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Rock Paper Scissors Around the World

Written By Maliha Rahman Edited by Allaha Mohiby


Rock, paper, scissors shoot! Beyond its universal appeal, this timeless game takes on various forms and names in different corners of the world. Below are just some of the versions you may see in other countries.


1. China - Shoushiling

Chinese children play a variation called "Shoushiling." This directly translates to “the three who are afraid of each other.” Here, the familiar trio is transformed into a tiger, a hunter, and a gun. The tiger defeats the hunter, the hunter defeats the gun, and the gun defeats the tiger, adding a unique twist to the classic game.


2. Korea - Kai Bai Bo

In Korea, the game is known as "Kai Bai Bo." Similar to the Western version, rock, paper, and scissors are used, but with different names. Rock is "Kai," paper is "Bai," and scissors are "Bo." The game is often used to make decisions or solve conflicts in a fair and fun way.


3. Thailand - Ching Chong Chai

Thai children play a version called "Ching Chong Chai," where the elements are bird, water, and stone. The bird can drink water, water can erode the stone, and the stone can trap the bird. This variation adds an extra layer of strategy and creativity to the traditional game.


4. Ghana - Morra

In Ghana, children play a version called "Morra." Instead of using hand gestures, players simultaneously show a certain number of fingers, and they call out their guess for the total sum. It's a unique twist on rock, paper, scissors that combines elements of counting and prediction.


5. Russia - Kamen Nozhnitsy Bumaga

Russians have their version called "Kamen, Nozhnitsy, Bumaga," which translates to rock, scissors, paper. The game is played similarly, but the names and order of the elements differ, providing a cultural spin to the familiar game.


6. Iran - Ghar-e-Bāl-e-Pān

In Iran, the game is known as "Ghar-e-Bāl-e-Pān," where players use a wolf, a well, and a hunter as their elements. The wolf defeats the hunter, the hunter defeats the well, and the well defeats the wolf.


7. Italy - Carta, Forbice, Sasso

Italians play "Carta, Forbice, Sasso," which translates to paper, scissors, rock. The game follows the familiar rules, but the order and names of the elements differ from the Western version.


8. Nigeria - Ten-Ten

Nigerian children play a version called "Ten-Ten," where players form different hand symbols to represent various animals, each with its own set of interactions, similar to rock, paper, scissors.


9. Australia - Ro Sham Bo

In some parts of Australia, especially among Indigenous communities, a variation known as "Ro Sham Bo" is played. The elements might include kangaroo, emu, and hunter, each with its own interactions.


In addition to its universal appeal, rock, paper, scissors holds a profound cultural significance that crosses borders and unites people across the globe. As seen by the many variations found in different corners of the world, from the tiger, hunter, and gun of "Shoushiling" in China to the wolf, well, and hunter of "Ghar-e-Bāl-e-Pān" in Iran, this timeless game serves as a cultural standard, reflecting the values, traditions, and creativity of each unique community. As we marvel at the diverse versions of this beloved pastime, we are reminded of the power of play to bridge cultural divides and celebrate the shared joys of existence.



References:

The fascinating variations of rock paper scissors around the world - world rock paper scissors association. World Rock Paper Scissors Association - Professional Rock Paper Scissors. (2022a, December 11). https://wrpsa.com/the-fascinating-variations-of-rock-paper-scissors-around-the-world/

Opara, G. (2019, October 28). 7 games that prove you had a Nigerian childhood. Zikoko! https://www.zikoko.com/life/7-games-that-prove-you-had-a-nigerian-childhood/

Rock, paper, scissors goes back to ancient China. History Daily. (n.d.). https://historydaily.org/rock-paper-scissors-ancient-china/5

Ràpita. (n.d.). Morra: The hand game which stood the test of Time. Catalan News. https://www.catalannews.com/life-style/item/morra-the-hand-game-which-stood-the-test-of-time

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