Selection methods


Selection methods

Selection methods are common techniques used to determine certain initial settings in games and other activities. These initial settings may be which player starts or gets a particular end of a pitch or takes on a particular role.

Some selection methods are more or less truly random (e.g. coin toss) and some involve a certain amount of skill, often psychological (e.g. Rock, Paper, Scissors).

Common selection methods

Coin toss

Used in many sports for choice of ends, kick off, who is to bat first etc.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock, paper, scissors is a simultaneous action selection method in which each possible choice has an equal chance of winning.

puds up

Each person puts their fists forward (their 'spuds' meaning potatoes). One person chants "One potato, two potato, three potato four, five potato, six potato, seven potato, more." with each word pointing to the next spud going round clockwise. The 'spud' on which the word "more" falls is eliminated and the player holds that hand behind their back. The chant starts again from the next spud. When a player has both their spuds eliminated they are out until there is only one winner. If you are smart enough, you can "rig" the game by knowing the progression.

traight to London

This may be known by different names in different countries. It is often used in playground games to choose who gets to pick the first player. The two 'captains' stand a few metres apart facing each other and walk towards each other taking alternate steps. Each step involves putting the heel of one foot touching the toe of the other. The winner is the one who ends by stepping on the other's toe. One variation allowed half steps to try to gain the advantage.

Guess which hand

A small object, e.g. a pebble, is held in one closed fist while the other fist is empty. The opponent must choose which hand the object is in.

Nearest the bull

In some darts competitions one dart is thrown by each player (sometimes with their non-dominant hand) and the nearest to the bullseye gets to throw first.

Drawing straws

A number of straws equal to the number of contestants involved are held in the fist of one of the players. Each straw is of equal length except for one, which is shorter than the rest. The player holding the straws levels the tops so they appear of same length (hiding the short end in his or her fist). Each player then draws one straw at random. The player left with the short straw is the one selected. The person holding the straws never draws a straw but is instead "left" with whatever remaining straw that was not chosen.

Nose Game

The Nose Game is a game used to determine the order of something, much like drawing straws. Play begins when somebody touches his/her index finger to his/her nose. As soon as it is started, players try to be the first to touch their noses with their index finger. The last person to touch his/her nose loses, and generally is forced to do the unwanted task.

Pull out of a Hat

A number of options or names are written down onto pieces of paper before being folded and placed in a container (traditionally a hat). A nominated person then mixes them and removes the amount needed for selection.

ee also

*Counting-out game
*Odd or Even
*Dice


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