# Rock-Paper-Scissors systems

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questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

I learned from the very educated designers on this message forum that an RPS (Rock-Paper-Scissors) 5 is a system with 5 variables.

The question that I have is the following:

Does an RPS 5 need to have TWO variables beaten by each variable?

Or is it sufficient to only have ONE variable beaten by each variable?

The reason I am asking this, is because in refining my new card game, I have found that the odds of having one variable beat another was 40% (2 in 5) when there were TWO variables beaten. This was way TOO HIGH... So I simplified it and made each variable only beat ONE. This lowers the odds to 20% (1 in 5).

So instead of having X beats Y and Z, I now only have X beats Y. Is this still an RPS? If not, what is it (mechanic)?

Other reasons are that it is SIMPLER to remember that X beats Y as opposed to remembering X beats Y AND Z...

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Easy to remember

questccg wrote:
Other reasons are that it is SIMPLER to remember that X beats Y as opposed to remembering X beats Y AND Z...

In my card game that amounts to remembering that:

Light beats Death, Death beats Water, Water beats Fire, Fire beats Earth and Earth beats Light.

Simple enough to remember. The two variable system was impossible to remember and gave too many secondary bonuses...

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008
RPS implies that each

RPS implies that each possible combination tells you who beats what. In RP3, Rock beats Scissors, which beats Paper, which beats Rock. In RPS5 you should have two variables each variable beats, AND two that beat each variable. It sounds like you forgot that second part of the equation.

Beating only one thing (and being beaten by only one thing) is still fine, potentially, but in your example you'll have to figure out what happens when one player picks X and the other picks Z. A tie? If so, how is it resolved? In RP3 the odds of a tie are 1/3 (both players pick the same symbol), which is a bit high but not bad, especially if a "re-roll" is quick and easy. If you only have two combinations specified however (X beats Y, Y beats Z), you'll find that the odds of a tie rise to a rather unacceptable 3/5ths of the time.

It might be interesting to have a "tiebreaker" displayed BEFORE players pick. So for instance you know that X will beat every value but Y this round. So do you play the "trump" of X, or do you play Y hoping that someone else plays their X? Or do you double-reverse and play the thing that beats Y? It would be interesting to see what emerges from a system like this, especially if the different choices actually do different things within the game.

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008
It's also trivial to create a

It's also trivial to create a player aid that shows all five values and who beats what. Here's one:

http://thebigbangtheory.soup.io/post/149589462/Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizar...

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Woah... need some clarification

ilta wrote:
Beating only one thing (and being beaten by only one thing) is still fine, potentially, but in your example you'll have to figure out what happens when one player picks X and the other picks Z. A tie? If so, how is it resolved? In RP3 the odds of a tie are 1/3 (both players pick the same symbol), which is a bit high but not bad, especially if a "re-roll" is quick and easy. If you only have two combinations specified however (X beats Y, Y beats Z), you'll find that the odds of a tie rise to a rather unacceptable 3/5ths of the time.

In my case I'm giving a BONUS to when a variable beats another. With RPS 5, I found there were too many times the bonus was applied. Almost once for each battle... It's a LUCK bonus not something that should happen VERY frequently. Also a player can use strategy and play the odds to favor the use of certain cards over others...

Quote:
It might be interesting to have a "tiebreaker" displayed BEFORE players pick. So for instance you know that X will beat every value but Y this round. So do you play the "trump" of X, or do you play Y hoping that someone else plays their X? Or do you double-reverse and play the thing that beats Y? It would be interesting to see what emerges from a system like this, especially if the different choices actually do different things within the game.

I'm not certain I understand this part... I would like it if you could explain this further... It sounds "interesting". But I'm not certain I understand fully...

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008

In traditional RPS use you want to ensure that each interaction except two players picking the same thing produces a "winner" and a "loser" (ie a winner is chosen 4/5 times). But if you're just determining bonuses AND you want them to happen infrequently then it's a feature, not a bug, when someone gets a result only 2/5 times.

Whether to call such a mechanic RPS or not really doesn't matter if it makes for a fun game.

The tiebreaker discussion got a bit abstract, so let's go to the examples you were talking about:

Quote:
Light beats Death, Death beats Water, Water beats Fire, Fire beats Earth and Earth beats Light.

So, I was saying, thinking you were interested in winners and losers rather than infrequent bonuses, what happens when Albert picks Light, and Betty picks Fire? How do you resolve that into a winner and loser?

Let's say that you added a deck of cards, one with each symbol. Before each round, you shuffle the cards and reveal one. That's this round's "trump" element; it beats every other element except the one that normally beats it. So if you drew "Fire" then this round, Fire beats Earth, Light, and Death, and Water beats Fire.

So, at first Albert wants to pick Fire, which is strong this round. But then he thinks "Betty will pick Fire, so I should beat her with Water". But THEN he thinks "Betty will think the same way, so to stay one step ahead of her I'll pick Death, which beats Water." And so on.

You can still get three null results in this scenario: both players pick Fire, one player picks Light and the other picks Water, or one player picks Earth and the other picks Death. All three still result in a tie. If you do this with four values instead of five, you get two null results. With three values of course you have no need of a trump in the first place, as discussed elsewhere.

And this gets even more interesting when Fire does one thing in the game (increases your army, for the sake of argument), Death does something else (hurts other players' armies), Water does something (increases your crop yield), etc. Then the out-thinking and counterbalancing creates many interesting choices, because now you're not just playing the Vinzinni "the poison is in this cup" mindgame, where all values are equal, you're also thinking about which thing you need to do that turn, and which thing your opponent needs to do.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Things to consider

ilta wrote:
Let's say that you added a deck of cards, one with each symbol. Before each round, you shuffle the cards and reveal one. That's this round's "trump" element; it beats every other element except the one that normally beats it. So if you drew "Fire" then this round, Fire beats Earth, Light, and Death, and Water beats Fire.

So, at first Albert wants to pick Fire, which is strong this round. But then he thinks "Betty will pick Fire, so I should beat her with Water". But THEN he thinks "Betty will think the same way, so to stay one step ahead of her I'll pick Death, which beats Water." And so on.

Okay... Now I understand: having a card which says for THIS round, that suit is a "trump". And I also understand the mind game behind it.

Quote:
And this gets even more interesting when Fire does one thing in the game (increases your army, for the sake of argument), Death does something else (hurts other players' armies), Water does something (increases your crop yield), etc. Then the out-thinking and counterbalancing creates many interesting choices, because now you're not just playing the Vinzinni "the poison is in this cup" mindgame, where all values are equal, you're also thinking about which thing you need to do that turn, and which thing your opponent needs to do.

Hmm... This is a very complexe idea. It would mean that the cards perform certain duties like in MtG. I'm not certain how I can integrate this into my game...

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008
Not really like MtG. More

Not really like MtG. More like the "roles" in Race to the Galaxy or Puerto Rico. Which role (elemental power) do you most need this round, which does your opponent most need, and what happens if you get "trumped"?

Like I said, I'm probably describing a different game altogether than the one you're talking about.