Cat, Mouse, Dog! A Twist on Rock, Paper, Scissors


I brainstormed with another student, Mary, in my CS247G lecture, and together, we thought that an animal-themed version of Rock, Paper, Scissors would be fun, especially for kids. We took our love for Tom and Jerry and came up with Cat, Mouse, Dog, a new theme for the classic game. Plus, I propose a fun, new tie breaking system that has players race to make the animal’s associated sound, making it even more fun for kids and solving the lack of handling ties in the original version of the game.


To begin, one player says “Cat, Mouse, Dog” while both players show a fist.

After saying “Dog”, both players then reveal their selection with one of their hands. Their selections can be one of the three named animals:

  • Cat: 3 middle fingers up, thumb and pinky touching together, then flipped upside down. (It looks like two pointy cat ears!)
  • Mouse: All fingers touching together, facing outward. (As if you’re nibbling, like a mouse!)
  • Dog: Pinky and pointer finger up, middle, ring, and thumb touch together. (It looks like a dog’s face!)

The winner is determined as follows:

  • Dog beats cat
  • Cat beats mouse
  • Mouse beats dog

If there is a tie, then both players race to make the associated sound with the selected animal. Whoever says the sound first, wins!

  • Dog: “woof”
  • Cat: “meow”
  • Mouse: “nibble”


In the first playtesting session on Tuesday, players loved the theme and thought it was both cute and logical. However, at that point, the hand symbol for “mouse” was using both hands to perform the nibbling action, and the players reflected that it was obvious when the opponent was going to choose mouse since you could see if they were moving their other hand. So, I chose to change the hand symbol to only use one hand. Additionally, at the first playtesting session, we did not offer the tie breaker, so when we ran into ties, the players asked us what to do. This is how I came up with the idea to add in the sound tie breaker.

In the second playtesting session on Thursday, I played with Ghisly. Similar to the first playesting session, she loved the theme and thought it was “adorable”. She also noted how the structure of the game with the tiebreaker made her look forward to having a tie, which was the opposite of a normal rock, paper, scissors game. She appreciated the hand signals (especially the mouse one, which I found interesting since I thought it was the signal that was the biggest stretch). For things to improve on, Ghisly thought that it was a bit hard to remember who won in the different rounds (ie. who wins when one player has a dog and one has a mouse?), and she also wished that she knew how many times we were going to play (ie. best 2 out of 3).