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How to Play Monkey-Robot-Pirate-Ninja-Zombie (moropinzee)

In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought I’d revisit my version of the classic rock-paper-scissors, or rochambeau, as it is sometimes known. As you can see from the schematic below, each thing can beat two other things, and is, in turn beaten by two other things.

The players both count to five (three), though it is obviously better to repeat the name of the game (Monkey! Robot! Pirate! Ninja! Zombie!). Each time you raise your fist and swing it down. On the fifth (third) count, you form your hand into one of the five gestures. (It is recommended that in addition to the hand gesture, you also add an aural component to this — see below for suggested noises.)

So, what beats what, and what are the gestures? What?

Moropinzee - monkey, robot, pirate, ninja zombee -- a five-hand version of rock-paper-scissors
Click to see a larger version

The monkey gestureMonkey

  • Monkey fools Ninja
  • Monkey unplugs Robot

Suggested noise: ee-ee-eek!

The gesture for robotRobot

  • Robot chokes Ninja
  • Robot crushes Zombie

Suggested noise: ex-ter-min-ate!

The gesture for piratePirate

  • Pirate drowns Robot
  • Pirate skewers Monkey

Suggested noise: arrrrr!

The gesture for ninjaNinja

  • Ninja karate chops Pirate
  • Ninja decapitates Zombie

Suggested noise: keeee-ah!

the gesture for zombieZombie

  • Zombie eats Pirate
  • Zombie savages Monkey

Suggested noise: braaaaaaaaaainsss!

Monkey-pirate-robot-ninja-zombie - click to buy the tshirt

There is a logic to the hand gestures provided, and with any luck they are perfectly obvious. Now, you may be wondering, “Mark, are you totally insane? Are you procrastinating, perchance? Or are you just bored?” The answer is yes.

Update: based on a scientific survey of the comments, Twitter and Facebook updates, “moropinzee” seems to be the easiest name for this game to remember. Someone also had the excellent notion that there could be a full-body dance to celebrate a win.

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Swirlee.com had an earlier concept, and I’ve come up with the hand signs, graphics and sound effects. (I’ve also seen it on some message boards too, so yeah, a little derivative.) Originally posted in March, 2009.


  1. MoRoPiNZee?

    I really love this concept but I’m afraid there is no way I could ever remember the rules, the hand gestures or the sounds.

    It’s like Rock Paper Scissors for Rocket Scientists.

    And I’m not good at science.

    But I’d love to sit ringside and watch a MoRoPiNZee smack down.

  2. Gotta go with Rock, Paper, Braaains… just to bridge the gap.

  3. david david

    Love this but who is the hand model? What a chubby wrinkly hand! Is it a fat 10 year old boy? Worst hand model bitchin cool concept.

  4. matt matt

    this sounds like one of the best things ever.

    I want there to an official sports league for this.

    Olympics, even.

    This is the stuff legends are sewn with.

  5. Matt Matt

    How about calling it Epic Battle?

    And don’t worry cardiogirl, I’m just about to graduate with a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics, aka Rocket Science, and I still reckon I’m going to forget the rules of this!

  6. Yeah, I really don’t see how we can add werewolves and vampires and make it doable.

    And those are the hands of a chubby 40-year-old you punk!

  7. 1. I think I just found my new game.
    2. hot hand model!

  8. Dylan Gilbertson Dylan Gilbertson

    The only problem is that pirates beat ninjas any day.

  9. Randy Randy

    You could call it “Monkey-Robot-Ninja-Zombie-Pirate.” That way the rules are right there in the name. Everything beats the two things that come after it in the name. Moronizeep for short?

  10. Mike Mike

    I laughed so hard at the Dalek reference for the robot. Great game by the way.

  11. Evan Evan

    Um, didn’t the modern version of RPS end up being Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock?

  12. It’s not immediately apparent to me what the monkey hand sign is supposed to represent, or how people quickly distinguish it from the zombie hand-sign. Maybe if the monkey were gripping a banana? Not very threatening though.

    Here’s a video mashup of Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Robots made from old movies. (Sorry, monkeys. Maybe next time.)

  13. sandra sandra

    I’m totally digging the monty python references here. On the count of five…

  14. Evan Evan

    To be consistant with Rock-Paper-Scissors (rules within name) it should be called:

  15. It’s supposed to be the monkey claw, so claw-ish.

  16. Billy Jack Billy Jack

    Am I the only one that thinks the pirate hand sign should look more like a hook than a gun? when I see a gun, I think western films, not pirates lol.

  17. […] Here’s a new version of rock-paper-scissors (monkey-pirate-robot-ninja-zombie). I’m still trying to figure out how to play this, but I got a feeling that once I do, it will kick ass. Still though, I think it would be cool to work in alternatives like extraterrestrial, Sasquatch, bear, or maybe even giant squid… I dunno, just a suggestion. No vampires though! Vampires Suck! …and not in the way they’d like to. Here’s a link. […]

  18. Pod Lowe Pod Lowe

    Why do none of you (with the exception of a select few) realize that this is just the old game of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock with different names! Hell, they even stole the t-shirt design completely! Twenty points from Gryffindor! This is an outrage, and the author is an outright plagiarizer.

  19. HB HB


    Rock blunts scissors, tenderises steak.
    Paper wraps rock, exposes Uri Geller as a fraud.
    Scissors cut paper, cut steak.
    Big Steak makes Uri Geller drowsy, makes paper greasy.
    Uri Geller bends scissors, throws rock at critics.

  20. zaid zaid

    Im with Evan, as the illustrious Dr Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) suggested, when Rock, Paper Scissors gets boring or to easy to predict, go for Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.

    The benefit being familiar hand signals and the new signs are easily recognized.

