Summary: Players stand in a circle and repeatedly take turns showing 0, 1 or 2 thumbs up signs with their hands. Players take turns trying to correctly guess the number of thumbs that will pop up.
Ages: All. Recommended # of Players: A small group of 3 to 6 people. Messiness factor: No mess, no stress! Materials required: None. Recommended Setting: Indoor settings.
The Thumbs Game
The Thumbs Game is a simple game that has some similarities to Rock, Paper, Scissors, with some interesting variations. To begin, have a small number of players (ideally 3-6) stand facing each other in a circle, with their arms out and making a fist.
Playing the Game
To play the game, there are several turns. On each turn, each player repeatedly shows 0, 1 or 2 thumbs; all the thumbs are totaled up and one player tries to guess how many thumbs will show up. If the player guesses correctly, he wins that round. If he guesses incorrectly, it is the next person’s turn.
For example, if there are three players in the circle, there could be anywhere from zero to six thumbs that can go up, so each player guesses a number from 0 to 6. The game could proceed as follows:
Three players, Player A, Player B and Player C hold their hands out. It’s Player A’s turn.
Player A says: “2!”
At that moment, all players, including Player A, decide whether to show 0, 1 or 2 thumbs. Everyone has a split second to show their thumbs. If the total is 2 (correct guess), then Player A wins that round and gets the next guess. If the total is not 2, then it’s Player B’s turn. The process repeats.
Correct Guess: Version One – Remove a Thumb
If a player guesses the correct number of thumbs, he removes one thumb from play. The first person to have zero hands left in the game wins.
Correct Guess: Version Two – Hit the Others
A variation of the game, which is a bit more violent, is as follows: When a person wins a round, he is allowed to use his forefinger to gently hit the other player’s forearm the same number of times as the number he successfully guessed. If he guesses zero correctly, then he can hit the other players the maximum number of times.