Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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paper, scissors, stone – fillet steak.

bringing a new dimension to the traditional game.
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in the traditional game, there are just the three options to choose. paper defeats stone because it can wrap it. scissors are made blunt by stone and so stone wins. scissors defeats paper because it can be cut. there are three hand gestures to signify each.

the game works because every option has a chance to win but the addition of a new option could spoil the simplistic beauty. by adding fillet steak, the new winning combinations would be: steak versus paper – steak wins (as it bloodies and greases the paper). steak versus scissors – scissors win (as the scissors can cut the steak into smaller portions and that is a bad thing). steak versus stone is a draw (no-one wins as the stone is unharmed and the steak is tenderised and so is more yummy).

as to the hand gesture, I have been toying with the idea of a closed hand with the fore finger and the small, fourth pinky extended upwards looking something akin to the head of a cow / steer.

(vegetarians may prefer nutroast.)

po, Apr 30 2003

Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard http://www.samkass....theories/RPSSL.html
The traditional 5-way game. Can you guess the hand gesture for Spock? [hippo, Oct 05 2004]

The "Rock Paper Scissors" Google Directory http://directory.go...k,_Paper,_Scissors/
Includes online games, 5-way games, grudge matches, etc. [hippo, Oct 05 2004]

Rock Paper Scissors Bomb Bird Water Chopper http://www.gogomag....sp/rsp_matchups.htm
The 7-way game ("Chopper" as in bike - Paper blinds driver, Scissors puncture tyres, etc.) [hippo, Oct 05 2004]

Nut Roast for [world] sounds yummy! http://www.recipene...eggie/nut_roast.htm
for ideas (for hand gestures) that we are about to receive, we are truly grateful... [po, Oct 05 2004]

Uri Geller http://www.uri-geller.com/#
For those of us who don't know him ... yet. [k_sra, Oct 05 2004]

Grudge Match http://www.grudge-m...aper-scissors.shtml
[thumbwax, Oct 05 2004]

rock paper Saddam http://www.rockpapersaddam.com/
you probably don't even know pen missile! [Madai, Nov 23 2004]

RPS 15 http://www.umop.com/rps15.htm
"As usual, I had to sacrifice logic a few times when faced with certain odd relationships during the design phase, such as TREE-(???)-DEVIL. How the heck can a TREE beat a DEVIL? And how would *anything* beat a DRAGON, for that matter? Read on..." [Detly, Sep 26 2005]

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue http://www.bbc.co.u...4/comedy/clue.shtml
[hippo, Dec 10 2006]

Monkey-Pirate-Robot-Ninja-Zombie http://markarayner.com/blog/archives/1613
A page on how to Play Monkey-Pirate-Robot-Ninja-Zombie [hippo, Jun 27 2010]

Robot AI playing http://www.wired.co...6/rock-paper-robot/
check out this video of an unbeatable (due to gesture "tells") AI [theircompetitor, Jun 27 2012]

[link]






       As a vegetarian, I would like to know the symbol for a nutroast. BTW: What's a nutroast? Doesn't sound pleasant. Also, would a vegetarian always lose to the fillet steak? If so, I don't want to play.
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2003
  

       See link for 5-way game.
hippo, Apr 30 2003
  

       Or freestyle roshambo. On the count of three everyone creates a hand gesture that symbolizes something, and then they debate how their object could destroy the other objects.
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2003
  

       I'm a vegetarian, and I LOVE this.. Hand gesture can be accompanied by a bellowing MOOOOOOO !!
mahatma, Apr 30 2003
  

       My wife and I settle most of our decisions with rock, paper, scissors. It has avoided fights over who's gonna wash dishes, turn the light off, etc. Cheaper than therapy or divorce I guess.
goober, Apr 30 2003
  

       [hippo] I love "Paper disproves Spock".
krelnik, Apr 30 2003
  

       There is a fundamental flaw with [po]'s version of the game - she has chosen only four players. This implies that each player will have three links, one to each of the other players. For each player these three links will either be two losing links and one winning link or one losing link and two winning links. Thus there will be some players which are more likly to win than others.
For this reason, the traditional game, and the enhanced games (see links) have odd numbers of players so that each player can have an even number of win/lose links to other players.

