As a Button Game


Just about everybody knows how to play Rock-Paper-Scissors, but in case you don't, it's a simple playground game, usually used to decide who goes first in some other game. The players hold closed fists up at about ear level and incant, "one, two, three, shoot!" At "shoot," the fists are lowered to about mid-chest level, and the players reveal one of three gestures.

The hand is kept as a fist.
The hand is flattened, palm down.
The index and middle fingers are extended from the fist.

The essential nature of the game is that each gesture is superior to one other gesture, and inferior to another. Rock crushes scissors (a win for rock), but paper covers rock (a loss for rock). Paper covers rock (a win for paper), but scissors cuts paper (a loss for paper). Scissors cuts paper (a win for scissors), but rock crushes scissors (a loss for scissors). In order to win, you have to outguess your opponent, and play the gesture that will beat the gesture your opponent makes.

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There's not a lot of strategy, but the game is strangely addictive, and since it's not just a matter of chance, it's actually useful for deciding between even sides in a dispute.

This game moves the arena of combat from gestures to buttons (slogan-style buttons, not clothing buttons).

What you need

How to Play

Setting Up

  1. Distribute the same number of buttons to each player. One may be enough, but two or three would be best. The buttons can be distributed randomly, or according to some pattern (e.g. one of each kind).
  2. Each player must wear at least one button visibly at all times while they are playing. A player need not wear all of the buttons they possess, but can wear one while keeping the rest in a pocket or bag.
  3. Announce the start of the game.

How to Play


  1. One button-wearing player can approach any other button-wearing player at any time and voice a challenge. The challenge can be simply, "I wish to challenge you in rock-paper-scissors," or something similar.
  2. The challenged player may decline the challenge, at no cost save to dignity.
  3. If the player accepts to challenge, both players choose a single button from among the buttons they possess, and present that button, indicator side down, at about chest level.
  4. The challenging player then incants, "one, two, three, shoot," or something similar.
  5. At "shoot," the indicators on both buttons are revealed.
  6. The challenge is resolved according to the rules of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  7. The winner of the challenge may claim the opponent's button and add it to their collection. The claiming is optional, if the winner does not wish to play for "for keeps."

How to Win

At the end of play, the player with the largest collection of game buttons wins. In case of a tie for the win, the players must complete a tie-breaker challenge.


Obviously, if a player gains the majority of the buttons that exist, that player can lock down the win by removing themself from the game "temporarily". This course lacks honor, however.

This game has not been endorsed by the World RPS steering committee.

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