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What is the Game Rock, Paper, Scissors?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 July 2014
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"Rock, Paper, Scissors" is a hand game common among children. While the origins of the game are rather obscure, it is believed it has been played for at least 100 years in some variation. The game is known by different names around the world, including "Paper Scissors Stone" (UK), "Ching Chong Cha" (South Africa), "Janken" (Japan), "Schnick, Schnack, Schnuck" (Germany), and Chin Chan Pu" (Mexico); in other countries, it is known by the literal translation of the name Rock, Paper, Scissors, such as in Spain and South America, where the name of the game is Piedra, Papel, Tijeras.

The Rock, Paper, Scissors game is played by tapping a fist on an open palm three times, and then forming one of the mentioned items. A rock is represented by a closed fist, paper is done with an open hand and palm facing down, and scissors are represented by holding the first two fingers straight to form the letter V. Because the game is mostly one of chance, it is often played as a way of making decisions, in a manner much similar to coin flipping. Others play the game as a "best 2 out of 3" competition.

Some experienced players affirm they can guess the opponent’s object by carefully observing the way his fingers move before forming the object. By learning how to anticipate the other person’s moves, some players have become experts in winning at the Rock game; however, the game generally remains one of chance.

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The game is won by the person who chooses the strongest "weapon." According to the rules of the game, rock wins over scissors, scissors win over paper, and paper wins over rock. If the two players choose the same object, the game is declared a draw, and played again. Some variations of the game allow the players to hit each other using the winning object. For example, if the winning player formed a rock with his or her hand, he can use it to hit the other player’s "object. In this case, the players must agree beforehand on the strength of the hit.

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anon344997
Post 2

@anon162207: There is a modern version of the game which includes a lizard and a Spock sign. Search for "Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock" for more details, since adding those two new elements changes what beats what in the game.

anon162207
Post 1

Is there other objects you can use instead of rock, paper and scissors?

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