Thus, I propose addding gravy:

Rock blunts scissors, tenderises steak.
Paper wraps rock, mops up gravy.
Scissors cut paper, cut steak.
Steak needs gravy, makes paper greasy.
Gravy rusts scissors, drowns (pet) rock.
hippo, Apr 30 2003
  

       //Thus there will be some players which are more likly to win than others. //   

       Why that would be the case?
waugsqueke, Apr 30 2003
  

       I was only thinking two players. is there a multi-player game?   

       [hippo] and its not logical to have steak makes paper greasy - bad thing and paper mops up gravy - good thing.
po, Apr 30 2003
  

       Wonderful idea, but I think the rules for Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard work better (no draws unless players use the same symbol). Though I'm still trying to figure out that Lizard hand symbol. A single finger would work better, I think.
DrCurry, Apr 30 2003
  

       And why would Spock smash scissors? Wouldn't this hurt his hand?
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2003
  

       Ack! I knew this was gonna turn into math. See ya.
snarfyguy, Apr 30 2003
  

       Worldgineer: I guess he brought his phaser along. But that ought to take care of everything else too. Except maybe water (are those things waterproof?).
DrCurry, Apr 30 2003
  

       [po] - sorry, by 'players' I meant 'objects' - it's still a 2-player game. And you're right, that is an inconsistency...
[waugsqeuke] - again, 'objects', not 'players'. I was illustrating that if an object has an odd number of links with other objects - as it would with a game where there are an even number of objects to choose from - then the number of 'win' links won't equal the number of 'lose' links. Some objects will have more 'win' links than 'lose' links and thus be more likely to win games when chosen.

Rock blunts scissors, tenderises steak.
Paper wraps rock, exposes Uri Geller as a fraud.
Scissors cut paper, cut steak.
Big Steak makes Uri Geller drowsy, makes paper greasy.
Uri Geller bends scissors, throws rock at critics.
hippo, Apr 30 2003
  

       now that is funny, [hippo].
po, May 01 2003
  

       // Some objects will have more 'win' links than 'lose' links and thus be more likely to win games when chosen. //   

       hoppi, sorry to belabour the point, but you've simply restated what you've already said without explanation. I do not see why an even number of objects to choose from results in some objects having more wins than others. I'm not getting the connection you appear to be making from the number of objects to the advantage of wins.   

       What's the hand symbol for Uri Geller?
waugsqueke, May 01 2003
  

       //Steak *always* wins..//
[Mr Burns]

"Rock paper scissors match."
…"Alright! Rock beats paper!"
"I thought paper covered rock."
…"Nah, rock flies right through paper."
"Well, what beats rock?"
…"Nothing beats rock."


-- Kramer and Mickey, Seinfeld episode
pluterday, May 01 2003
  

       waugs, the hand signal for Uri Geller consists of pointing your forefinger against your temple and rotating your hand in an unscrewing motion.
DrBob, May 01 2003
  

       [wagsqueke] Consider the four-object game where every object is linked to every other object (as *must* be the case for the game to work when two players are free to choose any object):

Rock blunts scissors, tenderises steak.
Paper wraps rock
Scissors cut paper, cut steak.
Steak makes paper greasy.

There is no way to construct a set of rules which is symmetrical - in the above set of rules Paper and Steak are, in the long run, likely to be choices which lose more games than they win.
hippo, May 01 2003
  

       you're right of course. the addition of Uri Geller is a masterstroke.
po, May 01 2003
  

       [po] ...and we can now play it online.

One
Two
Three
...

Scissors!
hippo, May 01 2003
  

       new steak every day.   

       [hippo]
1
2
3
...
  

       Uri Geller.
po, May 01 2003
  

       Damn!
hippo, May 01 2003
  

       The fact that there is an edge-imbalance does not necessarily make some choices superior to others. Suppose, for example, that one adds dynamite [beats rock (blows it up), loses to scissors (fuse is cut), and ties with paper]. Then scissors wins to either paper or dynamite, but this doesn't really mean scissors is better, since the new "dynamite" is simply isomorphic with paper.   

       Adding additional isomorphic choices does not change the essence of the game, but could help to discourage people from doing 'reflex switches' [i.e. changing their own symbol based upon what it looks like the other person is doing].
supercat, May 01 2003
  

       Freestyle roshambo would remove all such strategies and reflex switches.
Worldgineer, May 01 2003
  

       o.k. [world] play.   

       1.
2.
3.
  

       Uri Geller
po, May 01 2003
  

       BTW, hippo: imagine a game with ten choices 1-10 such that any number except 1 or 2 beats any higher number, 1 beats any number except 10, and 2 beats any number except 1 or 10. Horribly asymetric, and "1" beats more numbers than any other (8), but nonetheless someone who was known to always pick 1 could easily be defeated.   

