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Scoop's Surprises

Every now and then I come across a game so elegant, so simple, so well-designed and made, that I am reminded why I started this whole Major FUN Awards program. Scoop's Surprises is just that kind of game.

Though it will remind you of the "old shell game," it reminds you just enough to make the game easier to learn. Once you start playing, however, you'll rapidly discover that, compared to Scoop's Surprises, the old shell game is mere child's play.

There are four wooden "ice cream cones." Each of these houses three pegs. There are four sets of three different color pegs - vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint. The person playing Scoop first moves the cones around, exactly as in the shell game of yore. Depending on the age of the players, Scoop uses three or four (or maybe only two) of the wooden cones, and makes maybe only three or four or maybe five or more switches. Then, and here's where the game gets truly boggling, then Scoop tells you which flavor you have to find.

Having to keep track of not just one, but as many as four different "flavors," the mind basically melts. It can be extremely challenging. Or, with some loving simplification, easy enough for a five-year-old.

Scoop's Surprises is surprisingly easy to learn and even more surprisingly fun to play - for the entire family. Did I tell you Scoop gets to wear a special ice cream hat? And how that hat adds just the right sprinkle of humor to a remarkably well-made, well-conceived, and enduringly entertaining game?

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