Rock-paper-scissors is a hand game played by two or more people. The game is known by many names, including paper-rock-scissors, paper-scissors-rock, fargling, cachi-pún, scissors-paper-rock/stone, jan-ken-pon, kauwi-bauwi-bo, and rochambeau. 
The game is often used as a selection method in a way similar to coin flipping, drawing straws, or throwing dice. However, unlike truly random selection methods, rock-paper-scissors can be played with a degree of skill. Especially if the game extends over many sessions with the same player(s), it is often possible to recognize and exploit the non-random behavior of an opponent.
The players count aloud to three, or speak the name of the game (e.g. "Rock! Paper! Scissors!" or "Ro! Cham! Beau!"), each time raising one hand in a fist and swinging it down on the count. On the third count (saying "scissors!" or "Beau!"), the players change their hands into one of three gestures, which they then "throw" by extending it towards their opponent. Variations include a version where players use a fourth count — "Shoot!" — before throwing their gesture, or a version where they only shake their hands twice before "throwing." Others prefer a five count cadence by saying "Says Shoot!" before throwing their gesture. The gestures are:
The objective is to select a gesture which defeats that of the opponent. Gestures are resolved as follows:
If both players choose the same gesture, the game is tied and the players throw again.
Jason Simmons, a competitive rock-paper-scissors champion, claims that women tend to start with scissors, while the World Rock-Paper-Scissors Society states that males have a tendency to lead with rock. At World Rock-Paper-Scissors tournaments, scissors is statistically the least common throw.
Although the exact origins are unknown, rock-paper-scissors was popularized in Japan in the late 19th century and acquired popularity worldwide throughout the 20th century. Jan-ken-pon (じゃんけんぽん), or more commonly janken (じゃんけん), often transliterated in other ways such as jack-en-poy(tagalog), janken-po, etc., sometimes called rock ken (石拳 ishiken ), and known as rock-paper-scissors in the English-speaking world. The origin or the derivation of the name is unknown. ken (拳 ken ) is a fist in Japanese and Jan-ken-po is categorized as a "ken (fist) games" (拳遊び ken asobi ).
Janken is believed to have been based on two older ken games, sū ken (数拳, number competing game with fingers) and san sukumi ken (三すくみ拳, san sukumi means the freezing aspects of a snake, frog, and slug with fear). San sukumi ken has existed in Japan since ancient times, and sū ken was imported from China in the late 17th century; the name in China of sū ken is shǒushìlìng (手勢令). Ken games began to increase in popularity in the middle of the 19th century.
In 2006, Federal Judge Gregory Presnell from the Middle District of Florida ordered opposing sides in a lengthy court case to settle a trivial (but lengthily debated) point over the appropriate place for a deposition using the game of rock-paper-scissors. The ruling in Avista Management v. Wausau Underwriters stated:
Upon consideration of the Motion – the latest in a series of Gordian knots that the parties have been unable to untangle without enlisting the assistance of the federal courts – it is ORDERED that said Motion is DENIED. Instead, the Court will fashion a new form of alternative dispute resolution, to wit: at 4:00 P.M. on Friday, June 30, 2006, counsel shall convene at a neutral site agreeable to both parties. If counsel cannot agree on a neutral site, they shall meet on the front steps of the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse, 801 North Florida Ave., Tampa, Florida 33602. Each lawyer shall be entitled to be accompanied by one paralegal who shall act as an attendant and witness. At that time and location, counsel shall engage in one game of "rock, paper, scissors." The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location for the 30(b)(6) deposition to be held somewhere in Hillsborough County during the period July 11-12, 2006.
The public release of this judicial order, widely circulated among area lawyers, was intended to shame the respective law firms regarding their litigation conduct by settling the dispute in a farcical manner.
When Takashi Hashiyama, CEO of a Japanese television equipment manufacturer, decided to auction off the collection of impressionist paintings owned by his corporation, including works by Cézanne, Picasso, and van Gogh, he contacted two leading U.S. auction houses, Christie's International and Sotheby's Holdings, seeking their proposals on how they would bring the collection to the market as well as how they would maximize the profits from the sale. Both firms made elaborate proposals, but neither was persuasive enough to get Hashiyama’s business. Unwilling to split up the collection into separate auctions, Hashiyama asked the firms to decide between themselves who would hold the auction, which included Cézanne's "Large Trees Under the Jas de Bouffan", worth $12–16 million.