  21. Buksi Buksi

    Instead of the lovely quintet (Monkey-Pirate-Zombie-Ninja-Robot) I suggest the Five Chinese Elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood.

    What beats what:

    Wood feeds Fire;
    Fire creates Earth;
    Earth bears Metal;
    Metal carries Water;
    Water nourishes Wood.

    (or Wood absorbs Water;
    Water rusts Metal;
    Metal breaks up Earth;
    Earth smothers Fire;
    Fire burns Wood. )

    Wood parts Earth;
    Earth absorbs Water;
    Water quenches Fire;
    Fire melts Metal;
    Metal chops Wood.

    The hand signals for the game:

    flat hand palm down = Water
    flat hand palm up = Fire
    fist = Earth
    fist with thumb up = Wood
    siccors = Metal

  22. the monkey and zombie look too similar. Especially with the hand model you are using. I foresee a lot of fist fights coming out of this… which is the ultimate hand to hand competition.

  23. katelyn katelyn

    Only Daleks say “Ex-ter-min-ate.” Geez….

  24. Bruiser Bruiser

    Re: Buksi’s Eastern Elements Redo:

    This kind of Zen rendition is hands-down wrong! This is a violent Western game meant to threaten and intimidate with hand smacks and closed fists.
    Quenching, absorbing, and nourishing? That’s for wusses! Rock, paper, & scissors players want smashing and cutting. You are trying to turn hand-to-hand combat into a Gandhi-ass game! Go meditate somewhere else.

  25. […] Για λύσιμο διαφορών Το πέτρα μολύβι ψαλίδι χαρτί σποκ, το ξέρετε. Ιδού ένα ακόμα, ίσως και πιο ενδιαφέρον: Μαϊμού, πειρατής, ρομπότ, νίνζα, ζόμπι. […]

  26. I guarantee that one or more of us geeks will memorize the gestures and rules and you’ll see it online during the wait for the next summer blockbuster. It’s silly, it has odd rules, sound effects and obscure film/tv references. Total geek material.

  27. Hey, the ThinkGeek tee is a good design (as most of their t-shirts are) — I just thought the game was kind of lame.

    BTW, I’m not sure what happened to the site, but I got the idea, originally, from Swirlee.com.

    And I’ve updated the monkey to look more claw-ish, so it can’t be confused with the zombie.

  28. Dan Dan

    I’m not sure this can beat rock paper scissors lizard spock.

  29. If people didn’t take ideas and make them better we’d still be living in the dark ages. Anything with both pirates and ninjas in it gets my vote. Good work matey.

  30. […] Beyond Rochambeau… There are times when Rock-Paper-Scissors just doesn’t have the…  well, gravity that one feels is appropriate to the question being decided.  Happily, author and blogger Mark Rayner has ridden to the rescue with an altogether apt alternative:  Monkey-Pirate-Robot-Ninja-Zombie… […]

  31. […] Rochambeau: Here is the new version of rock-paper-scissors, or rochambeau, as it is sometimes known. As you can … The players both count to five (three), though it is obviously better to repeat the name of the […]

  32. I think I’ll have to keep a little notepad to remind me of all the rules. My vote is the monkey always wins.

  33. […] גירסת 2010 למשחק מציגה..: קוף-פיראט-רובוט-נינג'ה-וזומבי. בקרוב על הטישירטס הקרובים למקום מגורכם. אתגר לכותבים מתחילים: סיפור עלילתי קצר עם הגיון […]

  34. […] to learn how to play Monkey-Pirate-Robot-Ninja-Zombie? No, seriously, do you? Because here’s the page that shows you how (complete with “suggested noises” for each […]

  35. Mojo Brown Mojo Brown

    Saw this in the back of Marvellous Hairy, I have totally got to learn the effects for this. Memorizing this can’t be any harder than solving a Rubik’s Cube! Nothing like adding a bit of dimension to Rock, paper, scissors, classic stuff!

  36. Cipherthe3vil Cipherthe3vil

    Ninja Does Not Beat Pirate.

    Robot > Zombie
    Robot > Monkey
    Robot < Ninja
    Robot < Pirate
    Zombie < Robot
    Zombie < monkey
    *hour later*
    Pirate <<>><<<<<>>>>>>> *error, world has exploded. good bye*

    VS’ing Pirates and Ninja is like dividing by zero.

    How about Samurai and Knights instead ?

  37. @Dan: Actually, Monkey-Robot-Ninja-Zombie-Pirate beats Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock because it’s more original, but Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock beats Rock-Paper-Scissors because it is a proper extension, and Rock-Paper-Scissors beats Monkey-Robot-Ninja-Zombie-Pirate because it is the original.
    @Randy: I go for your name, because order does matter. Evan’s order is in keeping with the original, but MoRoNiZeeP is easier to remember.

  38. I’ve been having some success remembering MoPIROninZee. Interesting we all want to start with monkey. It all begins with the monkey…

  39. Due Trose Due Trose

    Maybe to go with the fact that it’s the updated ftw version they should be full-body conclusions. Like you do the dance the robot if you pick robot and the typical monkey dance says you’re monkey. Everybody knows the hungry for brains stance, a million martial arts stances and that just leaves the pirate. For which I’d suggest pulling a fake sword from its sheath with an “arrgh!”

  40. LIL Kid LIL Kid

    Me and my brother sing all the names in clock wise.

  41. DudeIt'sMe DudeIt'sMe

    WTH, Pod Lowe! First of all, It would be 20 points from SLYTHERIN, not GRYFFINDOR, and second, dude, orriginality doesnt exist.

  42. Azia Azia

    Basically, this is Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.
    Already done, just different names.

  43. paul warren paul warren

    this is just more “ninja > pirate” propaganda

Comments are closed.