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Rock, Paper, Scissors


The Rules

Rock, Paper, Scissors is a game for two players typically played using the players' hands. The two players each make a fist with one hand and hold the other open, palm upward. Together, they tap their fists in their open palms once, twice, and on the third time form one of three items: a rock (by keeping the hand in a fist), a sheet of paper (by holding the hand flat, palm down), or a pair of scissors (by extending the first two fingers and holding them apart).

The winner of that round depends on the items formed. If the same item is formed, it's a tie. If a rock and scissors are formed, the rock wins, because a rock can smash scissors. If scissors and paper are formed, the scissors win, because scissors can cut paper. If paper and a rock are formed, the paper wins, because a sheet of paper can cover a rock. After one round is completed, another is begun. Play continues until one player reaches a predetermined score, or whenever the players' boredom is alleviated. (Often this game is played to pass the time while waiting in line for something, or while on a long road trip [as long as the driver isn't one of the players].)

The traditional means of scoring, not used in recent years, is not to keep any sort of numerical score but rather to allow the winner of each round to punish the loser. The punishment is executed by the loser extending his wrist (the same wrist must be used throughout the course of the game), face up, to the winner. The winner will hold the loser's hand steady with one hand (not tightly or forcibly) and use the first two fingers (only!) of the other hand to slap the loser's wrist. Wetting the two fingers just slightly is permissible; this provides a somewhat sharper sting. It's also better to hold the two fingers loosely rather than stiffly so that they slap instead of hit. The winner only gets one shot; if the slap is bungled, the loser is off the hook.

Playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with this traditional scoring scheme can make for the most satisfying games, particularly if you play long enough to get each other's wrists good and red. However, this version of the game should only be played by consenting adults, and RinkWorks may not be held responsible for anyone getting hurt playing the game this way.

In this online version of the game, there is no wrist slapping; numerical scores are kept.

Modes of Play

In "Human vs. Computer," you can play against a computer simulated opponent. In "Computer vs. Computer," you can watch two computer simulated players play against each other.

The game ends when one of the two players reaches a predetermined number of points; this number may be set to 5, 11, 21, 100, or 1000.

Saving Your Game

Unfortunately it is not convenient to save a Rock, Paper, Scissors game by bookmarking it. You can do it, but when you return to the game, the computer's most recent choice may be different. Thus, if you want to save your game, decide one move in advance that you will save it, and then pretend the next turn never happened. When you return to the game, consider the new turn the "official" turn.


Cheating at this game is possible but discouraged as a general rule. However, on occasion it can be fun to play around with the game engine. The simplest way to cheat is to hit the "back" button on your browser when something happens that you don't like. You can also cheat by modifying the URL at a particular point in the game. Notice that the URL is comprised of name=value pairs, separated by ampersands. The letter(s) or number(s) before the equals sign is the name, and what comes after it is the value. If you modify some of the values you can change the state of the game. You can experiment if you like. Below are some specific things you can do.

Change the value of p to change the total number of points you will play to. If p is negative, play will proceed indefinitely. Change the value of 1 and 2 to change the scores for player 1 and player 2, respectively.

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