The houses were unable to reach a decision. Hashiyama told the two firms to play rock-paper-scissors, to decide who would get the rights to the auction, explaining that "it probably looks strange to others, but I believe this is the best way to decide between two things which are equally good".
The auction houses had a weekend to come up with a choice of move. Christie's went to the 11-year-old twin daughters of an employee, who suggested "scissors" because "Everybody expects you to choose 'rock'." Sotheby's said that they treated it as a game of chance and had no particular strategy for the game, but went with "paper".
Christie's won the match, with millions of dollars of commission for the auction house.
Because of its widespread use, the game has received substantial references in popular culture. Many television series poke fun at particular characters' incompetence at understanding the rules, or show how mischievous characters are often able to "win" the game by inventing new objects which beat all the others.
Players have developed numerous cultural and personal variations on the game, from simply playing the same game with different objects, to expanding into more weapons and rules.
With an odd number of choices, each beats half the weapons and loses to half the weapons. No even number of weapons can be made balanced, unless some pairs of weapons result in a draw; there will always be some weapons superior to others. These also lose some of the aesthetic elegance of the game, which is otherwise one of the simplest possible games of skill.
An example of an unbalanced four-weapon game adds "dynamite" as a trump. Dynamite, expressed as the extended index finger or thumb, always defeats rock, but is defeated by scissors. The paper-dynamite relationship is disputed; using it as a trump generally implies that "dynamite shreds paper," but there are those who claim that the paper would supposedly smother the fuse. Because of this dispute (and the potential unfair advantage that would result), organized rock-paper-scissors contests never use dynamite. A game theory analysis would eliminate one of the four symbol for being a strategy strictly dominated, and the resulting game would be isomoph to the original rock paper scisor (ie, only a symbol's name would change).
One popular balanced five-weapon expansion, invented by Sam Kass, adds "Spock" and "lizard" to the standard three. "Spock" is signified with the Star Trek Vulcan salute, while "lizard" is shown by forming the hand into a sock-puppet-like mouth. Spock smashes scissors and vaporizes rock; he is poisoned by lizard and disproved by paper. Lizard poisons Spock and eats paper; it is crushed by rock and decapitated by scissors. This variant was mentioned in a 2005 article of The Times, and appeared in an episode of the sitcom The Big Bang Theory "The Lizard-Spock Expansion" episode in 2008.
A resolution diagram of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.
Usually, though not always, the game starts by both players chanting "Saisho wa gū!" (最初はぐう！?, "Starting with the stone!") while pumping their fists to synchronize the moves.
They repeat the same pumping while chanting "Jan-ken-pon!" On "pon", the players show a fist for "rock" (ぐう gū ), index and middle fingers extended in a "V" for "scissors" (ちょき choki ), or all fingers extended for "paper" (ぱあ pā ). The exchange is won as determined by the rules:
Ties are broken by repeated plays, either accompanied by two more fist pumps with "Aiko desho!" (あいこでしょ！?, "Looks like a tie!") or the more rapid single pump with "pon!" There exist many other regional variations.
"Jan-ken-pon!" is the chant commonly said when playing the game. Depending on region, however, the chant can change. Sometimes, instead of "pon," players shout "hoi!" or "poi!" i.e, "Jan-ken-HOI!" or "Jan-ken-POI!" Phrases that sound nothing like "janken" are also used, for example "JikketTA!" In the Kansai region of Japan, it's not that uncommon to hear the chant "in-jan-HOI!" Initially, when players tie, the chant is "aiko deSHO!," with players revealing their play at "sho!" But when players begin to tie continuously, the chant is often shortened to simply "-sho," rapidly changing the play each time. i.e, "aiko deSHO! -SHO! -SHO!". In South Africa, the most common chant is "ching-chong-cha".
The rule "Saisho wa gū!" (最初はぐう！?, "Starting with stone!") is so popular, that sometimes players use this to taunt one another. For example, instead, a player will say "saisho wa pā!" (最初ぱあ！?, "Starting with paper!") Since "saisho wa gū" is expected, the player who is caught off guard will be made a fool of, since pā (paper) wins over gū (rock). But this only works if the players don't know each other, and both are assumed to want to play fair. If a player is a known trickster who likes to start off games by taunting, his opponent might, for example say "Saisho wa choki!" (最初はちょき！?, "Starting with scissors!"), and the opponent who thought he was being smart by starting off with pā will be shown up. These taunts are always in play, however, and they are never taken to mean serious games.
