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Spoof

A fun bluffing game that practices skills in estimating and probability

You will need:

  • Three beans (counters, buttons or coins) per player
  • Paper and pencil (to record your score)

The Game:

Players sit around a table with three beans each. Each player has three live to begin with. (A simpler version could be played by giving each player just one bean and they can choose whether to hide it in their hand or not. Maximum will be equal to the amount of players.)

Each player decides how many beans they will hide in their right hand, (0,1,2,3) under the table, keeping the rest of their beans in their left hand.

When their choice is made they place their closed right hand (with chosen number of beans) on the table in front of them, keeping their left hand (with the remaining beans) beneath the table.

When all players are ready they take it in turns to make a guess as to how many beans in total are in the players hands on the table. (Minimum 0 beans and the maximum would be however many people are playing multiplied by 3 beans). No two people can guess the same number.

Once everyone has made a guess as to the number of beans being held on the table all players open their hands to reveal the true number of beans.
The person who has guessed the number correctly or is closest to it scores 1 point.

Everyone else loses a point.

Play another round taking it in turns to be first to guess how many beans are held on the table. Play as many times as there are people in your group to allow everyone to have a first guess.

The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.

You could record the results in a table like this

spoof scoring table

Some questions to think about while playing spoof:

Play in table groups: how many beans could there be Maximum? How does the amount of beans in my hand change what is likely to be the number on the table? Can I estimate from whether people are guessing high or low how many beans there are on the table? What is the chance of my guessing correctly?

Is it easier to guess a middle number if the amount of players is odd or even?

Helpful hints:

In the example there are four players; so if they all have 3 beans each there could be a minimum of 0 beans and a maximum of 12 beans held on the table.

It makes sense for the first person to make a guess to choose a number from the middle of the range (i.e 5, 6 or 7 in our example)

Because you know how many beans are in your own hand this might influence your guess (so if you have 3 beans you may guess high and if you have 0 beans you may guess low.)

The number of beans held in your own hand will have an effect on how many beans are on the table in total.

Watch this video for a different example of play:

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