Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, or RPSLS for short, is a unique version of the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. This game was popularized by the hit television show, “The Big Bang Theory,” and has since become a popular game among people of all ages. The rules are simple: Rock crushes Scissors, Scissors cuts Paper, Paper covers Rock, Rock crushes Lizard, Lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes Scissors, Scissors decapitates Lizard, Lizard eats Paper, Paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes Rock, and as it always has, Rock crushes Scissors. But have you ever wondered what the science is behind these rules?

The game has its roots in mathematics and game theory, which is the study of how people make decisions in strategic situations. In 1950, mathematician John Nash developed a theory that showed how two people, playing optimally and aware of each other’s strategies, could reach a mutually beneficial outcome. This theory is the basis for game theory and has been applied to fields such as economics, political science, and biology.

In RPSLS, there are five possible outcomes: you win, you lose, you tie, your opponent wins, or your opponent loses. There are also five possible moves, and each move corresponds to one of the five possible outcomes. Rock, Paper, and Scissors form a circular relationship, where each move beats one and loses to the other. Lizard and Spock add an extra layer to this relationship, creating a more complex and strategic game.

The inclusion of Lizard and Spock creates a non-transitive relationship between the five moves. Non-transitive means that no move dominates the others, which allows for more interesting and unpredictable gameplay. For example, if your opponent plays Rock, you could play Paper, Scissors, Lizard, or Spock, depending on your strategy and what you think your opponent will play. This creates a higher level of complexity and makes RPSLS more challenging and engaging.

The game is also a great example of probabilistic thinking. When played optimally, the game has an equal chance of each player winning, losing, or tying. This means that luck plays a significant role in the outcome of the game, and players must consider this when forming their strategies. The game is also played quickly, which means that players must make decisions quickly and efficiently.

In conclusion, RPSLS is a unique and entertaining game that has its roots in mathematics and game theory. The circular relationship between Rock, Paper, and Scissors, along with the non-transitive relationship between Lizard and Spock, creates a complex and strategic game that requires both skill and luck. So next time you play RPSLS, remember the science behind the rules and use it to your advantage.