Kuma ken is another variation of rock-paper-scissors in which each player throws a number from 0 to 5. Higher numbers beat lower numbers, except that 5 is beaten by 0. The primary strategy for kuma ken is to realize that playing the numbers 1, 2, or 3 is pointless, as 4 beats them and everything they beat. Once both parties in a game of kuma ken realize this, the game degenerates into janken (play 0 to beat 5, play 5 to beat 4, play 4 to beat 0).
Combat or strategy-based video games often feature rock-paper-scissors-like cycles in their characters' or units' effectiveness against others. These often attempt to emulate cycles in real-world combat (such as where cavalry are effective against archers, archers have an edge over spearmen, and spearmen are strongest against cavalry.) Such game mechanics can make a game somewhat self-balancing, by preventing any one simple strategy from dominating gameplay.
Many card-based video games in Japan use the rock-paper-scissors system as their core fighting system, with the winner of each round being able to carry out their designated attack. A popular game involving an extended rock-paper-scissors strategy is Pokémon, in which attacks have varied effectiveness based on 17 elemental types and has a complex effectiveness chart, though the system is explained by the three basic types: FIRE burns GRASS, GRASS absorbs WATER, and WATER extinguishes FIRE.
The combat in the fighting game series Dead or Alive is largely a rock-paper-scissors mechanic, where a counter defeats a physical attack like a punch or kick, a physical attack defeats a grapple, and a grapple defeats an attempt at a counter.
Some class-based games, such as the first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 and the RPG Fire Emblem, use the same self-balancing mechanism. Certain classes are designed with clear strength or weaknesses against other classes, which encourages players to respond to the changing battlefield and coordinate their efforts. Fire Emblem uses a strict rock-paper-scissors system: sword is stronger than axe, axe is stronger than lance, lance is stronger than sword (and in a similar way with types of magic).
Rock-paper-scissors also featured in Sega's 1986 video game Alex Kidd in Miracle World. At the end of certain levels, the player would need to beat a computer character in a best-of-three game of rock-paper-scissors, in order to pass to the next level. The goal of the game is to defeat the evil Janken (who is named after the game) and his followers.
In Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja 4, when two players collide, one must press a button to determine rock, paper, or scissors. The winner then proceeds to attack the loser.
Both the Nintendo DS game Jump Super Stars and its sequel, Jump Ultimate Stars, use a battle system based on janken to determine the damage caused between battle characters. Each attack has three different types: Intelligence, Strength and Laughter, in which Intelligence beats Laughter, Laughter beats Strength, and Strength beats Intelligence.
A Nintendo DS game as well as a stand up arcade game, Dinosaur King also uses rock-paper-scissors strategy. Opponents' moves can be predicted (thanks to in-game clues), but as levels progress, the opponent "learns" the player's strategy and the player must then reverse strategy to be victorious.
Fighting game Killer Instinct 2 employs a janken-like system whenever two players launch special attacks at the same time: depending on the move used, it may cancel or be cancelled by the opponent's move. If, however, both players use the same move, the one that will strike will be the one launched first.
Rock-paper-scissors provides an example of a relation, 'beats', that is intransitive—"rock 'beats' scissors", and "scissors 'beats' paper" are both true, but "rock 'beats' paper" is false.
The common side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana) exhibits a rock-paper-scissors pattern in its mating strategies. Of its three color types of males, "orange beats blue, blue beats yellow, and yellow beats orange" in competition for females, which is similar to the rules of rock-paper-scissors.
Some bacteria also exhibit a rock-paper-scissors dynamic when they engage in antibiotic production. The theory for this finding was demonstrated by computer simulation and in the laboratory by Benjamin Kerr, working at Stanford University with Brendan Bohannan. The antibiotics in question are the bacteriocins - more specifically, colicins produced by Escherichia coli. Biologist Benjamin C. Kirkup, Jr. further demonstrated that the colicins were active as E. coli compete with each other in the intestines of mice, and that the rock-paper-scissors dynamics allowed for the continued competition among strains: antibiotic-producers defeat antibiotic-sensitives; antibiotic-resisters multiply and withstand and out-compete the antibiotic-producers, letting antibiotic-sensitives multiply and out-compete others; until antibiotic-producers multiply again.
