Redesigning The Rock-Paper-Scissors Game

I really enjoy reading blogs where the author shares his or her musings and anecdotal thoughts. I find that this gives a good insight into how that author thinks. Even better if these thoughts come from a designer. Check out Smart Design’s co-founder Tom Dair share his thoughts about redesigning the Rock-Paper-Scissors game. Tom argues that it does not seem logical that Paper trumps Rock, and sets out looking for a new Tri-factor that makes sense.

As I was growing up, my mom had a lot of advice, especially when it came to safety. I used to hear “it’s better to be a live chicken than a dead duck” a lot. Here’s another one: “if there is ever an electrical storm, whatever you do, don’t stand under a tree. The safest place during an electrical storm is in a car. The rubber tires protect it from the lightning”. One day some teenagers in a fast moving Camaro hit a tree down the street from my house. The car was totaled; fortunately the teenagers survived. Mom, as usual, had a rule to cover just such an event: “if you’re going to hit something with your car, don’t hit a tree. A car is no match for a tree.”

Once in a while, it is nice to read a post on Design Thinking that is fun, less serious, and not just about making money.

  • rock

    September 29, 2010 at 8:19 pm Reply

    Hey there, thanks for info.I googled this issue and got only this page.Really helpd me ! Farewell, Adam

  • Shannon

    March 22, 2010 at 12:48 am Reply

    why does car beat lightning? lightning beats all! lightnight would destroy a car, wouldn’t if it hit right?

  • Troy

    June 3, 2009 at 11:21 pm Reply

    Does this mean that a rewrite to the rules of rock-paper-scissors is in order? Maybe the USA Rock Paper Scissors League ( will sanction the changes.

  • carl

    May 27, 2009 at 12:48 am Reply

    This was a great post! Love the hand representations, ha. Although, I’m not sure if mom knows that its not the insulating rubber tires that keep you safe in a lightening struck car…eh, minor mom details. 🙂

  • Waikit Chung

    May 27, 2009 at 12:35 am Reply

    I love this game and still use it for some fun decision making situations. Interesting to see how logical western thinking from daily life can help redesigning a game with Chinese origins.
    Some Chinese people explain that paper(magic cloth) can undo the power of the rock (symbolic).

  • Steve Portigal

    May 26, 2009 at 12:12 am Reply

    Thanks, I hadn’t seen this in Fast Company – appreciate the heads up (and the perspective).

    • DT

      May 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm Reply

      Hi Steve! Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

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