OBJECTIVE OF SPOONS: Be the first to have a four of a kind and grab a spoon.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-13 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

OTHER MATERIALS: Spoons – 1 spoon less than the number of players

TYPE OF GAME: Matching



Spoons is a fast-paced matching game also referred to as Tongue. It is a multi-round game that involves matching, grabbing, and sometimes bluffing. Similar to musical chairs, there are one fewer spoons than there are players per round. Once a player has four cards of the same rank in hand they grab a spoon in the center of the table. One player will be left without a spoon at the end of the round and they are out. The game continues until there is one player left who is declared the winner.


Spoons are put in the center of the table so that all players may reach them. The dealer (who also participates) deals each player four cards. Players pass one card from their hand to the left. This is done simultaneously, placing the unwanted card face-down on the table and sliding over. After players pick up the card on their right, add it to their hand, and repeat. The goal is to create a hand with a four of a kind, or four cards of equal rank.


Once a player has a four of a kind, do not announce it, and quickly reach into the middle to grab a spoon. After the first player grabs a spoon all other players must follow as fast as possible despite their hand. The player who is left without a spoon is out. The game continues with one fewer spoon until there are two players and one spoon. Some variants consider the last two players in the game joint winners.

Longer versions of the game do not immediately force players to drop out if they fail to grab a spoon. In this variation, if a player loses, they earn an ‘S’. The round is repeated with the same number of spoons. The player continues to play until they spell S.P.O.O.N, meaning they have lost five rounds in total. When this happens they are eliminated from the game and a spoon is removed from play.





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6 thoughts on “Spoons”

  1. If there are only you and another player left, and your opponant has 4 of a kind but has not yet grabbed a spoon can you grab a spoon before they do? (You can tell whether or not they have 4 of a kind based on how they look when they swap out their final card.)

    • Hi Dane, there should be no stacking cards, cards are passed simultaneously so no card should be passed until all players are ready, this becomes much quicker the more familiar with the game you are.

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