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IBERnineD's avatar

How do you play Rock, Paper, Scissors?

Asked by IBERnineD (7309points) April 18th, 2010
43 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

I play Rock, Paper, Scissors all the time with my friends to help make decisions and even just for fun. What I have come to notice, is that there are many variations on how it’s played. So, here is what I would like to know:

1. Do you actually play “Rock, Paper, Scissors”? Or do you have a variation, for instance my friends and I also play, “Rock, Flag, and Eagle.” I have another friend who plays “Cockroach, Boot, and Nuclear Bomb.”

2. When playing, do you say, (with your preferred variation) “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot” or just “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

3. Before revealing your decision, what position do you keep your hand? I keep mine in the “rock” position, while I have witnessed others keep their hand in the “paper” position.

4. Then lastly, while reciting the aforementioned chant, do you smack your playing hand on the open palm of your other hand or just do it in the air?

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SheWasAll_'s avatar


Brian1946's avatar

1. I actually play rock, paper, scissors.

2. We just say, “Rock, paper, scissors”.

3. I keep my hand semi-closed, i.e. halfway between rock and paper.

4. We don’t really adhere to either one. Air or other hand is fine.

VohuManah's avatar

Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Chuck Norris.

kenmc's avatar

I like the ‘shoot’ at the end. It’s like an attempt to get the suggestions of the 3 choices out of mind.

And the hand must be in the ‘rock’ position before throwing your choice.

RPS is RPS is RPS. None of that extra stuff. Although the suggestions in your details reminded me of an AWESOME The Adventures of Pete and Pete episode.

Bugabear's avatar

I have a laser sword. It beats everything.

eden2eve's avatar

Reminds me of a Big Bang Theory episode, where the geeks played a very “Star Trecky” version of the game. It was hilarious! Check it out.

We always played it against the other hand. “Rock, paper, scissors.” Always starting out in the “Rock” position.

andrew's avatar

I prefer Kai-Bai-Bo which is awesome but must be played in person.

IBERnineD's avatar

@VohuManah Calling Chuck Norris is lame! It’s not exciting! That goes for your laser sword too @Bugabear

@andrew That sounds incredibly complicated, but very exciting!

andrew's avatar

It’s actually really really simple. it’s like a cross between that slappy game (where you make the other person flinch) and RPS.

IBERnineD's avatar

@andrew wait like where you put your hands on top of the other person’s? Or the ABCD hand game where you get to slap people?

mcbealer's avatar

omg I am so glad you asked this question… as I never heard of it until I was well into my adult years and still can’t seem to get it. Thanks to all the replies above as well!

IBERnineD's avatar

@mcbealer You are very welcome! Glad I could be of service! I actually taught my mother’s friend how to play the other week. I was in shock when I discovered she had never played it! Although she played a game like it, but with numbers.

Allie's avatar

1. Yes, I play “rock, paper, scissors.” And yes, I call it “rock, paper, scissors.” My friends and I also have a version we play with our whole bodies (not just hands) called “cowboy, bear, ninja.” This is oftentimes how we decide which team gets the balls during beer pong, or who has to hunt first when we play huge games of hide and seek.
2. It’s just “rock, paper, scissors”… no shoot. We just throw down on the scissors part. (or jump turn around on the “ninja” part when we’re playing that).
3. I keep my hand in rock position. I never really thought of it as a rock for this part, but more like a closed fist as if to signal that I’m keeping it a secret for now.
4. I’ve played both ways. Smack on the palm of the other hand, or in front of me midair. I think I prefer the hand smack way, then there’s no way to cheat. (Some people really push the envelope by saying they weren’t done with the motion and change from a rock to scissors when they see you’ve thrown a paper down.)

IBERnineD's avatar

@Allie I love the idea of “Cowboy, Bear, and Ninja.” I also like to smack my closed fist on the other hand because it just feels more determined.

WolfFang's avatar

Yes I agree I feel more emphasis while smacking my hand together when playing.
I’ve played this game since I was like 8 yrs. old and you always say “Rock, Paper, Scissors!” and you have to keep your hand in rock position or else it is cheating

MacBean's avatar

1.) Rock, paper, scissors.
2.) “Shoot” at the end.
3.) Rock position.
4.) What @Allie said, for the same reasons. ♥

Dr_C's avatar

I’ve been involved in a couple of misguided variations of rock-paper-scissors…

1) Usually I’ll play it the traditional way “RPS”,
2) shoot at the end (sometimse just count to 3 and “shoot” on 3).
3) I’ll keep my hand in the “rock” position only in order to not give away what I plan to use.

As for the variations… My friends and I (in various stages of drunken debauchery) have attempted to bring other activities into the game, usually involving what we’re doing at the time and sometimes not having the best results, especially since it usually involves some form of physicality.

One time (working on our cadaver in Med School) in order to pick tasks we used a variation with different instruments…. One of the guys needed stitches on the back of his hand afterward.

Another involved “wrestling moves”. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on that one.

