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making RPS less random.

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 06/09/2017

i am toying with making rock paper scissors (rps) more complex. most of the approaches i have seen are to add more elements ie. rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock.
this is fun but the game is still basically a guessing game.
my solution involves cards. i have chosen 12 per player. 6 offence and 6 defence each with an rps symbol (i have actually chosen high, mid and low but it works the same). i am thinking a round is 7 moves.

if offence meets defence the attack either misses (no damage), offence gets past the defence (defence takes damage) or defence counters (offence takes damage)

offence vs offence means either one player takes damage or you both take damage.

defense vs defence means either a miss or one player gains hp.

this all means that if you are playing offence your more likely to deal and take damage. playing defence is safer but you wont deal damage (only a 1/6 chance).

i am hoping this gives a little more strategy but it still seems a little too random

part 2: the next step involves player powers (but i need a better name). each player will be given 5 and can choose 3 per fight. the powers will either benefit your offence or defence. they will also cost hp to put down so better powers make you a weaker fighter.

i am thinking these powers will give a clue to your opponents strategy ie if they have given themselves 3 powers that boost offence, they are likely to attack.

part 3: my final idea are combos. like powers but reliant on the previous turn. things like " if you attack after you successfully defended deal 1 damage"
it should be easy to track using the top card of your discard pile (orientation could show success or failure). again this will give a clue to your opponents move ie if they just successfully defended they might try to attack next to use their combo. i know they have no high attacks left so if i play high defence i can stop the combo and counter their attack.

i need to work out a lot of stuff but has anyone got any ideas so far?

Tim Edwards
Joined: 07/30/2015
A couple of things I

A couple of things I encountered while trying to do a similar thing with RPS:


Do the powers really give a clue as to your opponents likely choice?

They definitely do if I can use some skill in guessing what your powers probably are, AND you don't know what I've managed to figure out. But if YOU know that I know what you're powers are, we're just second-guessing each other - and basically back to a RPS situation.


It could be good to figure out a relationship between R, P and S which isn't simply that one beats t'other, but more that one has certain advantages over the other - and the significance of that advantage might depend on other stuff.

That's pretty muddy, but as an example:

Rock attacks are slow but do extra damage
Rock vs Rock exchanges - both get hurt

Paper attacks are fast but do less damage
Paper always beats a slower attack (but costs energy)
Paper vs paper - fastest scores

Scissors is defensive - it reduces damage from attacks (and gains some energy)
Scissors vs scissors - each gain essential energy, but perhaps not the same amount...

That kind of idea, anyway...

So there's still a natural triangle:

Paper will beat Rock in that it does the damage (but at an energy cost)
Rock beats scissors in that it did damage at no energy cost
Scissors beats paper in that paper used energy and only got a minimal payoff

Available energy and remaining hit points become a factor in determining how far one card can be said to have really bested another. Pyrrhic victories become a thing - which is always a good sign, I reckon.

"Yeah, ok. Your Paper beat my Rock, but...can you really afford the energy cost?" or
"Ok, my Paper didn't do well against your Scissors're on your last legs so it's worth the cost...maybe."

If your opponent's energy and hit points are hidden values but with ways to guesstimate them, all the better.

I'm might only repeating thoughts you've already had... :)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
1 idea

What if playing the same type over and over again, starts creating penalties? Like exaustion.

Paper beats rock by plus 5. But after the use of this rock, it is down to 4 or even 3 for a short period of time.

Maybe remove the penalty 1 by 1 every round. Something along those lines?

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Powers & Objectives

For feedback of a game I'm designing, it was recommended that I check out Raptor. I watched a video review of Sam Healy as he described it. It's a two-player, asymmetric duel game with multiple paths to victory.

Long story short: each player plays a card which has either a number for Action Points, as well as a Special Ability. The player that revealed the lower number uses the card's special ability, and the player with the higher number subtracts their opponent's card number from theirs to determine the number of action points allowed on that turn.

My point in mentioning this is that in Raptor, the varied objectives are handy in helping players determine their next action, and predict what their opponent will likely do. Additionally, cards previously played aren't retrieved immediately and are left face-up, allowing players see what possible options remain for their opponent. There are periods of less information or more information, depending on the game state, which I think is a nice touch.

All of this to say:

  • Do you have multiple, clear objectives beyond conquest through direct combat?
  • Is there a way to leave cards face-up and out of play until a later point in the round, revealing useful information as a round continues?
  • Are there any other opportunities to have public information?
  • Do cards have more than one possible use?

