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Rock-paper-scissors is a hand game played by two or more people. The game is known by many names, including scissors-paper-rock, fargling, cachi-pún, burung-batu-air (“bird-stone-water”), jan-ken-pon, janken 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 players; it is often possible to recognize and exploit the non-random behavior of an opponent.

Game play:

Each of the three basic hand-signs (from left to right: rock, paper, and scissors) beats one of the other two, and loses to the other.
A man and a girl at a mountain stairway, playing the game of rock-paper-scissors while they go down.
A man and a girl playing rock-paper-scissors

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:

* Rock, represented by a clenched fist.
* Scissors, represented by the index and middle fingers extended and separated (or in South Korea, by the thumb and index finger extended).
* Paper, represented by an open hand, with the fingers connected (horizontal).

The objective is to select a gesture which defeats that of the opponent. Gestures are resolved as follows:

* Rock blunts or breaks scissors: that is, rock defeats scissors
* Scissors cut paper: scissors defeats paper
* Paper covers, sands or captures rock: paper defeats rock

If both players choose the same gesture, the game is tied and the players throw again. There are many different ways to use this game, but in South Korea it is most likely used for descending staircases such as the picture above on the right. Two people stand at a stairway, and the person who wins in the game gets to go down one step. They continue this routine until they reach the end of the stairway, and the person who gets to the end first wins. Rock-paper-scissors is also used for choosing who will be the “chaser” or “it” for playing things such as hide-and-seek and tag.

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