Oh, nuts! from Ideal (1969)

Company: Ideal | Release date: 1969 | # of players: 2-4 | Where to purchase: eBay

Released in 1969 by Ideal, the Oh, nuts! game had players scrambling for marble-filled nuts as they searched, swiped, and bluffed their way to victory.


Each player placed a nutcracker tray in front of them to keep the marbles they collected throughout the game.

A marble was inserted into each plastic walnut by pinching the nut open. All the nuts were placed in the tree trunk nut bowl placed between the players.

The spinner was sectioned off with the colours of the marbles used in the game: white, yellow, green, black, blue, and red. A player was chosen to be the spinner and caller for the turn. That player spun the yellow arrow and called out the colour to which the arrow pointed. Players quickly grabbed a walnut from the tree trunk nut bowl.

Players peeked inside the walnut they chose. The goal was to gather a marble in the colour that had been called out, or a clear marble. It their marble matched the spinner, a players called out the colour. If they had captured a clear marble, they called out “clear”. The first player to call then played the turn through to completion.

If none of the players was successful in a round, they continued to take walnuts from the nut bowl until a player called out. Players confident in their bluffing skills could choose to call out the spun colour (or clear) even if their marble was not a match.

Once a player called out, the game paused to give opponents the opportunity to catch a bluff. Each player was asked if they wished to challenge the call. If the call went unchallenged, the player put the coloured marble in their nutcracker tray and returned the empty shell to the nut bowl. If a player selected a clear marble and no one challenged the call, that player took a marble from any opponent’s nutcracker tray and put the clear marble back in the walnut and into the nut bowl.

If an opponent challenged the call and successfully caught a bluff, the bluffing player gave their marble to that opponent. If the player was being truthful in their call and the challenge was unwarranted, the player kept the marble and took one of the challenging opponent’s marbles (or took a nut from the nut bowl if the opponent didn’t have any marbles).

Once a marble was removed from a walnut, the empty nutshell went back into the nut bowl — an action that could prevent a player from being the first to call out during that turn. If an empty nut was chosen from the tray, it was returned and another one chosen.

Gameplay continued in the same pattern until a player was the first to gather three marbles of the same colour, thus winning the game.


A complete Oh, nuts! game included one tree trunk nut bowl, four nutcracker trays (red, yellow, blue, and green), 20 walnuts, 20 marbles (three each of white, yellow, green, black, blue, red and two clear), and a spinner. Instructions were printed inside the box top.


The simple play pattern of Oh, nuts! makes the game a good option for adults looking for a vintage game that young children can enjoy. Complete editions of the game might be hard to find given the game’s age and number of components. Most of the game pieces are simple to replace if lost or broken. The one challenge may be the plastic walnuts that might be missing or worn from previous use.

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