Operation Rudolph

Operation Rudolph


If there is one game I remember fondly from my childhood it is Operation. I remember Cavity Sam with his light-up red nose and many ailments; Bread Basket, Butterflies in the Stomach, Ankle Bone Connected to the Knee Bone, etc. The initial concept for Operation was created in the early 1960s by John Spinello industrial design student. Spinello later sold the idea to Marvin Glass and Associates, a Chicago-based toy design company. Fast forward to 1965 Mel Taft, a game designer at Milton Bradley, created a surgery-themed game of what once was called Death Valley, and Operation was born. Operation is currently made by Hasbro. Over the years variations of Operation have emerged featuring cartoon characters other than Cavity Sam, such as Homer Simpson, from whose body the player extracted donuts and pretzels, as well as SpongeBob SquarePants, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Despicable Me 2, and Doc Mcstuffin Operation. USAopoly released a Family Guy version of the game as well as Disney’s The Night Before Christmas and Operation Rudolph. With Christmas fast approaching and Ford’s request to celebrate the Christmas holidays with people within your own household why not keep the kids entertained with game night and take a spin on a traditional board game with a twist? Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer version of the game features the Abdominal Snow Monster as the patient, with Rudolph’s nose lighting up when you hit the sides.

Operation Rudolph

Rudolph Operation

Set Up: Shuffle the doctor cards and specialist cards and set them off to the side in two decks. Place all the anatomy parts in their holes on the game board. Make sure the design/grooved side of the anatomy part is facing up. Shuffle the Specialist cards and deal them out face-up one at a time, so that each player gets an equal number. Play any extra Specialist cards out of the game. Then shuffle the doctor cards and place the deck face-down near the game. Then shuffle the doctor cards and place the deck face-down near the game board.

The Banker: Choose a player to be the banker. This player will pay the players for successful “operations.” The banker places the money nearby, in piles by denomination.

How to Play


The youngest player goes first. Draw the top doctor card from the deck and read it aloud. The card tells you which anatomy part to remove and how much you will get from the bank if successful. If you don’t remove the anatomy part successfully from the cavity and hit the sides, Bumble will roar and Rudolph’s nose will light up. If successful collect your fee from the bank and keep your anatomy part in front of you and place the doctor’s card out of play. If you are unsuccessful your turn is over. Replace the part back in the cavity and keep the doctor’s card in front of you. Now give the Specialist a try.

Specialist cards; All players including you look at their specialist cards. The players with the specialist card for that operation get to remove the anatomy part for double the fee. If the specialist is successful they take the fee from the bank and both doctor and specialist cards are not out of gameplay. If the specialist is unsuccessful, the doctor’s card gets placed face down in the bottom of the deck, the specialist keeps their card and the specialist to the left takes a turn.

Winning the Game

The game ends when all 12 operations have been performed and the player with the most money wins the game.


USAopoly has created a fun new twist on a childhood classic game. My daughter, husband and I had so much fun playing Operation Rudolph that I think it will be making many more game appearances well after Christmas is over! Operation Rudolph is also ideal as a math game as children have to count up their money.

Operation Rudolph would make a wonderful gift!



Rose DesRochers is a Blogger, Writer, product reviewer and Founder of Today's Woman. Please feel free to contact me if you are a company with a product for me to review.
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