Rock Paper Scissors for the 21st century

Recall if you will the classic Rock Paper Scissors game.

Rock [symbol]!
Scissors [symbol]!
(Rock wins)

Paper [symbol]!
Rock [symbol]!
(Paper wins)

An update for the 21st century: instead of being limited to rock, paper, and scissors, you name a crime, any crime, and the most serious crime wins. For instance

Petty theft of a mars bar from a corner shop [symbol]!
Unlawful acquisition of an OAP’s liver [symbol]!

Here “Unlawful acquisition of an OAP’s liver” is more serious and thus the player who threw that would win.

Early players of the game have observed problems. One is that now you have to learn signs for arbitrarily complex crimes. BSL users would find this okay, I guess, or you could just write the crimes down on some paper. Another problem is that it may sometimes be difficult to determine which crime is more serious. This is easily solved by employing a team of legal experts to adjudicate.

On first glance there is a more serious problem: initially players will throw signs for relatively reasonable crimes, e.g. arson, but after an iteration or two will head towards nuclear holocaust and other impossible to defeat acts, thus making draws inevitable. This is actually a crucial feature of the game and not a problem (cf. Kahn’s Escalation Ladder or Blair’s views on Trident or Iran’s situation or Korea’s situation).


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