There are some board games that everybody must have played, if not owned, at some point in their lives, and Operation is one such game.
The workings of the game are derived from one of those steady hand testing games, where you have to pass a loop of wire around another bent piece of wire without the two touching, which will complete a circuit and make a buzzer sound.
Operation took this concept and changed the wire loop into a pair of tweezers and the bent wire into little holes lined with metal. The playing board had a picture of man being operated on, and the little holes were dotted about the body of the man. Each hole had a little plastic bone (more on those in a moment) which the player had to remove with the tweezers. If the tweezers came into contact with the side of the hole they caused both a buzzer to sound and a red light to come on, which was strategically placed to be the man’s nose.
The little plastic bones all had humourous (or should that be humerus?) names such as Funny Bone, Broken Heart and Spare Ribs. In actual fact, one of the bones wasn’t made of plastic, it was instead a rubber band which stretched between the ankle and the knee, and it was called The Ankle Bone Connected To The Knee Bone.
The game also came with a set of cards and some money, and this was supposed to guide how the game was actually played, but personally I just played it by having all the players take turns at trying to remove a piece of their own choosing.
If you were playing it properly their were two types of cards. Specialist cards detailing a particular playing piece were dealt to each player at the start of the game, then each player took a turn to draw a Doctor card from the pile. These cards told you which piece to try and remove, and how much money you got if you were successful. If the player failed, and another player had a Specialist card for that piece, they could try to remove the piece too. When all pieces had been removed, the player with the most money was the winner.
Operation was a fun game, and has been popular ever since it was first released in 1965. Over the years it hasn’t really changed a great deal, although in more recent years there have been several special editions of it, including versions based on movies and TV shows such as Shrek, The Simpsons (predictably enough you’re operating on Homer) and most recently a Toy Story 3 Buzz Lightyear version.