What is Rock Paper Scissors Tournament?
The Rock Paper Scissors Tournament is an engaging and entertaining icebreaker activity that I personally recommend for any group setting. Its purpose is to foster engagement, encourage spontaneous interactions, and break the ice among participants who may not know each other well. This tournament format takes the classic game of Rock Paper Scissors and elevates it to a new level by turning it into a fun and dynamic competition.
At its core, the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament is an elimination-style competition where participants face off in pairs, playing best of three matches until only one champion remains. The game itself is simple and easy to understand, making it accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. However, don’t let the simplicity fool you - this activity can lead to some intense and memorable showdowns!
What I love most about the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament is its ability to create a sense of community and camaraderie among participants. As people cheer on their colleagues and friends, they naturally start to form connections and build relationships. And even those who may not make it to the final round still have a great time cheering from the sidelines and being part of the excitement.
Overall, the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament is an excellent icebreaker activity that I highly recommend for any group setting. It’s fun, engaging, and can help create a positive and playful atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the event. So if you’re looking for a way to break the ice and bring people together, consider giving the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament a try!
Rules for Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
- Ensure there is enough space in the room or area for all participants to move around freely and play multiple rounds simultaneously without crowding each other.
- Make sure everyone understands how Rock Paper Scissors works by reaffirming the basics: Rock crushes Scissors, Scissors cut Paper, and Paper covers Rock.
- Gather the participants into an open area and explain the purposes of the activity: fun, ice-breaking, and encouraging spontaneous interactions.
- Clarify that they will partake in a personally paced Rock Paper Scissors challenge, moving through successive rounds until only one champion remains.
- Review the hand signals collectively: Rock (a fist), Paper (an open hand), and Scissors (a fist with the index and middle finger extended, making a V).
- Instruct participants to find a partner for the first round of the “best of three” mini-tournament.
- Count to three out loud mostly in unison before presenting hand shapes to minimize timing discrepancies and prevent ties.
- Remind everyone that simultaneous presentation is paramount; ties require a replay of the round.
- Winners from each round locate new opponents (other round winners) while those who didn’t advance become the cheering audience.
- Emphasize sportsmanship, fun, and unit cohesion throughout the activity.
- Congratulate the champion while underscoring the play’s spirit - enjoyment, breaking the ice, and informal interaction scarcity in standard meet and greet functions.
- Engage the group in sharing how the activity made them feel, emphasizing any unexpected positive interactions, laughter shared, or subtle strategies they might have adopted.
- Discuss the value of cooperation, competitive spirit, and adaptability in decision-making.
- Encourage more spontaneity and straightforward goodwill into daily activities within the company, class, or group dynamic.
Materials needed for Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
- Open space’: A room or area spacious enough for all participants to move around freely and play multiple pairs simultaneously without crowding each other.
- Clear rules explanation: The facilitator should prepare to explain how Rock Paper Scissors works, ensuring everyone understands the basics: Rock crushes Scissors, Scissors cut Paper, and Paper covers Rock.
- Enthusiastic introduction: The facilitator needs to introduce the activity with energy, emphasizing its purposes of being fun, ice-breaking, and encouraging spontaneous interactions.
- Odd number backup plan: In case there’s an odd number of participants, the organizer should be prepared to join in or assign a “bye” to one participant, allowing them to pass automatically to the next level.
- Counting to three: The facilitator needs to count to three out loud during each round to minimize timing discrepancies and ensure simultaneous presentation of hand shapes.
- Positive tie handling: The organizer must maintain a light and encouraging atmosphere throughout the tournament, including reminding participants that ties require a replay of the round.
- Energetic audience: Participants who aren’t advancing in each round should be encouraged to become the cheering spectator group, creating an entertaining championship vibe.
Setting up for Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
To set up for the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament icebreaker activity, follow these steps:
Find a suitable space: Secure a room or area large enough to accommodate all participants with enough space for them to move around freely and form pairs without crowding each other. Consider factors such as ventilation, lighting, and comfort to ensure an enjoyable experience.
Plan the flow of the activity: Before inviting participants, visualize how they will progress through the tournament. This includes pairing up, advancing to new opponents, and transitioning from active players to spectators. Having a clear plan will help you facilitate the activity smoothly and keep everyone engaged.
Prepare any necessary signage or instructions: While not essential, having visual aids or printed instructions can help remind participants of the rules and encourage their participation. These materials should include basic RPS hand signals, the best-of-three format, and how to resolve ties.
Organize seating or gathering areas: Set up chairs, benches, or other seating options around the perimeter of the playing area. This will allow spectators to comfortably watch the tournament and create a sense of community as they cheer on their colleagues or classmates.
Test any audio-visual equipment: If you plan to use a microphone, speaker system, or projector during the activity, test it ahead of time to ensure everything is working correctly. This will help you maintain a smooth flow and avoid technical difficulties that could distract from the experience.
Familiarize yourself with the game: Brush up on your knowledge of Rock Paper Scissors rules and strategies. Being confident in your understanding of the game will make it easier for you to explain it to participants, answer questions, and facilitate the tournament.
Prepare a contingency plan: Anticipate potential challenges or issues that may arise during the activity, such as an uneven number of participants or time constraints. Having a backup plan in place will help you address these challenges quickly and effectively, ensuring a positive experience for everyone involved.
How to play Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
1. Prepare the Space Ensure you have a spacious room or area where all participants can move around freely. This is crucial for multiple pairs to play simultaneously without crowding each other.
