#LetsMakeWednesdays – Hack paper scissors!

May 20, 2020

Think of some of your favourite games and ask the people you live with about theirs. They might be table-top games, like snakes and ladders or monopoly, card games like Uno, or games you play with friends, like hide-and-seek. All of these games have rules that everyone follows, with an agreed winner. But what happens when we remix these games and change the rules to make something new? This activity is all about remixing your favourite games and seeing what we can create using our imagination.


Games board, 1581 – 1600. Mus. no. 567-1899 © Victoria and Albert Museum

Let’s remix a game!

Let’s remix the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors by changing the objects in the game to give it new meaning. Think about how you play Rock, Paper, Scissors. The reason it works as a game is each move can win or lose to the other moves (scissors can cut paper to win, but are smashed by the rock to lose).

What hand gesture can you make to replace Rock, Paper, or Scissors? Keep in mind that each move needs to win or lose to the other moves. For example, try rock, paper, cup (where the cup is broken by the rock, but the paper dissolves in the water in the cup). What hand gesture does the cup look like? Each round, replace a part of rock paper scissors until you have invented a totally new game. If you want to go a step further, you can add two more hand gestures, so there are five in total. With this game, each gesture needs to be able to beat two and lose to the other two. Draw out on a piece of paper why each gesture wins and loses to make your game. Why do you think it needs to be an odd number in order to work?

What other games can you remix? Can you add rules to your favourite games to make them more challenging, silly or fun?

Cup Final boardgame, 1952. Mus. no. B.52:1 to 16-2015 © Victoria and Albert Museum

Let’s make a cooperative game!

Most games you play against the people around you. These are called competitive games. But what happens if you change the rules of the game, so that you all play together to win? Maybe you could work together to stop aliens from invading, use an ancient map to find hidden treasure, or save an endangered unicorn in your back garden and return it to its home. Maybe you all have to ‘beat the clock’, and everybody needs to do their part in a certain time. Think of a story that the game takes place in, and how each person has a role that can help win together. The ‘baddie’ in your game can be spaces you land on a board that sets you back against your overall goal, or maybe a card you draw at the end of each round that can help or hinder you on your journey.

Your game can be a table-top game. Use an existing board game and remix it to be cooperative, or draw a new game board on paper and use small things around your house, like buttons or small toy pieces, as player tokens.

Or it could be a physical cooperative game, like working together to keep a balloon off the floor or a scavenger hunt!

Try taking notes of when it is too hard or too easy, so you can adapt the rules. An important part of game design is adapting and changing it to make it the right balance between fun and challenging.

European Travellers boardgame, after 1823. Mus. no. B.7:1-1997 © Victoria and Albert Museum

Show us your games using #LetsMakeWednesdays, and we might feature it on our social media accounts.

Want to take it further?

Want to make an online game of Hack Paper Scissors? Click below to see how you can build a remix of rock paper scissors in Scratch, an online coding platform, using objects from the V&A collections. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to code to play this.

There are instructions here, and you can see the project on Scratch.

This game was developed with 2019 V&A Videogame Designer-in-residence Matteo Menapace.

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