Gamer janken, a way to decide a start player

Today I’ll introduce gamer janken(ゲーマーじゃんけん). (janken means rock-paper-scissors.)  It’s a way to decide a start player that Japanese board gamers often use.

If you do not know rock-paper-scissors, please refer to the link below before reading my explanation.

Did you understand rock-paper-scissors?  ...Okay, I’ll tell you about gamer janken.

If three or more players play rock-paper-scissors, a draw often occurs.  If you want to decide a start player in usual rock-paper-scissors, it may take a long time.  Therefore, someone devised an anomalous rock-paper-scissors that quickly determine one winner.  It is gamer janken.

Rule of gamer janken:

  1. All players play rock, paper or scissors like usual rock-paper-scissors.
  2. The player who plays the least hands wins.
  3. If there are two kinds of the least hands, compare them in ordinary rock-paper-scissors, and the stronger one wins. (ex. If there are one rock, two paper, and one scissors, rock wins.)
  4. If there is more than one winner, the winners play gamer janken again.
  5. If the number of all hands are same, all players play gamer janken again.

In most cases, we can decide one winner in one or two times of gamer janken.

All player plays a hand, and the player who plays the least hand wins - this game existed from long ago and it is called sukunaimono gachi(少ないもの勝ち).
Jun Kusaba, game researcher announced sukunaimono gachi janken(少ないもの勝ちじゃんけん)that is close to the current gamer janken in 2000. (I have introduced Jun Kusaba on my blog in the past. See Jun Kusaba, the great contributor to Japanese board game world.)
According to Table Games in the World, the name "gamer janken" seems to have been named at the game meeting "Wednesday's Association". (Some of my blog readers may remember that Makoto Tanaka, who later became the manager of Ten Days Games, had presided over Wednesday's party.  See Ten Days Games and Makoto Tanaka.)

If you and your friends are accustomed to rock-paper-scissors and you have trouble deciding the start player, gamer janken may help you.  Let's try it!


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