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Topic: How important is it to have identical shells?
Message: Posted by: gnosis (May 20, 2019 10:23PM)
I'm thinking of making my own shells out of real walnuts. But, of course, each shell will of necessity be different from the rest.

Will this be a problem? How important is it to have absolutely identical shells?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Bones (May 21, 2019 09:18AM)
Some feel that having identical shells (or bottle caps, match boxes, or ??) adds an extra layer of deception.
Unless you're hustling an actual short con, IMO it makes no difference if the shells are different for entertainment purposes.

Any set made from "real" walnuts is obviously going to have different shells, as per the (now unavailable?) SFS Deacon Dan set, etc.
Done for entertainment, folks already suspect that you're in control of the pea, so it's largely irrelevant what the shells look like.

Making your own set from real walnuts is quite difficult though, as stopping the shells from splitting as you're working on them is an ongoing concern. You also need to reinforce the inside with something, or they'll split after you've made them and as they dry out.
I'm not sure I'd call making your own shells "fun", but it can be educational.
It's probably a better bet to buy a nice set from Al :)
Message: Posted by: sgiandubh (May 26, 2019 01:42PM)
I would second Mr Bones buy a nice set and save yourself much grief ! :-) I have made a few sets and they all ended up splitting they are not stable. A good set from Al or SFS look like the real thing and will last a life time.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Jul 2, 2019 01:46PM)
After the first couple of plays, the audience is aware that the pea does not stay under the shell it started in. The three shells can be three different colors and you can still take the money.

I recommend using Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty for the inside of the shell, or FIMO sculpting clay that can be dried in an oven. The inside should be a lighter color than the outside--it should be instantly clear that it is empty inside.

[img]https://i.pinimg.com/564x/6b/7a/ae/6b7aae4cbb40f2be6b19db99f95b2873.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Jul 9, 2019 08:52AM)
Years ago, Jim Swoger taught me to use Plastic Wood to line the shells. It never took that long to make a set, and I donít recall any of them splitting.
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Jul 16, 2019 07:16AM)
After loosing my set of artificial shells, I made several sets from real walnuts and love them. I coated the inside with wood glue and the outside with Modge Podge. I purposefully chose one shell that is different from the other two. I tell people it is that way so they think they can win. Splitting has not been an issue.
Message: Posted by: shellgame-al (Jul 17, 2019 12:49AM)
I feel this just speeds up the process of the player knowing they can't win. There is no con to the game right from the start.

As there never can be an error on the players part.

If the shells all look the same it is possible that the player could have lost track of the shell with the pea.

This is just my own opinion.
Message: Posted by: Zauberman (Jul 17, 2019 04:08PM)
Al brings up a really good point.....that I totally agree with.

It all depends on how you are playing the game with the audience, but if you are playing the game as an actual game (display), then they must be identical.
Otherwise there is no game!....you might as well not mix them up. It becomes a magic trick...transportation. How did the pea in the blue shell magically go the the red shell.
Which is fine if that is what you want.

But if you want to present the game as an entertaining con. Then you MUST have the audience believe they have a chance...that maybe the move happens when you click the shells together etc...

Like I said...it all depends how you present the con and what you want to achieve in your show/routine.

But for my presentation, I have found I get far more enthusiasm and response when the audience thinks they have a chance in winning. Perhaps I'm 'misdirecting them', they think, and switching the shells when they are not looking. Or some other devious means.

But soon as the 3 shells are different....it changes the thinking process of the spectator. No need to follow the pea with the shell. No need to focus. It's under the blue shell.

Like I said it all depends how you present the game. But for me anyways, playing the actual con with the spectators, they must not be able to see and differences.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Bones (Jul 17, 2019 05:23PM)
Use what you enjoy using, and understand that not everybody will think your choice (whatever it might be) is any better or any worse than any other choice.

1) I sometimes use Al's discs (large and small, and all identical)
2) I sometimes use Deacon Dan real black walnut shells (all different)
3) I sometimes use SFS solid silver shells (all identical)

I notice zero difference in the response from spectators when I use the above three completely different gimmicks for the same general demo of the original con, because they're watching and listening to [b]me[/b] ... not looking for minor differences in the props I'm using.

Horses for courses for all!
Message: Posted by: shellgame-al (Jul 18, 2019 12:13PM)
I agree with "Zauberman" when the 3 shells are different....it changes the thinking process of the spectator.


I feel if you use 3 shells that are different you need to make changes to your general demo of the original con display.

I have been making shell sets for many years and I have never had a request to make a shell set that the shells didn't match.

There are good reasons behind why no shell maker makes them that way. They wouldn't sell!

The only time I feel a different shell can work well is a final kicker shell at the end of your routine.



The different shell kicker is requested a lot.


Here is an example of using a different colored shell kicker.


I like to use 3 identical vintage shells with the dark-colored shell grain and end with a non-colored shell.

After the player has picked the wrong shell a few times, it will most likely be known that the pea will not be where it should be by now.

Now that the player thinks the pea will not be where it should be, a non-vintage shell with no grain color is replaced for one of the colored vintage shells.
(where this shell will stand out different from the other two shells)

Now you can most likely take advantage of the mistrust of where the pea should be. This looks too easy and most likely they will not pick the different colored shell.

On the final shell display, I like to have full control of the outcome. So I don't have a pea under any of the shells.

It is very easy to hide a pea where your hand appears to be empty and after the player has picked the wrong shell the pea is loaded into another shell as the shell is picked up off the surface.

I have found that it can work well not loading a pea under any shell at times to even control their next shell pick.

This can take some practice to do well. The key is to always have a relaxed hand with natural movements.


But, like I said before these are just my opinions and maybe different for others!