The Unarguably Anal
Rock Paper Scissors
Conflict Resolution Interface & General Jousting Arena


While this scoring system will certainly be useful to the RPS Warrior on the contest circuit, it was devised for the common person who plays spontaneously with his buddies,mates, friends, and kids. My hypothesis can best be explained by a couple of stories, which I will tell forthwith, but after a brief explanation of the terms.

Mean Deviation is how far the players deviate from playing absolutely evenly, with equal wins, losses, and ties in each category of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Mean Deviations usually differ between players in the same game. The system values the "mean", and penalizes the player who wanders farther away from it - a high mean deviation = no balance. In other words, if one player beats another player overall in the traditional way, but has a higher mean deviation, he may have a lower adjusted score than the loser. Contradictorily, the score of the player who plays to a very low Mean Deviation, his score will drop as well. This is explained in a "Woo Woo, Ya Ya" fashion in the second story below. One need not value this adjusted score, but it does point out that the player with the higher mean deviation is playing less balanced than the other player. (More at Rules => Theory).

Adjusted Score is as suggested above. It is a mathematical penalty to the "Wins" of a player based on his stray from the mean. Some will rebel at this idea, but let me tell this story (not one of the ones promised above). In 2006, the Budweiser sponsored USARPS group held an RPS contest in Las Vegas. When it was over, the final match between Dave "The Drill" McGill and Robert "Fast-Twitch" Twitcher was uploaded to YouTube. I kept the score, and which symbols were used, by Dave McGill. In this order, he threw WS, LR, WR | TR, LS, WR, LS | TP, WP, WP. As you can probably see above, Dave McGill won the title of Champ, as well as the check for $50k. If you run these plays through this scoring system, you can see that Dave's mean deviation is the lower of the two. I played the game twice again changing McGill's last throw to the other two possibilities, Rock and Scissors. One throw would have cost him the title and $, the other would have given him a tie with Twitch. Both alternate last throws would bring his mean deviation higher. Perhaps an anomaly, but at least provocative. Search this game with The Drill and Fast-Twitch. (I scored 3 more RPS championship games on YouTube: All proved my hypothesis.)

The Stories

Bubba and Lulu

Bubba was out at his favorite watering hole, and had been there a while drinking whiskey, wine, and beer. Sufficiently drunk and goofy now, he wobbles over and hits on a Blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. Shot down 3 times in a row, he stumbles out to his car and careens home, running over a dog, a cat, and a raccoon. He's really into 3's now, so, at home, he rousts his wife out of bed saying, "Get your butt out of bed, Lulu. We're gonna play us some Rock, Paper, Scissor".

Settled into their gaming positions a short, hurried while later, Bubba says, "Listen up, wench! I'm gonna throw Rock, and you're gonna throw scissors for all 27 games [Relational]. Don't make me slap you upside the head, now!" "Anything you want,hon", says Lulu. They play their game, Bubba wins 27 times, and in his bouncing jubilation, pukes all over himself before passing out on the kitchen floor.

This extremely unbalanced play in an obviously dysfunctional relationship has given both Bubba and Lulu a Mean Deviation of 84 - as high as it gets. And, though Bubba has won a whopping 27 games, his Adjusted Score is only 3.21 (does he deserve even this?). Lulu's score is 0, of course, and she probably deserves it for being such a wet dish rag. This is an extreme and silly example, but it illustrates how the scoring system works. Pretty bad, and pretty sad for Bubba and Lulu, as opposed to:

Rufus and Buford

Rufus and Buford met sitting at the feet of a wizened, old, skinny, little, cancer-ridden, cigarette maker named Nisargadatta in a remote village in the bowels of India. They had come seeking peace with the Cosmos, but in their spare time they played many rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Oddly enough, they had the exact same scoring system as on this site, and they noticed over time how their play was becoming more balanced and even.

They had been there quite a number of years, when Nisargadatta said to them, "You two have come very far in your studies and meditations, but you need something to push you over the edge. I will borrow from Buddhism, and give you a koan. And, because you are Westerners, I will give you a Western koan. You must read the little book, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James and give me decisive answers to these questions:

  1. Is the governess psychotically insane, or a tragic and noble saviour?
  2. Are the ghosts real in the story, or just a figment of the governess' imagination?, and,
  3. Were the children, Miles and Flora, possessed by the ghosts, and die and go insane from this possession, or were they murdered and driven insane incrementally in reaction to the governess's psychotic fugue?
[similar to the incremental murder of Little Albert by John Wattson, the noted psychologist?]

"You may read together, study together, discuss together, and meditate together if you please, but you have now received the sum total of my teachings, you know all that I know, except the answers to these questions. I have nothing more to say to either of you until you can answer these questions. Be Gone!"

Rufus and Buford retired to a small mount outside, but nearby the village. They took with them only a small bag of sunflower seeds, and vowed to eat only one a day while they studied and meditated over these questions. They kept their vow, but after many days and sleepless nights, going back, forth, up, down, under, around, and through the conundrums in this "evil little tale", they were approaching a state of aperspectival madness that was threatening to throw them into the same psychotic fugue that they suspected in the governess of the story.

Finally, Rufus said, "Hey, Buford. Let's take a break". Then he reached into his small satchel, opened a small package, and said, "Buford. May I offer you a Twinkie?" Buford, seeing the irony and humor in this, said, "Hell Yeah!" In the middle of their first bite, both their eyes flashed open, they looked at each other, and smiled for a moment. Then they spit out their Twinkie, packed up their meagre gear, and hiked back to the village.

Back in the village, they sought and were awarded an audience with their ugly little guru. Nisargadatta said to them, "Ah! I see you're back". Then, a bit sternly, "What are the answers to the questions?" There was a slight pause for effect, then both Rufus and Buford issued forth small, serene smiles with unwavering eye contact into the stern demeanour of their long-time teacher/torturer. Instantaneously judging the quality of both smiles, Nisargadatta put on his own happy face and said, "So! There you go! It's time for you both to move along now, as you know. But try to get back for a visit before this throat cancer gets me. Damn cigarettes!". Keeping their serene smiles through the words of their contradictory chain smoking guru, they all said heartfelt good-byes, and Buford and Rufus headed back to the city.

Back in the city, and after a small, but nourishing meal, they ended up at an Internet cafe to see what the world was up to, and maybe if anyone had emailed them during their long sojourn. They found out quickly that the world was up to no good, as usual, but at least it was understandable and non compelling now from their new perspective. Then, Buford happened upon this very site that you have happened upon, and Buford said, "Hey Rufus! Check this out! Some jerk stole our RPS scoring system and put it on the Internet! Pretty cool, huh? Let's play!" They played the Relational type game, and came out dead even, using each of the 3 symbols the same number of times, and winning, losing and tieing exactly 3 times apiece per symbol. Their scores were both exactly the same: Adjusted Score = 0.00, Mean Deviation = 0 (you can search for this game under their names and see what it looks like). This score seemed appropriate to both of them, reminding them of how their separate minds felt on the Mount, with a half bite of Twinkie in their mouths, and their eyes wide open.

They both went back into the "World" and carried on as usual, minus the angst that started them on their long, but worthwhile journey.

If you aren't bored or offended yet, more at: Rules => Theory

© Copyright 2006 - 2023 by Bill Hardin - Rock Paper Scissors Jousting Arena.