Starting in 2002, the World Rock Paper Scissors Society standardized a set of rules for international play and has overseen annual International World Championships. These open, competitive championships have been widely attended by players from around the world and have attracted widespread international media attention. WRPS events are noted for their large cash prizes, elaborate staging, and colorful competitors. In 2004, the championships were broadcast on the U.S. television network Fox Sports Net, with the winner being Lee Rammage, who went on to compete in at least one subsequent championship.
|2006||Bob Cooper||Great Britain|
In April 2006, the inaugural USARPS Championship was held in Las Vegas. Following months of regional qualifying tournaments held across the US, 257 players were flown to Las Vegas for a single-elimination tournament at the House of Blues where the winner received $50,000. The tournament was shown on the A&E Network on June 12, 2006.
The $50,000 2007 USARPS Tournament took place at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay in May 2007.
In 2008, Sean Sears beat out 300 other contestants and walked out of the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino with $50,000.
The XtremeRPS National Competition is a US nationwide RPS competition with Preliminary Qualifying contests that started in January 2007 and ended in May 2008, followed by regional finals in June and July 2008. The national finals were to be held in Des Moines, Iowa in August 2008, with a chance to win up to $5,000.
The 1st UK Championship took place on July 13, 2007 then again July 14, 2008 in rhayder Powys. Steve Frost Powys is the current holder the contester this was WRPS Sanctioned
The 3rd UK Championships took place on June 9 2009 in Exeter, Devon. Nick Hemley, from Surrey, won the contest.
On April 3, 2009, Colonel By Secondary School in Ottawa, Canada, held the largest recorded rock-paper-scissors tournament, with approximately 1150 participants. The contest was throughout all the Grade 9-12s, and included teachers. The winner, Cody Lombardo, took home a trophy, and had his name in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Former Celebrity Poker Showdown host and USARPS Head Referee Phil Gordon has hosted an annual $500 World Series of Rock Paper Scissors event in conjunction with the World Series of Poker since 2005. The winner of the WSORPS receives an entry into the WSOP Main Event. The event is an annual fundraiser for the "Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation" via Gordon's charity Bad Beat on Cancer. Poker Super Star Annie Duke won the Second Annual World Series of Rock Paper Scissors. The tournament is taped by ESPN and highlights are covered during "The Nuts" section of ESPN's annual WSOP broadcast. 2009 was the fifth year of the tournament.
Although not a official event nor a sanctioned event, the Facebook exclusive contest brings a lot of interest into the sporting side as players who have not competed before the chance to play against Professional players in Competition. These players that have never had contest experience in Rock Paper Scissors are known as "Fake Players" or "Amateurs" whereas players who do play in sanctioned contests and play for cash sometimes use this tour as a warm up for the series. Online RPS is often referred to as "fantasy RPS" or "fake RPS" and is believed by many Professional players to be no substitute for the real thing. The contest is played online on a weekly basis via the application on Facebook "Red Bull Roshambull" in which it replicates a touring contest, with points being awarded for how well a contestant did in each Tournament, and after a set amount of Legs have been played, a Double Elimination playoff between the top 16 ranking players to decide the overall champion. There is a slight friendly rivalry between the Amateurs and Pro players.During the 2nd Series the rivalry heated up by a team event being created containing the best Amateur players taking on the Highest Ranked Pro players started up, dubbed "Pro's versus Joe's", in which the Pro players won with ease
The 1st Championships ended up with 79 players competing over 19 legs, with Alan Giles, an amateur player, of Fowly,UK winning the inaugural title
The 2nd Championship reached its climax with 2 Australian pro's Clayton Dwyer and Frances Anne Ricketts going into the Final leg of the Series only a few points off the leader Anna Kvalheim, but during leg 23 Anna was eliminated early on, leaving Clayton and Frances in the running.The Last leg draw gave the chance for the League title to be decided in the Semi's but with Clayton being eliminated early, Frances finished far enough to take 1st place. Alan Giles was eliminated in 25th place In the Playoffs Frances Anne dominated the Double Elimination brackets and managed to get to the final without dropping a point. It was only the final match of the series that saw her lose a match but beat Mark Thomas in the Final to see her win the series.
|Season||Final Rankings||League Stage Top 3||Team Event Winners|
|Summer 2009||1st: Alan Giles (A)
||1st: Mark Thomas(A)
||No Team event took place|
|Winter 2009/10||1ST Frances Anne Ricketts
(A) denotes Amateur Status