players facing off against each other. As the first Player to achieve a four-of-a-kind is guaranteed to win, the final round partakes in no “physical” elements.
- Once a four-of-a-kind has been drawn, all remaining Players grab for the spoons.
- Official rules state that if two Players grab the same spoon at the same time, a tug-of-war is permitted to occur.
- If a Player grabs a spoon without any Player achieving a four-of-a-kind, they are removed from the game automatically, and a new round starts.
- The first Player to get a four-of-a-kind is guaranteed a spoon. The other Players may not take a spoon until it is in the winning Player’s hand.
Keeping score in Spoons is very easy, as there is no score. Instead, the game uses a system of elimination that makes it clear when someone is winning, and when someone is losing. If you’re still in the game at the start of the next round, then you won! Otherwise, you unfortunately lost.
Imagine that there are four Players at a table, with the following hands:
- Player 1: K, J, K, 10
- Player 2: Q, 10, 10, 9
- Player 3: 3, 5, 9, Ace
- Player 4: 8, 8, 8, 2
Although Player 4 is very close to having their 4-of-a-kind, neither Player 1 nor Player 2 even have an 8 in their hands. This means that Player 4 could potentially still be many cards away from achieving their full set.
Player 2 will probably get lucky and be passed their required 10 eventually. This is because Player 1 has 2 Kings, and is likely to focus on forming a full set from those two cards, rather than the 10 in their hand.
Strategy & Tips
- Keep your eyes on the card that you discarded. Pay attention to where it ends up. As you are the one who discarded it, you know exactly what it is. If you see a Player keep the card you discarded, be wary. It likely means they have another card that matches it in their hand, meaning they are at the very least halfway to their four-of-a-kind. Try not to discard a matching card again unless it will bring you very close to winning.
- Similarly, when you are given a card from someone else, mix it into your hand and shuffle your hand. This prevents that Player from knowing with certainty if you discarded the card they gave you, or kept it.
How many cards do you get in Spoons?
In a game of Spoons, regardless of the number of Players, each participant in the game will always be given 4 cards during the initial deal at the start of the game.
Can you play Spoons with two Players?
It is possible to play Spoons with two Players, though because the first Player to achieve a four-of-a-kind gets the spoon automatically, playing with two Players misses out on the fun speed-based aspect of the game. The game is rather pointless when only played by two people, and may as well not be called Spoons at all, but rather just “Four-of-a-Kind.”
Can you have more than 4 cards?
Yes, every Player has more than 4 cards during their turn. This is because they were given one discard from the Player to their immediate right at the table. During their own turn, Players will always have 5 cards in their hand. However, Players must end their turn with only 4 cards, after discarding the fifth.
What is a four of a kind in Spoons?
Spoons is not a game that makes note of suit. For this reason, a four-of-a-kind in Spoons is simply possession of four matching cards, based on rank. For example, 2♥,2♦, 2♣, 2♠ would be a four-of-a-kind. 4♠, 8♠, 3♠, 5♠ would not be considered a four-of-a-kind.