Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Paper, Rock, Scissors a.k.a. Rochambeau

My brother and all of his Vermont Ultimate Frisbee friends like to settle any and all disputes by "roshaming" or playing "rochambeau" which is more commonly referred to by it's more official name, "Paper, Rock Scissors." If you aren't familiar with this game, stop reading now, open a door, put your head in the door jamb, and slam the door really hard.

Once when I was pondering why it was also called roshambo, so I looked it up. I'm not sure if this story is true, but if it is, that would be awesome.

The story goes that after George Washington defeated Cornwallis at the Battle of Yorktown they went into Cornwallis's tent to negotiate the terms of the surrender. Washington was joined by Comte de Rochambeau, a French General fighting on the side of the Continental Army. After they were done negotiating the terms, the had to decide in what order they would leave the tent. Apparantly leaving the tent last after such a situation was a great honor. The three of them played Paper, Rock, Scissors to decide, and Rochambeau won. Since then the game has been known as Rochambeau, sometimes spelled as Roshambo.

Personally I'm a big fan of the game, because while it has the illusion of being a game of chance like a coin toss, if you know what you're doing you'll win most of the time. It's really a game of psychological warfare. It's all about knowing your opponent. Is he the kind of dude who hasn't changed his strategy since 3rd grade and always opens with Rock? Is he the anti-3rd grade strategy guy who always throws paper? Or does he say, "fuck you, I'm bringing scissors."

It gets especially interesting when you play best two out of three (really the way God intended). If your opponent just lost with two rocks in a row, does he really have the balls to throw rock one more time? Usually the case is no.

The point is, there's an art to playing Paper, Rock, Scissors. It's a fun game, and unlike a coin toss, you can feel like you've accomplished a little something when you win. And when you play against someone who doesn't realize it's not just chance, you'll probably win. Just don't tempt fate by getting cocky and roshaming for your car or something. That would be bad.

No comments: