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Picture the scene.

You’re in a group of people and a task has to take place. Maybe the task is a good one (it’s the last After Eight, maybe). Maybe the task is a laborious one (Your tennis ball is stuck in a tree, maybe). How do you work out which of you undertakes the task?

There is really only one way. This is that way.

Paper. Scissors. Stone.

The rules of this game are age old, and they do not change with the seasons. Each generation makes comedy additions to it (you may hear tell, currently, of a ‘Spock, Lizard’ addition, I warrant the Victorians had ‘Penny Farthing, Forceps’ or some such). Make the jokes, by all means, but don’t play the games in a way that they are supposed to mean something. They do not.

Playing the Game.

The first, and most important part of the game, is the start. You must start in the claw position, with your fingers spread slightly, hand facing down, ready to tap the table on the count. The count should be three. Three taps. It is often easiest to pre-empt it with the word ‘ready’, but tapping three times is critical.

Word has reached FIR Towers that certain factions do not start in the clawed position. These factions are wrong, and unofficial gaming damages the whole Paper Scissors Stone industry. To start with the hand in the stone position is favour that item within the game. The claw is open. It has to change to become something. It is the start point to form the three shapes.

After the three taps of the count, the hand should be raised in one of the well-known shapes.

Scoring the Game.

Between two people, this is easy. Scissors beat Paper. Paper beats Stone. Stone beats Scissors. Any ties, and you go again. You should always, with two people, play three legs. No more, no less. Three.

Between more than two people it becomes trickier. An elimination game commences. It is, in effect, lots of two-player games combined within a bigger game, with the lowest scoring player or players overall being eliminated each round until only one remains.

I’ve taken the liberty of sketching out a number of different games involving different players, using the code R=Rock, P=Paper, S=Scissors; the green ringed players commence (check out the ‘goal’ difference in their individual scores) and the red players are eliminated. Then the players ringed in green will play a game with the amount listed at the bottom, eliminating until either they’re down to two, or the elimination leaves only one winner (One scissors beating, say, two papers).

3-PPS

4-PPS

6-PPS

Winners and Losers.

Obviously, the winner is the player who remains until the end. Happy days. However, you may not be playing for a positive result; you may be playing for a negative one. If this is the case, then the eliminated players face off between one another, until only one ‘loser’ stands.

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