The Secret Hands Society
What is it?
My answer this week:
My game is a variant RPS where draws are resolved with fast-action tiebreakers.
- main playmode is 2P Competetive
- theme of visuals is a callout to Tank, Rogue, Mage
- art style is a homage to NES Ice Hockey [see below]
- 2 secondary modes
able to do- Single player mini-quest/daily beast event
unable to do- Meat Locker Secret Game [Ice Hockey clone]
This Week's goal: Map out the shell/ flow of the experience and the game's design - and explain to you [and me] how forcing tiebreakers potentially breaks the game AND makes it more enjoyable digitally.
RPS history and game theory.
This week was mostly research, mostly cut and dry reading. There was much TEDIOUS reading [of Wikipedia...] and the sources it referenced for what seemed like MINUTES.
If you take nothing else from this post, know this:
There is an official SOCIETY of Rock Paper Scissors players [aptly, The World RPS Society] and it is celebrating its current iteration's Centennial next year [100 years of existence]. The club itself was formed in 1842. It was and is taken seriously as a game, with professional contestants and tournemants.
As in, RPS was an Analog eSport [my uncle is now yelling across the hall something nonsense about how "sports" were a thing more than hockey, baseball, America or some crazy babble and that this is a bad joke... please omit it... stop typing what I am saying. You are still doing it you little sh...] Anyway, please have a look at the propaganda of their wonderfully-outdated webpage:
Seriously. Let's skim the history of the game thru the lens of the wiki...
It is truly fascinating to me that the concept of the game RPS has survived for so long; not only that, but RPS has had a strong presence worldwide for centuries in it's various hand gestures.
The game is first mentioned in the book Wuzazu [Xie Zhaozhi] and is said to have originated in/around Han Dynasty China [206BC - 220AD] as shoushiling.
Ken [hand] games were/are popular in Japan. Like since forever. The various Ken Games evolved in Japan to the current form of RPS. I personally liked reading about the version of Frog Slug Snake [Mushi-ken].
Japan's Jan-ken is credited for using the hand gestures we use in RPS. And RPS is a direct derivative of Jan-ken. SO. Rock Paper Scissors is basically Ninja Fishing and Jan-ken is Radical/Ridiculous Fishing [Vlambeer]. RPS: A cloned game. Wonderful stuff.
Although RPS is a game, it is also a theoretically perfectly balanced system with a simple algorithm used to balance other games. The idea of this system - which is free for anyone to use - doesn't need to be a game in itself. Some examples are Halo Shotgun-Pistol-Sniper balancing, Magic the Gathering Color system, POKEMON... any Tank, Mage, Rogue RPG... It is so old. So tried and true, it can be applied as a balancing tool for the player to utilize against other players, combining its theoretical balance with player psychology [note: uncertainty] creates DRAMATIC and TENSE moments of play. Those two buzzwords translate to simple fun. Sort-of...
You see, RPS is still an example of a perfectly balanced system in theory. And eventually, as a stand-alone game, there just comes a stopping point, a dying point. I believe the appeal of the game's quick resolutions and players' desire to predict their opponent's move have kept this alive since before little baby Jesus. Plus it is the ultimate dispute resolver.
Here's the game theory in its base form: A>B. B>C. C>A.
But the cool part is that it works with any odd number of choices. [3,5,7,9,11...222,456,365] The RULE is: besides itself [tie] the choice has an equal number of win-states and lose-states. So If there are five  choices there will be 2 choices it beats and 2 it loses to, and the same choice is a draw.
The dominant human strategy [to play one move always or much more often] changes the perfect balance into a cyclic invasion loop, which is pretty much the basis for LoL's meta. Which, I think, Is a pretty neat thing. One player develops an all scissors strat -> opponent adopts all - rock counterstrat -> scissor hands switches to all paper... repeat. Forever. All die. The end.
That... is all we need to know about Rock Paper Scissors. At least for now.
Finally, for those of you who read thru to the end or simply scrolled down, please have this video on perfect imbalance:
[thx Extra Credits!]
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