If not, then you may want to think more about your game along these lines in an effort to expand the game beyond flat-out guessing.

Joined: 06/09/2017
hi. thanks for the input

hi. thanks for the input guys.
firstly some amendments to my initial idea.
i have dropped the non combo powers- they seemed too powerful.
i have decided players will start with 25 hp and 12 random combos that cost 3 hp to assign- so if you add 8 combos you will only start with 1 hp, if you chose to have no combos you have 25 hp
i have made the damage dealt to a defending player x2 if they are hit to even out the attack/defend options.

tim; there will be a bit of second guessing, but with rps it is completely random - there is no relationship between your previous turn and your next- its always a 1 in 3 chance. or it would be if humans were better random generators. in my game your options are being cut down as your move cards are played (only 2 of each) and your/your opponents hp will have an effect (i hope).
i like you suggestion of having asymmetrical rps but i think it might complicate things too much for this project.

x3m; i think making the damage dealt for getting past defence double will help with turtling. i like your suggestion but i want to keep tracking to a minimum.
at the moment a round is 7 moves (1 more than the number of attack or defend moves) so if you have to attack or defend at least once per round. i may change this to 8 moves.

Joined: 06/09/2017
let off; • there is only one

let off; • there is only one way to beat your opponent to ko them (but i may put a round limit to stop it being endless) there are options in play though. ie to use the combo as a weapon or a bluff, to give up the chance to attack to try and heal etc.

• once the combos have been assigned they are open info, but only activated when you can meet their conditions. ie my last move was an attack and this move is a successful high attack.

• almost everything is either open info or partially open. combos are open, played moves are open, hp is open and moves left are partially open (you cant see them directly but you can figure it out by knowing what has been played). the only hidden info is what your opponent is currently playing.

• cards dont have more than one use.
i will also say cards are only retrieved at the end of the round so once you have used, say, both your high defence you are open to mid attacks, and cant tie against high attacks.

Joined: 08/01/2008
You could make victory with

You could make victory with different elements do different things. For example:

Winning with rock gives you one kind of point. If a player gets three points ahead in these points, they instantly win the game.

Winning with paper gives you another kind of point. If no one wins with rock after twenty rounds, the highest score with paper wins.

Winning with scissors allows you to gain a rock and/or paper point, but only if you're behind.

This means that the value of rock, scissors and paper changes with the game state.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
First, player need some

First, player need some information from their opponent to anticipate their move and not play randomly.

Another option could be relative to the cards available in a player's hand. It might be logical from my hand composition to play rock, and I'll be able to chain with other cards later.

Certain deck of cards, if you have 1 deck per character, could have strategy or behaviors that once your opponent knows the deck, they could try to predict what you will be doing.

Else a situation or a configuration could incite you to play a certain card. Like in Endless Space, if My ships are full of missiles, and I have a card that boost missiles, I am much likely to play that card.

Joined: 06/09/2017
hi larienna: each player has

hi larienna: each player has an identical deck of moves (6 attack- high, middle, low- and 6 defence) so you are limiting what you can play each time.
the combos will also give info. for example if one of my combo is "any attack + high attack: deal 3 damage" i can only deal that damage if...
a) the top card of my discard pile is an attack (i will need to plan a move ahead to setup the combo)...and...
b) i play a high attack that deals damage.
so my opponent can play somthing to stop me (high/low defence or low attack), try to execute their own combo, or go for a quick 1 damage or recovery.
or i might be bluffing, and i play defence and recover 1 hp. (i could get quite meta)

it would also be possible to link combos if you play your cards in the right order.

there is some fighter configuration. as each combo costs 3 hp to equip to your fighter, you can make a slow fighter (high hp, few combos) or a fast fighter (low hp lots of combos). you can also decide between more attack or defence combos.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I played a few fighting card

I played a few fighting card games, but can't remember their name.

One thing I hated is the fact that they were entirely focused on outguessing the opponent. I found it annoying because I sucked at that kind of game.

If I were to make a fighting card game, I would focus more on hand management. Trying to play cards to position your hand in a specific card composition and then unleash your combo.

It's like jabbing your opponent here and there just to keep your opponent busy while preparing for the right opportunity to do your real punch.

Tim Edwards
Joined: 07/30/2015
Just came across this while

Just came across this while browsing TheGameCrafter.

RPS features strongly. Might be of some interest.

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