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The Dengler Domain: Spoons

November 4, 2016
Sean Dengler - Columnist , Traer Star-Clipper

A deck of cards is like the universe; anything is possible. Whether a person shuffles them for fun, builds a pyramid, or plays the best game in the world, fifty-two card pick up, a deck of cards provides fun and entertainment. Growing up without the benefits of a smartphone and its endless amounts of apps, a deck of cards provided everything a person wanted. Card games such as pepper, euchre, rummy, hearts, spades, and so on and so forth were fun to play with fifty-two or fifty-four, if you counted jokers, cards. But only one card game stands as the true mental and physical test for humans. This game is known as spoons.

Spoons is my favorite card game. No matter the age of the participants, this game is a fun time for all. The best part of spoons is it is very easy to understand and play. For anyone who has not heard of spoons (god bless you if you have not), the objective is to collect four of a kind and grab a spoon. At the start of the game, everybody gets a random four cards, and then the cards are passed from the dealer clock or counter clockwise to every person sitting around the table. After a participant collects four of a kind, they grab a spoon. For everyone else, they need to grab a spoon and like musical chairs, there is one less spoon than the number of participants. Spoons concludes after one of the last two participants grabs the final spoon.

After playing spoons many times over a number of years, I compiled a list of strategies to become the greatest spoon champion in the world. One strategy is to be "Mr./Mrs. Slow Play." This strategy is when a participant collects four of a kind and then discreetly grabs a spoon. If no one notices the participant grab the spoon, this participant achieved their goal. Now the participant sits back and enjoys the chaos when the other participants realize what happened.

Another strategy is called, "Just Go For It!!!!!!!" This is the opposite of "Mr./Mrs. Slow Play" as the participant, who obtains four of a kind, makes no effort to conceal the fact they have four of a kind. They yell, awkwardly jerk, and scream for a spoon. I am a fan of this strategy because it creates instant pandemonium for all the other players. This strategy ends when one participant calls mercy after being sat on by another player, both of which are battling for the last spoon.

There is also the "Phakeout" strategy. It is correctly spelled fake out, but phakeout looks cooler. A "Phakeout" is when a participant does NOT have four of a kind and reaches for a spoon only to pull back before grabbing one. A "Phakeout" throws other participants for a loop and gets inside their heads. This leads to the other participants focusing less on what cards they possess and focusing more on being worried about someone grabbing a spoon. When other participants start thinking this way, the "Phakeout" strategist succeeded.

The next two strategies are similar. They are the "Speedster" or "C'mon, We're Never Going to Finish This Game" strategies. The "Speedster" is when a participant grabs and looks at a passed card in the quickest amount of time. The "C'mon, We're Never Going to Finish This Game" is the opposite of the "Speedster." The "C'mon, We're Never Going to Finish This Game" is when a participant grabs and looks at a passed card in the longest amount of time. Besides being a change of pace, these strategies do not have other benefits. The downside is any time these strategies are deployed, another participant will not be happy with these tactics.

These are the strategies which bring a person the greatest spoon champion in the world title belt. Use them at your discretion, and hopefully, you will be cleaning house the next time you play. Spoons is the best and, basically, freest forms of entertainment. Now go out and have fun, and don't be afraid to shove granny if she's between you and the last spoon.

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