Semi-Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissors

  • Sam Spiro
  • Erlang Surya
  • Ji Zeng


Consider the following variant of Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS) played by two players Rei and Norman. The game consists of $3n$ rounds of RPS, with the twist being that Rei (the restricted player) must use each of Rock, Paper, and Scissors exactly $n$ times during the $3n$ rounds, while Norman is allowed to play normally without any restrictions. Answering a question of Spiro, we show that a certain greedy strategy is the unique optimal strategy for Rei in this game, and that Norman's expected score is $\Theta(\sqrt{n})$. Moreover, we study semi-restricted versions of general zero sum games and prove a number of results concerning their optimal strategies and expected scores, which in particular implies our results for semi-restricted RPS.

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