My favorite involved variations on belly-flops at the pool. So much pain and so much hilarity.

RandomMrdan's avatar

with my hands.

RandomMrdan's avatar

There is a fun variation though, called “Ninja, Hunter, Bear”

Ninja beats the Hunter
Hunter beats the Bear
Bear beats the Ninja

But you don’t play with your hands, you play using your entire body.

You start facing each other, turn away from each other, and when you turn back on the count of three, you’re in one of 3 possible positions.

Ninja = About to karate chop someone
Hunter = act like you’re holding a rifle
Bear = paws up like you’re about to smack someone

It’s quite fun.

DominicX's avatar

1. I play rock, paper, scissors, yes. Except I refer to it as “Ro-sham-bo”. When I was younger, us boys came up with all kinds of silly additions to it like “force-field”, “gun”, and “bomb”, but the original remains and that’s the most common version I use.
2. I say “ro, sham, bo” like everyone I know does. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing, but that’s what people my age grew up saying.
3. I always keep my hand in the rock position.
4. I smack my non-playing hand, which is also in the rock position.

I can’t believe no one else here calls it “ro-sham-bo”. What gives? I remember as a kid I used to think “ro, sham, bo” was Chinese for “rock, paper, scissors”.

Allie's avatar

@RandomMrdan That sounds like my “cowboy, bear, ninja” game I mentioned above.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@Allie oh sorry, I skipped a lot and just answered… very similar… but hunter seems to make more sense, since cowboys don’t really go around killing bears =/, haha.

IBERnineD's avatar

@RandomMrdan Do bears go around killing Ninjas? :)
@boots Yes I remember that Pete and Pete episode!!!

RandomMrdan's avatar

@IBERnineD haha no, but if they did fight, the bear would most certainly win!

IBERnineD's avatar

@RandomMrdan sounds like I am going to have to ask a whole new question, because I think the ninja would totally win!

RandomMrdan's avatar

@IBERnineD haha, sounds like a fun one.

Strauss's avatar

@RandomMrdan , @IBERnineD I really think we should have the right to arm bears as well as the right to bear arms!~

lilikoi's avatar

I’ve never played ‘rock, paper, scissors’, only Jan Ken Po, which is the same game, Japanese name for it I think. You still throw rock, paper, or scissors, I’ve always shook my hand from side to side in the rock position, and throw whatever I decide to on the ‘Po’, but not on a fist, although I’ve seen other people do that, and everything else you’ve described except for the names.

WolfFang's avatar

@DominicX yeah i’m pretty sure that whole “ro-sham-bo!” is regional haha, some friends I know out of state say it that way

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

1. No, I don’t play rock, paper, scissors. It doesn’t make sense: paper covers rock, and somehow defeats it? Nonsense. The correct game is rock, scissors, and dynamite with a cuttable wick.

2. We say, “1, 2, 3, Shoot”.

3. I keep my hand in rock position.

4. Smacking hands is a must.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
chels's avatar

@IBERnineD I just have to laugh really hard at this question considering you’re asking after playing with @richardhenry (aka the worst rock, paper, scissors player ever).

IBERnineD's avatar

@chels he actually helped to in inspire it!!! And he really is awful at it

chels's avatar

@IBERnineD Hahahaha that is awesome.

LostInParadise's avatar

I have not played it in a while. I always thought of it as a variant of evens and odds (for two people) or odd finger is it (for 3 people), where you would hold out either one finger or two fingers. As I recall, we always said “rock, paper scissors.” I held my hand in a fist and shook it in the air, the same as I did for evens and odds.

nisse's avatar

here are some advanced tips for aspiring RPS-masters from the world RPS-society.

The first step for a beginning RPS player is mastering the 3-set gambit.

Also, from the same page: “Haven’t a clue what to throw next? Then go with Paper. Why? Statistically, in competition play, it has been observed that scissors is thrown the least often. Specifically, it gets delivered 29.6% of the time, so it slightly under-indexes against the expected average of 33.33% by 3.73%”

chels's avatar

Does anyone here ever call it “Ro Sham Bo”?

chels's avatar

@Brian1946 Ha. Thanks. Anyone else?

opalea's avatar

I always choose rock. Cause obviously, scissors can’t cut rocks. And paper doesn’t really beat rock either. If someone tells me that his/her paper beats my rock, then I’m gonna proceed to punch his/her face with my already clenched fist.

augustlan's avatar

Rock, paper, scissors, shoot. Hand in a fist, slapped against open palm of other hand.

Since we had three kids in four years, we taught them this at a very early age as a way to settle disputes. Now they are 12, 14 and almost 16, and they still use this several times a week!

muppetish's avatar

@augustlan This is how my brothers and I have always played and if friends don’t follow our regulations, then we must start over. All three of us are in our twenties, one out of university and two in, and this is still how we settle most of our decision-making.

augustlan's avatar

@muppetish That’s awesome! I can picture them now, deciding who gets the last turkey leg at thanksgiving in 20 years. :)

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