Fing-Fong-Fooey


Fing-Fong-Fooey is a game similar to Rock-Paper-Scissors, with the same purpose, to select one person in a group to be ‘it’.

While Rock-Paper-Scissors (also called Ro-Sham-Bo) works with two people at a time, Fing-Fong-Fooey is more easily used with a group of people.

It works like this:

Everyone stands together in a circle, and each person makes a fist.

All together in unison, count to three while saying ‘Fing-Fong-Fooey’, and move your fist up and down with the count.

When Fooey is reached, each person holds out one, two or three fingers.

Add up the total number of fingers shown for all players.

Starting from the person that called for Fing-Fong-Fooey, count counter-clockwise starting with the person to their right.

The last person counted is ‘it’.

Example:

John, Lee and Mary are deciding who will drive everyone to the beach. Mary calls for Fing-Fong-Fooey. John is to Mary’s right and Lee is to her left. Each makes a fist and counts together Fing-Fong-Fooey. On Fooey, John puts out 2 fingers, Lee puts out 3 and Mary puts out 2. The total number of fingers is 7. Mary’s counts to 7 starting to her right. John-Lee-Mary-John-Lee-Mary-John. John was the last person counted and is ‘it’. He is the driver for today’s trip.

A variation that works better for larger groups, is to hold out up to as many fingers as there are people in the group. If there are five people, each person can hold out 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 fingers. Otherwise there is an advantage to be one of the last counted in the circle.

This game was used in the TV show House M.D. in the first episode of season 7. Dr. Taub calls for Fing-Fong-Fooey with Dr. Chase and Dr. Foreman. Dr. Taub holds out two fingers, Dr. Foreman holds out two fingers, and Dr. Chase holds out one finger. The total number of fingers is five. Starting with Dr. Foreman who is to the right of Dr. Taub, the count goes Foreman-Chase-Taub-Foreman-Chase. Dr. Chase is ‘it’.

The game is alternately called Fing-Fong-Phooey, although the preferred spelling is Fing-Fong-Fooey.

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  • Ivanalp

    Hey! When I watched the episode I couldn’t make up the name of the game… So, thanks for the explanation! I have a question though: here in Brazil we have something similar, but it’s called “Two or One” (a free translation… 🙂 You also need a group of people, but you can hold out only one or two fingers. Whoever has a different number from the rest is the “it” you mentioned. From the clip I thought that’s what had happened, because Chase is the only one with one finger. But, from your explanation, I guess our games are different, right? 🙂

    • Two or One does sound similar, but different. Your method can result in a tie, and then you’d have to go again. Like in Rock-Paper-Scissors, if two people hold up the same thing, they go again. There are no ties in Fing Fong Fooey.