Operation is a battery-operated game of physical skill that tests players' hand-eye co-ordination. Made by Milton Bradley, it has been in production since 1965.
The game is a variant on the old fashion wire loop electric game popular at fun-fairs. It consists of an "operating table", lithographed with a comic likeness of a patient (nicknamed 'Cavity Sam') with a large, red light-bulb for his nose. In the surface are a number of openings, which reveal fictional and humorously-named ailments made of white plastic. To work, the game requires two large D-size batteries.
There are two sets of cards: Doctor and Specialist cards. The Specialist cards are dealt out evenly amongst the players at the beginning of the game.
Players take turns to pick Doctor cards, which offer a cash reward for removing a particular ailment, using a pair of tweezers connected with wire to the board. If a player successfully removes the ailment then they'll win the amount shown on their card. However, if the tweezers touch the metal edge of the opening during the attempt (closing the circuit), a buzzer sounds, the patient's nose lights up red, and the player loses their turn. The player holding the Specialist card for that piece then has a try, getting double points if they succeed.
The winner is the player with the most money after all the pieces have been extracted.
The game can be challenging, due to the shapes of the plastic ailments, and the fact the openings are scarcely larger than the ailments themselves.
- Adam's Apple: in the throat. Worth 100 points.
- Charley Horse: a small horse resting near the hip joint. A charley horse is a sudden cramp in the leg or foot, that can be cured with massage or stretching. 200 points.
- Spare Ribs: two ribs fused together as one piece. 150 points.
- Funny Bone: a play on the anatomical name for the arm bone - the humerus. 200 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.
- 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. 100 points.
- Wish Bone: located on the left side of the chest. 300 points.
- Water on the Knee: a pail of water in the knee. 150 points.
- Writer's Cramp: a pencil in the forearm. 200 points.
- Broken Heart: a heart shape with a crack through it on the right side of the chest. 100 points.
- Wrenched Ankle: a spanner in the right ankle. 100 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 unhooked. 200 points.