The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 19, 2013

Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock tournament to benefit Boys & Girls Club

By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor

JOPLIN, Mo. — Rhonda Gorham said the game looked fun when played on a TV show, so it should be a perfect fit for a fundraising event.

One slight problem: Her players need practice on the rules of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

"I'm going to have to practice," said the executive director of Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri. "We're going to have reference cards for our referees. But it is so different, and I don't have it memorized."

The game will be the highlight of a fundraising carnival to be held at 6:30 p.m. today. Money raised in the tournament will benefit the club's summer programs and scholarships.

Carnival games, inflatables, concessions and other family friendly entertainment will be part of the event, Gorham said. The centerpiece will be a double-elimination RPSLS tournament, in which competitors will do their best to outwit each other with hand signs.

Featured in several episodes of the CBS sitcom "Big Bang Theory," the game adds two signs to the standard game of Rock Paper Scissors. Created by Sam Kass and Karen Bryla, the variant makes it difficult to end with a tie -- each sign can defeat two other signs and is beaten by the remaining two.

The sign for Spock is the traditional Vulcan salute from "Star Trek," and the lizard is signed as a sock-puppet gesture.

Gorham said the game is random enough that competitors of all ages can play against each other in the tournament. The charm of the game, as shown on "Big Bang Theory," interested Gorham and other organizers.

"The show is very popular," Gorham said. "I thought the game might be a funny, fun thing that people would enjoy."

Corporate teams are welcome, but everyone will compete as individuals, Gorham said -- meaning that two people from the same team could face off at any time.

Want to go?

A Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock tournament will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri, located at 317 Comingo. The tournament also includes carnival games, concessions, inflatables, a Velcro wall, sumo suits and more. Tournament entry fee: $15. Carnival entry: $5. Details: 417-623-8072.

How do you play?

Here are the winning combinations of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, with different actions of victory to aid in memorization:

Optional: Winner of each round gets to say "Bazinga."