Toe Sham Bo

What is the first game you ever learned in your whole life? If you were born before the beginning of the 21st century, then the answer will probably be either Tic-Tac-Toe or Rock Paper Scissors. Both of these games are really fun when you are a small child, because you can challenge your friends and family anywhere, any time. But neither one of these games continues on into adulthood. A game of Tic-Tac-Toe between two adults, unless someone really isn’t paying attention, will always end with no winner. Rock Paper Scissors actually involves psychology (at least over multiple rounds) and there are, apparently, Tournaments and Leagues. However, for the average person, Rock Paper Scissors (or Ro-Sham-Bo) survives into adulthood as less of a game and more of a quick decision making process.

Well, someone at Zafty Games asked the question, “what would happen if I combine the two?”, and Toe Sham Bo was born. Toe Sham Bo is a card game for two people that consists of two decks of cards, one orange and one blue, and a single purple card used to mark the center of a tic-tac-toe square. The goal is to get three in a row of one symbol, either rock, paper or scissors, in your colour.  That’s the tic-tac-toe part. But you aren’t limited to just filling in the nine spots in the square. You can also cover up another card if your card beats it, Rock Paper Scissors style. There are also two special cards, Bomb and Undo. Undo makes your opponent remove the last card they played. Bomb beats all other cards, removing itself and every card under it. The game ends when someone makes a line (winner), or if a player cannot make a move (loser).

Gameplay is simple. Each player chooses a deck, blue or orange, then places the purple center card on the table. Both players draw three cards. Play a round of Rock Paper Scissors to decide who goes first. On your turn, play one card, and draw one card. You should always have three cards at the beginning of your turn. If you use a bomb or undo card, those cards get discarded.

This is two simple games combined into an equally simple game. However, we noticed that the first time we played was still a little bit confusing. That’s because you are trying to keep two ideas in your head at the same time, that you have never thought of together before. In even the first few games, one of us would get a line because the other was too busy concentrating on putting cards on top of cards. Or someone would play a card, and suddenly realized that they had made a line. Winning by accident, so to speak. Other than that, I can’t think of any other concerns. This is a fast, fun game to pass the time.

You can check out Zafty Games’ website at or their Facebook page

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