The Shadow Side of Gaming: Rock-Paper-Scissors

by Prof. Oddfellow (a.k.a. Craig Conley)

The classic hand game of Rock-Paper-Scissors has a shadow side — quite literally.  It’s played partially in the dark.  Each move casts shadows on the wall.  And the rules are reversed to whimsical results.


  • a blank wall – a canvas for shadow-casting
  • a lamp easily turned off and on (the sole illumination in the room)
  • two handy players
  • one scorekeeper/storyteller (scorekeeping is optional, a player may act as scorekeeper, especially if the lamp has a foot-operated switch)
  • spectators (occupancy not to exceed fire marshall’s restrictions, of course) (also optional)

When the scorekeeper initiates darkness, each player opaquely forms one of three hand gestures in front of the lamp.  At the count of three, the scorekeeper lets there be light, and the gesticulative shadows are writ large on the wall.

The so-called Rock is actually a Paperweight.

The so-called Paper is actually a Paper Doll (a butterfly, a bunny, a goat, or any other hand shadow figure the player desires)

The so-called Scissors are still cutting blades, but let’s call them Snippers just to be different.

(the woman and the rabbit on the wall) - Melanie Hayes

As a mnemonic, Snippers *need* to be sharp in order to fulfill their destiny, Paper Dolls *need* to be snipped in order to take shape and fulfill their destiny, and Paperweights *need* to rest upon Paper Dolls because everyone requires downtime to flatten out, relax, and recharge so as to fulfill their destinies.

There are three possible ties. In the traditional game, these are simply ignored. In the Shadow Game, these are celebrated as follows:

Leave a Comment

This site uses inline comments. To the right of each paragraph, a comment bubble with a + sign appears when you click inside the paragraph. Click the bubble to load the comment form.