       While much of the elegance of RSP comes from its symmetry, such symmetry is not required for a playable game.
supercat, May 01 2003
  

       You should have played stone there. sorry.
The Kat, May 01 2003
  

       You cheated!
snarfyguy, May 01 2003
  

       [po] 1 2 3 earplugs
Worldgineer, May 01 2003
  

       [world]   

       1.
2.
3.
  

       ??   

       what beats earplugs?
po, May 02 2003
  

       Not much, as silence is golden...
lurch, May 02 2003
  

       I cannot believe there are so many variations.
FloridaManatee, May 02 2003
  

       [supercat] Understood - it would be playable but, I think, not as interesting as the traditional game.
hippo, May 02 2003
  

       //[supercat] Understood - it would be playable but, I think, not as interesting as the traditional game.//   

       Actually, I realized after I posted that the rules as I gave them are, for a rational player, precisely isomorphic to traditional RSP. Do you see the isomorphism?
supercat, May 02 2003
  

       BTW, RPS reminds me of a nice little 'dice' game using three dice. One is labeled 1/6/8/1/6/8, one 2/4/9/2/4/9, and third one 3/5/7/3/5/7.   

       One player (the 'mark') takes a die of his choosing. Then the other player (the 'huckster') picks one and both players roll their die. Whoever has the larger number wins $1 from the other player.   

       No matter which die the mark picks, the huckster has a 55.6% chance of winning.
supercat, May 02 2003
  

       can you explain to me how that would work?
po, May 02 2003
  

       Simple form: the first die will beat the third 55% of the time, the second will beat the first 55% of the time, and the third will beat the second 55% of the time. The huckster just chooses whichever die will beat the mark's die 55% of the time.   

       More detailed form: Each die has three different numbers. Call them S, M, and L (Small, Medium, and Large).   

       L of any die will beat S or M of any other. M of any die will beat S of any other. So unless the dice come up SS, MM, or LL it doesn't matter which dice are used.   

       Of the three combinations SS, MM, and LL, any particular pairing of dice will result in one die winning two and the other die winning one. The huckster wants the die that will win 2 of those three combinations.
supercat, May 02 2003
  

       reread what you said before.   

       whats the combo that you get the winning number from?   

       I thought it was a straight throw. one person, one die, one throw.
po, May 02 2003
  

       My brothers used to include Dynamite (symbolised by sticking your thumb up) in an another wise simple game of paper scissors rock, in which dynamite would always win. It was usually used when one of us got bored of the usual hum-drum of paper scissors rock, and used dynamite as a surprise attack.   

       We eventually added hundreds of different competitors, such as Superman (symbolised by thrusting both arms forward in fists), who would save the day, in effect defeating dynamite. This was counter-acted one day when one of us used Kryptonite (which was symbolised by joining your thumbs together and your index fingers together, to create a diamond shape).   

       After many months, the game deteriorated into philosophical debate regarding the victor of two seemingly invincible opponents: "Captain Everything" and "Jehovah". Captain Everything, as his name suggest, could do everything (including kill Jehovah), yet Jehovah created Captain Everything and by his holy laws could remove Captain Everything's life (unless he bestowed upon him the gift of immortality, which of course would never happen because they are arch rivals).   

       The three of us soon realised that the original game of Paper Scissors Rock was the best, and so the moral of the story is, if it aint broke don't fix it.
spiritualized, Feb 09 2004
  

       so what beats morality then?
po, Feb 09 2004
  

       Immorality [po]. Much more exciting in my book.
hazel, Feb 09 2004
  

       Common Sense outweighs Morality. Morality converts Immorality. Immorality outlasts Stamina. Stamina limits Vice. Vice defeats Common Sense.
DrBob, Feb 11 2004
  

       I saw Uri Geller on TV a couple of days ago. He was starting stopped watches and clocks and bending spoons (who'd have guessed it!). He had members of the audience and viewers at home trying to bend spoons by following his instructions. As the camera panned over the audience, all with their eyes closed, rubbing their spoons, I got a glimpse of a woman with a look of grim determination on her face who was forcably bending her spoon with both hands. Later she was shown triumphantly holding up her now severely deformed spoon.
squeak, Feb 11 2004
  

       I always think "Urine Yella" when I hear his name.
squeak, Feb 11 2004
  

       I have to pee...
k_sra, Feb 11 2004
  

       //what beats earplugs?//   

       My neighbours.
Detly, Feb 11 2004
  

       Why do I even bother?   

