Board Game Reviews Operation

Operation is a kiddie game. Let me be clear, even the re-vamped version of the game, is quite insipid if you are not under fourteen. But for children, this game is fabulous.

Operation involves surgically removing little pieces from cleverly constructed wells in a board. Should your tweezers come into contact with the edges of the wells, an electronic buzzer alerts everyone to your clumsiness. Successful operations win you prestige and cash. Unsuccessful operations gain you nothing more than scorn and laughter.

The game requires hand-eye coordination at varying levels. Some of the pieces, like the bread basket, are fairly easy to pick up. Others, notoriously the wishbone, are much harder. The buzzer sound is both annoying and shocking, so that if you are playing everyone jumps a bit. If you’re in another room trying to read, it will drive you quickly to distraction. Of course the giggles should do that all by themselves.

The game is charming and well-conceived. The set-up is minimal, and the rules are flexible. THe major disadvantage with the game is its re-playability. Once you’ve played it a few times, it really is the same old thing each time. For children, this isn’t a disadvantage at all, but as kids near puberty it will lose its charm very quickly.

With the advent and ubiquitous presence of video games, something as static and one-dimensional as this game, may not have the lasting power of other board games.