Operation is a dexterity game in which you must extract silly body parts from a hapless patient. In the course of the game you acquire cards which dictate that you must remove a certain piece from the body of the patient. To do this you use a set of tweezers that are attached by wire to the game board. If you are sloppy and touch the metal sides of the hole where the item is located, the patient's pain is indicated by a sudden buzzer and light-up nose. Successful extractions net cash, and the player with the most cash at the end of the game is the winner.
Various editions change the patient and the items to be removed, but the game stays the same in its essence:
Shrek -- just like the classic version, but with Shrek.
Simpsons -- Remove Homer's Bowler's Thumb, Pot Belly, Foot in Mouth, Rubber Neck, Trick Knee, etc.
T-Rex -- excavating bones of a T. Rex
Spiderman 3 -- healing all of Spiderman's ailments
Pit Stop -- manipulating various car parts instead of people-parts
Adam's Apple: in the throat; The Adam's apple is a colloquial term referring to the thyroid cartilage surrounding the larynx that becomes more visually prominent during puberty. Worth 100 points.
Broken Heart: a heart shape with a crack through it on the right side of the chest. The phrase "broken heart" refers to an emotional feeling in which someone is very sad for some reason. 100 points.
Wrenched Ankle: a wrench in the right ankle. 100 points.
Butterflies in the Stomach: a large butterfly in the middle of the torso. The name comes from the feeling in the stomach when nervous or afraid. 100 points.
Spare Ribs: two ribs fused together as one piece. "Spare Ribs" are a variety of meat. 150 points.
Water on the Knee: a pail of water in the knee. Colloquialism for fluid accumulation around the knee joint. 150 points.
Funny Bone: a play on the anatomical name for the upper arm bone (the humerus), and a reference to the colloquial name of the ulnar nerve. 200 points.
Charley Horse: a small horse resting near the hip joint. A play on the real charley horse, which is a sudden cramp in the leg or foot, that can be cured with massage or stretching. 200 points.
Writer's Cramp: a pencil in the forearm. Refers to the real writer's cramp which is a soreness in the wrist, and can be cured resting it. 200 points.
The Ankle Bone's Connected to the Knee Bone: This is not a plastic piece, but rather a rubber band stretched between two pegs at the left ankle and knee that has to be installed (this is the only piece which is placed into the board, instead of being removed). 200 points. The name is taken from the African-American spiritual "Dem Bones".
Wish Bone: located on the left side of the chest. A "wish bone" is a chicken bone which is traditionally used by two people to make a wish on. 300 points.
Bread Basket: a slang word for the stomach, this is a difficult piece to remove. It is a very small slice of bread, with only a small notch taken out of the top for grip. 1000 points.
In October 2004, a new piece was added to the original game as a result of a survey. The newer versions of this game now include the new ailment Ice Cream Headache:
Brain Freeze: an ice-cream cone located in the brain. Refers to the actual brain freeze, an ailment which occurs in the head usually after eating very cold foods too fast.
Contents (2004 Version):
Gameboard (w/"Cavity Sam" Patient and Tweezers)
12 "Funatomy" Parts
The kid's TV game show Shenanigans (1964-1965) featured a life-size Operation game as one of the games of skill.