Engineering the Theory of Rock Paper Scissors, So You Win Every Time

Rock paper scissors is not just a game of chance!

Rock-paper-scissors—one of the first game everyone plays as a child. The mechanics are simple, you throw out either a rock, paper, or scissors symbol using your hand, and if your partner throws out a symbol that’s weaker than what you’ve just thrown out, you win. The rules are simple too: Rock beats scissors, Scissors beats paper, and paper beats rock. I used to think that this game was a game of chance, I admit, and that this game didn’t require any skills at all. I was so wrong!

Small trivia: Did you know there is such a group as the World Rock Paper Scissors Society, and they give $50,000 to the winner of a tournament? WOW!

Rock-paper-scissors isn’t just a game kids play, or a game to choose who gets to buy the next case of booze. This is actually a serious game. It’s psychological warfare, and we engineers have what we call game theory to explain the science of this game.

Here’s an infographic on how to win this game:

Source: Flowing Data

Some males have the tendency to throw rock on their first try, and some inexperienced players would subconsciously throw the item which won previously, and paper is the item that is thrown the least—so make sure you use it as a surprise. Remember that throwing a Spock can disqualify you from a tournament.

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Cielo Santos

Engineer. Writer. Artist. Gamer. Musician. She dreams of building a time machine and help kittens take over the world. Is secretly the pink power ranger in real life.

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Engineering the Theory of Rock Paper Scissors, So You Win Every Time

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