The famous Operation Game

The famous Operation game brings back so many childhood memories. It seemed like almost every household had one and we all had such a good time playing with it.

More recently, we added Operation to our collection of family board games a couple of years before we had children, and our eldest girl received the game as a birthday gift from a relative several years ago.

Operation was first introduced by Milton Bradley in 1965 and designed by a University of Illinois Industrial Design student, John Spinello after winning the highest grade from his class for the assigned game design project in 1962. The game initially existed under the name “Death Valley” produced by Marvin Glass Associates until Milton Bradley redesigned it. Hasbro currently manufactures and markets Operation.
In the Operation game, players take turns picking up Doctor cards that offer cash rewards for removing ailments with funny names from the game’s patient, Cavity Sam. Using a pair of tweezers attached to the board by wire, the player tries to remove the ailment without touching the metal connectors which make a buzzing sound and light up Cavity Sam’s nose when touched.

Specialist cards are distributed evenly to players at the beginning of the game, and it allows for an opportunity to earn double the cash for any given operation in the Doctor card. In theory, the higher the monetary value, the more difficult the operation.

And the operations are not that easy! If you can’t remember the last time you played Operation, you’ll be surprised at how difficult it is to remove some of the more difficult ailments.

While there were originally twelve ailments, Milton Bradley released a thirteenth ailment that was chosen as a winning suggestion during a 2003 $5,000 shopping spree contest. The new ailment, Brain Freeze rolled out in the new Operation game on October 2007, where a player has to take out an ice cream cone that signifies the brain freeze.

The other ailments include removal of the Adam’s Apple for $100, the Broken Heart for $100, the Wrenched Ankle for $100, the Butterflies in the Stomach for $100, the Spare Ribs for $150, the Water on the Knee for $150, the Funny Bone for $200, the Charley Horse for $200, the Writer’s Clamp for $200 the Ankle Bone Connected to the Knee Bone for $200, the Wish Bone for $300 and the Bread Basket for $1,000. The player with the most cash at the end of the game wins!

Though we have two sets of this great game, the first one came to us as a gift from an invited guest that couldn’t make it to one of our house parties. In place of their presence, they sent us the Operation game with my face Photoshopped on Cavity Sam’s head! It was hilarious and all our guests had fun performing operations on me!

We still take out that Operation with my head on it for laughs and to play. It’s the only game we own with my face on it!

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