Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Rock–Paper–Scissors

Go To

  • You see groups of three or more people playing this game a lot in anime and manga. How's that supposed to work? Who wins if there are papers, rocks and scissors each in play? Or is it considered a draw until there's only entries of two kinds in the round?
    • There's a "points" system involved. If you lose a matchup, you lose a point, and if you win, you get a point. So if A chooses Rock, B chooses Scissors, and C chooses Paper, it's a complete draw, they all have 0. If A and B both choose Rock and C chooses scissors, A and B each get a point, and C has -2. If C has Paper and A and B have Rock, C gets 2 points and A and B lose a point each. Game usually goes to a specific number of points.
    • Advertisement:
    • In a non-point system, for three players, if everyone draws the same or everyone draws different, it's a draw. Otherwise if there's (e.g.) one rock and two scissors, rock wins. If (e.g.) two rocks and one scissor, scissors is eliminated, and the other two face off.
    • For more than 3 players, if you draw scissors and someone else drew rock, you are eliminated unless a) all three types were drawn by at least one person ("Chaos of war") and b) there were more scissors drawn than rock, in which case scissors lives (rock's survival depends on if there are more rocks than papers). This only works if all three types are thrown; one rock can crush 7 scissors, but is eliminated along with paper when going against 6 scissors and 1 paper. If everyone would get eliminated, they draw again instead. Once it's down to three players, play as above. Eliminated players can't join again until the round is over.
    • Advertisement:
    • When I was a kid, we used something similar to decide who gets to be "it" first. If 2 types were present, one was eliminated. If 3 types were present but one type was represented by a single player, that player was immediately chosen. Otherwise we repeated.
  • Scissors cut Paper, so it wins.
    That makes sense.
    Rock would dent Scissors or at least dull them, so it wins.
    This also makes sense.
    But Paper....Paper somehow "beats" Rock by wrapping it.
    Uh...what? Something here is not the same. Paper is basically given a participation prize for just showing up.
    • Put a piece of paper on a flat surface and slam a dull rock against it over and over again and what do you think happens? The rock cracks. Alternatively, on the paper is written a cease and desist order against rock.
      • The point being that you need not smash something to defeat it. Anyway, it's Japanese.
      • Perhaps it's one of those magic Japanese spell scrolls?
      • Japan didn't invent the game
      • To quote Demetri Martin, 'it should really be rock, dynamite with a cuttable wick, scissors'.
      • And just the fuck is someone supposed to make a dynamite with cuttable wick out of a single fist?
      • Like this
      • But if you put a piece of paper on a flat surface and bash a rock on that until it cracks, then the flat surface beat the rock, not the paper.
      • Ah, but the flat surface isn't the rock's enemy. What the paper does is a sort of Deadly Dodging. It moves onto the flat surface, and tricks the rock into attacking. By the time the rock realizes it's not doing damage, it's already nothing but rubble.
      • This Troper had an Epiphany when he realized that Karate Chop could be substituted for Paper. The gesture is the same, Scissors can cut someone's hand, and martial artists are known for breaking boards and rocks.
      • That that a step farther, Paper == open palm, Scissors == split fingers or finger and thumb, and rock is fist. Open palm can stop a fist but a chop can be stopped by the finger-thumb/split, and the fist can't be stopped by your split fingers. Still some problems with that analogy, but it can work.
    • Advertisement:
    • This troper was first introduced to the game as "Rock Sack Scissors" in a translated children's magazine, so apparently in some country has sack instead of paper, which makes more sense. A sack has a much better rock-engulfing ability than a piece of paper, yet it's practically as vulnerable to scissors.
  • Why is paper so overpowered, anyway? It beats ROCK, the classic RPS symbol, yet has the same resource cost!
    • It's not overpowered at all- countering with scissors is practically an instant win, and it has the same resource cost as both of them.
      • "It dies to removal" is never a good argument against something being overpowered.
      • Google has failed me. What does "die to removal" mean?
      • Essentially it's a term from the Magic: The Gathering community (and probably elsewhere too, but I digress) used to descibe a card that doesn't have any inherent way to protect itself from being destroyed.
      • So, paper is the Tarmogoyf of RPS?
    • May I remind you that without the expansion pack, Rock, Paper, and Scissors are the only hero units? They have to balance each other out! Besides, it's not like Cubone doesn't kick Raichu's ass! Who cares how iconic Rock is?
      • Don't get me started on the expansion. Tidal Wave is the new unit, sure, but does it have to beat everything? Wrecked the whole game.
      • And then they added Nuclear Bomb in the next expansion, and more recently Cockroach. At least Cockroach is nerfed against Rock and Foot.
      • Anything's better than that tie-in Spinoff game they had when Volcano came out (Though at least it had a decent opposition set).
      • "Scissors is fine, nerf paper." - Rock.
  • All of which is why Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock is the One True Way.
    • Please tell me Scissors Lizard is one unit. Lizard does not beat scissors.
      • They're different units, but don't worry, lizard doesn't beat scissors. A description of how it works is found here.
    • Well, it would be the One True Way if only we could find a way for one of the players to stop making Spock. Unless...
  • Why is it called "Rock Paper Scissors" instead of "Rock Scissors Paper" which would give you the order of what beats what?
    • It doesn't matter what order you say it in. I've always called it "Paper Scissors Rock".
    • If you want to reason it that way, Rock Paper Scissors goes in increasing order (as a shortening of ...->rock->paper->scissors->rock->paper->scissors->rock->paper...).
    • The Russians call it "Rock Scissors Paper", as possibly do the Japanese.
    • Meh, it's in "is beaten by" order instead of "beats" order, which is good enough for me. Then again, since there are only 3 choices, every one of the 6 arrangements fits into either the "beats" or "is beaten by" pattern perfectly.
    • Also, Rock Paper Scissors is catchy.
    • I always accidentally call it Paper Rock Scissors, maybe for that reason?
    • In Korean, it's 가위 바위 보, Scissors Rock Paper.
    • Minor point but this troper was (is?) Brittish and was always brought up to call it stone, paper, scissors. Thankyou for your time.
    • Another British troper here, and I was brought up knowing it as Paper Scissors Stone, which seemed to be the most culturally prevalent version of the name here. Catatonia's last album, for instance, used that for its title.
  • Paper disproves Spock and scissors decapitate lizard? How does that make sense? Am I missing something here?
    • Paper as in a scientific paper, which disproves something Spock said. Scissors cut the lizard's head off.
      • ...those must be some scissors.
      • I always assumed that the paper didn't just disprove something Spock said, but instead proved that Vulcans did not exist.
  • Apparrently, there's a version with dynamite and water added in, and dynamite beats everything but water, and water loses to everything else. Even if water didn't rust scissors and wear away rock, shouldn't it at least dissolve paper?
    • The paper is a paper towel, and thus it absorbs the water.
      • Then why not just call it "paper towel"?
  • How does rock, paper, or scissors beat water? The rock should erode, the scissors should rust and become worthless, and the paper should dissolve.
    • This takes time, would be an even more boring game if you had to wait while your rock/ scissors eroded/ rusted.
      • Also just as a I suppose Doyalist note, introducing other elements just confuses things, you might aswell chuck in pigs, spaceships and volcanoes while your at it.
  • For the version where Fire wins everything, how does Fire beat Rock? It's a rock, it's not a flammable object! If anything, the rock should smother the flames and put out the fire!
    • I assume it's because rock can melt into magma/lava with enough heat?


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: