Spoofing - Something I encountered after entering the military. It's a game of lots; something like 'rock-paper-scissors'. I've seen it used many times in my military career, mostly by shift workers. People working at positions which require a constant presence. The game is often used to decide who will go on a soda or snack bar run. It's a game of strategy and odds, a game of elimination where the loser is typically tasked to perform an errand for the others.
The Rules - Each participant begins with three coins. The coins are held behind the participants back. The participant selects 0 - 3 coins and places them in their game hand. That hand is closed into a tight fist (to prevent contestant peeking and coin rattling). The remaining coins are held in the off hand.
The game hand is then thrust forward in front of the participant. The off hand remains behind the back with the unused coins (if any). After each participant has selected a number of coins, and everyone has their game hand out front, the guessing commences.
Each participant in turn guesses the total number of coins contained in the game hands. The first person to go/guess is usually chosen by rank. RHIP - Rank Has It's Priveleges. The highest ranking person (or eldest if ranks are equal) goes first. After the first round, the person who guessed last in the previous round goes first.
No one may reuse a number. If one person selects '7' as the total, no one else may select '7' for that round. After everyone has guessed a number between zero and the max possible, the coins are revealed.
Everyone opens their game hand, and the coins are totaled. If someone guessed the correct number of coins, that person is out of the game. They now wait until, through process of elimination, one person remains. Snide side-line comments are usually proffered at this point.
The process is repeated, until there is one person left. This may take a while. Given some skill, deception, and a good poker face, the participants may continue 'spoofing' for some time. The last person standing is the 'stuckee'; the person who must go on the soda run (sometimes the loser might have to pay for the drinks as well), mop the floor, perform some errand or undesirable chore.
While the game is typically played to an undesirable end, I have seen it used to determine who gets to leave early, or determine the particpant for some other desirable task. In this version, the last person standing is eliminated completely, and a new round is begun with those who 'spoofed' out. In this case the game continues until there are two contestants. The last person to 'spoof out' is the winner. The last person standing is just another loser.
Military tradition? Like I said earlier. This game of lots is something I encountered in the military. I've played it at many bases, but have never encountered it outside of work, unless the person instigating it was military or former military. It may be that my exposure was limited to the military participants. My earliest exposure/recollection of Spoofing is appx December of 1987. If you are military or former military, and you've 'spoofed' before, I'd love to hear about it. If you're not affiliated with the military, but you've 'spoofed', I'd appreciate your feedback as well.
Spoofing became something of a competition sport at one of my assignments. We kept records of who won how many games. There was even a 'Spoof King' crown. The person with the worst record was humiliated by having to wear the crown while 'spoofing'.
Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail:
This page has been accessed times since 07 July 2003.