       It's gonna take me a while to read this, but screw it!   

       here's 9 dammit!
K-trein, Mar 26 2004
  

       I'd like to see a version of this using real props.
Cunninglinguist, Apr 16 2004
  

       //what beats earplugs?// [po]   

       The truck that runs you down because you couldn't hear it honking at you?
GenYus, Apr 16 2004
  

       //the small, fourth pinky// oposed to the large 4th pinky?
youngtimer, Jun 12 2004
  

       //What's the hand symbol for Uri Geller?//   

       I would have thought that was obvious.
etherman, Nov 23 2004
  

       [10th Dec 2006] If you listen to the latest "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" (link), you'll hear the team play Cat-Glass-Pudding (Cat breaks glass, glass ruins pudding, pudding drowns cat), all chaired by the incomparable Humphrey Lyttleton, and with sound effects.
hippo, Dec 10 2006
  

       what no Uri Geller? Bah!
po, Dec 10 2006
  

       Gun beats man because he picks it up and uses it?
GutPunchLullabies, Dec 11 2006
  

       I think this is very inventive - a little gem drifting in a sea of mediocrity +
xenzag, Dec 11 2006
  

       But how does that work? If such a game has an even number of objects, each object will have an odd number of links with the other objects. Therefore there will either be more 'win' than 'lose' links or vice versa, and some objects will be more likely to win than others.
hippo, Dec 12 2006
  

       [hippo], such games can work, in the sense of being playable ([supercat] also makes this point in an earlier anno). For example, let's say:   

       A beats B and C, loses to D
B beats C, loses to D and A
C beats D, loses to A and B
D beats A and B, loses to C
  

       On the face of it, A and D have the best chance of winning. And since D beats A, you might expect players to go with D most often. However, the game is still playable, because people can learn. If you notice your opponent is throwing D, say, 80% of the time, then you'll throw C more often. Equally, if your opponent notices that, he may switch to throwing A or B more.   

       The 'D beats everything!' variants, on the other hand, are truly unplayable, since both players will do best to throw D each time and always tie.   

       That said, as a competitive RPS player and strategist, I would strongly argue that the elegant symmetry of the three-throw standard version of RPS makes it far superior to any extra-throw(s) variants, playable or otherwise.   

       Normal RPS already contains all the depth you could want. (As the great Wojek Smallsoa once wrote: "To the beginner, the choices are few; to the expert, the choices are many.")   

       Go well, and throw well.
imaginality, Dec 12 2006
  

       [imaginality]: Why would anyone pick 'b' in your scenario, since it loses to A but does not win in any case that A does not?   

       Actually, I think even-choice variations of the game may be constructed that are playable if one introduces the right sort of asymmetry. For example, a two-choice version will be playable if the first person is deemed to win when the symbols match and the second person when they don't. If one accepts this form of asymmetry, a four-choice (or even two-choice) version of the game might be better than the three-choice version since it would eliminate ties.
supercat, Dec 15 2006
  

       You're right; I think 'B beats D, loses to A and C' makes more sense above.   

       The two-choice variation you suggest would be playable ('odds and evens' is another game along similar lines), but while eliminating ties may be useful if immediate decision-making is the goal, it makes for a less skilful and less exciting game.   

       When RPS players win through skill, it is because they become aware (consciously or subconsciously) of their opponents' patterns. Part of this edge comes from seeing how their opponents respond to a tie, or a series of ties, can give a significant advantage. Also, ties heighten the tension, making the winning throw after a series of ties that much more satisfying.   

       For example, in our weekly RPS tournament at work today (where matches follow a best of three, best of three format), the score in the first semi-final was 1 set to 0, and 1 - 0 in the second set. Match point for one player, the other player battling to stay in the game. The players threw... and the second player clung on to her hopes with a tie. They threw again... tied again. After four ties, they paused for a moment, eyeing each other up. Then they threw again... two more ties. When the second player finally won that crucial point on the seventh throw, her opponent was shaken, and the momentum was now strongly with her. She went on to win that set, and win the final set to take the match. There was no doubt that that sequence of ties was the turning point in the game.
imaginality, Dec 15 2006
  

       rock paper scissors salt?
Stork, Dec 16 2006
  

       //Part of this edge comes from seeing how their opponents respond to a tie, or a series of ties, can give a significant advantage.//   

       Nothing says that each number must only be allowed to tie with itself.   

