The origin of this comes from indecision about who would play first in a 5-player card game. I vaguely remembered a game in which a 0 beats a 5 and any higher number beats a lower number, but my memory obviously had gaps. (Anyone have a clue what game I faintly remember?)
In the end, I took advantage of the confusion and declared myself the starting player. It didn't really matter, anyway.
But for future, I thought it'd be good to have a game that can establish these things more 'fairly'.
These were the meta-rules
1 - the game should have a definitive winner with any number of players
2 - it should take under 10 seconds to play and determine the winner.
3 - it should be simple to explain
4 - turn order should not exist or be irrelevant (if you needed to establish a turn order, we'd be back to square one!)
5 - toys should include nothing that needs to be carried - only language, our bodies and such. (Otherwise, rolling a die would have sufficed.)
These are the rules
- On the count of 3, everyone reveals a number of fingers. Thumbs don't count!
- If anyone has revealed a unique number, whomever revealed the lowest unique number wins.
- Otherwise, everyone who revealed less than the maximum number shown is eliminated and there is another round, only including people who showed the highest number.
Entry into subsequent rounds has a goal opposite to the winning condition - this should avoid stalemates.
The game will break if you ever get to 2 remaining players. At this point, you can play Rock Paper Scissors. I didn't entirely meet the first objective, given the possibility of draws (requiring multiple rounds) and the break-down if you reach 2 players. I'd give myself 3/4 marks for that one.
Hypothetically, there could be infinite draws, but given the theoretically small chance of this, I'm giving myself 3/4 marks for the 2nd objective too.
Objectives 3, 4 and 5 are a complete success. 4.5/5 - good going! Still, this design is obviously not 'perfect' so tell me if you know a game (or can devise one) that meets these criteria more fully.
I've not actually played this, but am recording it here as I can't see any issues with it and don't know any other game that fills this niche. What does everyone else do when deciding player order between 3 or more players (other than roll a die)?
If you're having trouble deciding player-order for a game with over 2 players (or need to nominate a winner for any other reason) and don't have a die handy, give this a go.
I know I will.
If you consider the hypothetical numbers shown by everyone else, you can determine what should be the highest number you should show.
I think it's foolish to ever show more than:
(i.e. divide the number of players by 2, round up, then subtract one from that total.)