This is a game just like rock, paper, scissors except more complicated and less predictable. An excerpt from
http://www.vtiscan.com/~samkass/theories/RPSSL.html
where I read of this amazing addition to the roshambo field of study:
Scissors cuts Paper covers Rock crushes Lizard poisons Spock smashes Scissors decapitates Lizard eats Paper disproves Spock vaporizes Rock crushes Scissors
Yes, folks, that whole 'Scissors decapitates Lizard' thing bothers me, too.
For the logic impaired, here's the Power table:

Scissors are:
-Vulnerable to Spock and Rock
-In power over Paper and Lizard

Paper is:
-Vulnerable to Scissors and Lizard
-In power over Rock and Spock

Rock is:
-Vulnerable to Paper and Spock
-In power over Lizard and Scissors

Lizard is:
-Vulnerable to Rock and Scissors
-In power over Spock and Paper

Spock is:
-Vulnerable to Lizard and Paper
-In power over Rock and Scissors

The last word in this sentence is false.

The hand gestures for the symbols are rock (fist), paper (hand flat), scissors (index and middle finger straight, others curled in), Spock (all fingers straight, with middle and index grouped together, and little and ring grouped together), and lizard (fingers flat, perpendicular to palm. Thumb comes up to meet them) (thanks to flanagan).

The cycle in this game is isomorphic to the elemental cycle of Taoist Alchemy (see that link for the details of the cycle). A nifty twist is that this provides two ways to win and to lose. One can be destroyed, or give aid to your opponent (losses); or destroy your opponent, or be given aid by them (wins). One could translate this into degrees of victory in a score tally or something...

It shouldn't be too hard to translate the Taoist elements into hand gestures:

  • Fire: hand palm up, fingers curled to be vertical
  • Earth: same as conventional rock
  • Metal: palm sideways. Fingers other than the thumb in the vertical plane perpendicular to your palm (metal in sheets, bent: man-made)
  • Water: palm flat down, fingers spread out in the same plane.
  • Wood: fingers gathered into as tight a space as possible, around the same line as your arm (emulating a log)
  • Also, I'm more worried about the "lizard poisons Spock" link than "scissors decapitate lizard". I know, I'm a speciesist bastard. Also, how does one go about disproving a person?

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