       Both people pick a number 0-9. If [10+A-B] mod 10 is 5 through 9, player A wins; if it's 1 through 4, player B wins. If it's zero or five, it's a tie.   

       Actually, having two sorts of ties (the "direct" and the "opposite") might enhance the game provided there were enough choices that ties didn't occur too often.
supercat, Dec 19 2006
  

       ////Part of this edge comes from seeing how their opponents respond to a tie, or a series of ties, can give a significant advantage.////   

       //Nothing says that each number must only be allowed to tie with itself.//   

       Sorry, I maybe wasn't clear there - I was referring to the variation you suggested which you said "might be better than the three-choice version since it would eliminate ties."   

       With multi-throw variants, the problem isn't a lack of ties; as you say, that can be kept at a reasonable proportion. The main flaws, from the point of view of it being a game that combines fun and skill, are:   

       1. It takes longer to detect patterns. With more throws, you throw each throw a smaller proportion of the time, and only the biggest deviations from average are easily detectable. The patterns are lost in the statistical noise for longer.   

       2. It's subjectively harder to spot patterns. In RPS-5, there are 25 possible outcomes compared to 9 in normal RPS. In RPS-15, there are over 200 outcomes. It's just too much to think about - and if both players are bamboozled equally by it, it effectively becomes reduced to a game of pure chance. I remember learning that most people can only keep a maximum of nine separate pieces of information in their head simultaneously, and there are nine outcomes to track in normal RPS - coincidence? (Well, probably. :) )   

       3. Practical difficulties: If you're playing face to face, with more throws to choose from, it's harder to remember all the throws in the first place (and then remember which beats which), and also potentially easier to cheat (e.g. in RPS-Spock-Lizard, players who throw paper and see their opponent also throw paper sometimes get away with quickly dropping their thumb lower to shift into Lizard, which beats paper). In normal RPS, the throws are easy to remember and clearly distinguishable from each other.   

       I'm willing to concede that a five-throw version (e.g. RPS-Spock-Lizard) could still have some skill to it, but higher multi-throw variants like RPS-15 are strictly just for fun (if that's not a contradiction in terms!).
imaginality, Dec 19 2006
  

       I had a friend who would always use paper... and if I used paper or scisors, would start to wiggle it slowly, and say it was lava.   

       Then if I tried to do lava, he'd say it was water, and his was a surfer.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 09 2008
  

       When I was at school we had the fingertips touching and thumbs touching to make a lozenge shape, we called it Black Magic. It would beat absolutely everything, guaranteeing a total win, but using it was dangerous because everyone would hate you, and shun you from playing for a while.
pocmloc, Jan 10 2012
  

       You might be able to design a game which includes "Black Magic" which is playable. For example, imagine a game in which a running score of points is kept. Then you could have rules such that:

Paper beats rock (winner gets +1, loser gets 0)
Rock beats scissors (winner gets +1, loser gets 0)
Scissors beats paper (winner gets +1, loser gets 0)
Black Magic beats anything except Black Magic(winner gets +1, loser gets 0)
Black Magic draws with Black Magic (both players get -1)

With these rules, which penalise both players playing 'Black Magic' you might be careful about playing it, although I think these rules still make it advantageous, overall, to keep playing 'Black Magic'.
hippo, Jun 28 2012
  

       I think before we can get into strategy and suchlike, we need to settle on a hand symbol for Black Magic. A jazz hands variant might work.
calum, Jun 28 2012
  

       I think you need a hand of glory sign. Or a real one.   

       For preference, do it for real, the scissors are very sharp, the rock in heavy and suitable for skull-crushing, the paper is corrugated into an effective shield, and the chainsaw wins every time, but each time it's played, the player loses an eye.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 28 2012
  

       [calum] - I don't think we've even decided the "Uri Geller" hand signal yet.
hippo, Jun 28 2012
  

       I think we have, and it's unflattering..
not_morrison_rm, Jun 28 2012
  

       Ah yes - that sounds right
hippo, Jun 28 2012
  

       Tofu, not nut roast?
Phrontistery, Jun 28 2012
  

       My money's still on the chainsaw, you can make something that looks like fillet steak in a moment...from readily available sources....
not_morrison_rm, Jun 28 2012
  

       Rizzla, Tobbaco, Lighter
S-note, Jun 29 2012
  
      
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