RPS-7

5/15/2003: What the heck is this, you ask? It's the classic game, "Rock Paper, Scissors," with the completely unnecessary addition of four additional hand gestures (no, none of them is the BIRD).

Just today, I happened upon another variant involving "Spock" and "Lizard" through a link on BoingBoing, one of my favorite blog sites. The really weird thing is that just a couple of days ago I was trying to figure out how to improve on the same exact game using Fire and Water gestures, etc., and now lo and behold, just a few days later, I happen upon that link!

So now, inspired by this coincidence, I made RPS-7 (Rock, Paper, Scissors, with 7 gestures). Incidentally, there were 5,040 90 ways (exluding rotations and reflections) of making this diagram, with only one solution.

Here's how you say all the gestures' relationships:

ROCK POUNDS OUT FIRE, CRUSHES SCISSORS & SPONGE.
FIRE MELTS SCISSORS, BURNS PAPER & SPONGE.
SCISSORS SWISH THROUGH AIR, CUT PAPER & SPONGE.
SPONGE SOAKS PAPER, USES AIR POCKETS, ABSORBS WATER.
PAPER FANS AIR, COVERS ROCK, FLOATS ON WATER.
AIR BLOWS OUT FIRE, ERODES ROCK, EVAPORATES WATER.
WATER ERODES ROCK, PUTS OUT FIRE, RUSTS SCISSORS.

You see? Each thing beats three things, and is beaten by the three remaining. The reason why there can be no six-gesture variant (or any other even number) is that half the gestures would be beaten by three, and could only beat two. There would thus be three undesirable gestures of the six. Since no one would want to use those gestures, you're back to three desirable ones and may as well just play Rock, Paper, Scissors!

...and in case this isn't weird enough, try RPS-9 next...


Copyright 2003 David C. Lovelace