2. Understand the Game Clarify how Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) works by reaffirming the basics: Rock crushes Scissors, Scissors cut Paper, and Paper covers Rock. Demonstrate a few rounds if necessary to help clarify for anyone unfamiliar with the game.
3. Gather Participants Bring together all participants in an open area and briefly explain the purposes of the activity: fun, ice-breaking, and encouraging spontaneous interactions.
4. Introduce the Challenge Explain that participants will partake in a personally paced RPS challenge, moving through successive rounds until only one champion remains.
5. Review Hand Signals Collectively review the hand signals for Rock (a fist), Paper (an open hand), and Scissors (a fist with the index and middle finger extended, making a V).
6. Pair Up Instruct participants to find a partner for the first round. If there’s an odd number of participants, organize a “bye” for one of the odd participants, allowing them to pass automatically to the next level.
7. Best of Three Format Each pair engages in a “best of three” mini-tournament. Counting to three out loud mostly in unison helps minimize timing discrepancies; upon saying “three”, each player presents their hand shape.
8. Resolve Ties Remind everyone that simultaneous presentation is paramount to a fair round. In case of ties (both participants choosing the same shape), require a replay of the round, maintaining a light and encouraging atmosphere throughout.
9. Advancement Winners from the first set of matches locate new opponents (other round winners) while those who didn’t advance become the roaring audience. Repeat this process until only two players remain for the final showdown.
10. Head-to-Head Finale The last two players square off in a more ceremonious final round, preferably in the center of the room with everyone watching, creating a dramatic climax. Congratulate both players generously for their entertainment provided.
11. Congratulate the Champion While victory and defeat are part of the game, emphasize the play’s spirit - enjoyment, breaking the ice, and informal interaction scarcity in standard meet and greet functions.
12. Reflect on the Activity Engage the group in sharing how the activity made them feel, emphasizing any unexpected positive interactions, laughter shared, or even subtle strategies they might have adopted. Discussions can naturally steer towards the value of cooperation, competitive spirit, and adaptability in decision-making.
13. Encourage Everyday Interactions Stamp the takeaway with prospects of introducing more spontaneity and straightforward goodwill into daily activities within the company, class, or group dynamic.
By following these steps, you’ll successfully facilitate a fun, engaging, and memorable Rock Paper Scissors Tournament icebreaker activity that fosters engagement, laughs, and a playful competitive spirit among participants.
Benefits of Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
- Fosters Engagement and Inclusivity: The Rock Paper Scissors Tournament is an excellent icebreaker because it encourages everyone to participate, regardless of their background or expertise. By its very nature, the game breaks down barriers and promotes interaction among players.
- Cultivates a Playful Competitive Spirit: The tournament format adds a layer of excitement and friendly competition to the game, motivating participants to give their best while still maintaining a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
- Encourages Spontaneous Interactions: This activity randomly pairs up individuals, providing opportunities for people who might not have met or interacted otherwise to connect and build rapport.
- Enhances Group Dynamics: As the tournament progresses, it creates a sense of camaraderie and shared experience among participants, contributing to a more cohesive and collaborative group dynamic.
- Promotes Active Listening and Observation Skills: To win at Rock Paper Scissors, players need to pay close attention to their opponents’ body language and patterns. This heightened awareness can translate into better communication and understanding in other settings as well.
- Provides a Fun and Memorable Experience: The simplicity and lightheartedness of the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament make it an enjoyable experience that leaves a positive impression on participants, making them more likely to remember and cherish their interactions during the event.
- Offers Opportunities for Personal Growth and Self-Reflection: By engaging in this activity, individuals can learn about their own reactions under pressure, adaptability, and sportsmanship, providing valuable insights into their personal strengths and areas for improvement.
- Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Laughter and play have been shown to reduce stress and promote mental well-being. The Rock Paper Scissors Tournament offers a welcome break from formal proceedings, contributing to an overall more enjoyable and balanced event or workshop experience.
Skills built with Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
Communication Skills: Playing the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament icebreaker helps individuals improve their communication skills as they engage in active listening, clear hand signal representation, and timely response to their opponents’ moves.
Interpersonal Relationships: This activity fosters a sense of camaraderie and trust among participants as they interact with new people, share laughs, and establish connections through playful competition.
Conflict Resolution Skills: By participating in this tournament, individuals practice resolving conflicts in a friendly and respectful manner, learning to handle ties or disagreements with grace and sportsmanship.
Decision Making Skills: The game requires players to make quick decisions under pressure, adapt their strategies based on the outcome of each round, and predict their opponent’s moves – all valuable skills for real-life situations.
Stress Management and Resilience: Engaging in a fun and dynamic activity like the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament can help participants manage stress, build resilience, and maintain a positive attitude even when faced with challenges or setbacks.
Active Learning and Adaptability: The tournament encourages players to learn from their mistakes, adjust their strategies on the fly, and continuously improve their gameplay – all essential skills for learning and adapting in various contexts.
Self-Confidence and Assertiveness: By actively participating in the game, individuals can boost their self-confidence, develop assertive communication styles, and learn to express themselves clearly and effectively.
Team Building Skills: The Rock Paper Scissors Tournament promotes team spirit, collaboration, and a shared sense of accomplishment among participants, contributing to a more cohesive and supportive group dynamic.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills: Players must analyze their opponents’ moves, anticipate potential outcomes, and develop strategies for success – all key components of critical thinking and problem solving.
Emotional Intelligence: By engaging in this icebreaker activity, individuals practice understanding and managing their emotions, as well as recognizing and responding to the emotions of others – essential skills for building positive relationships and navigating social situations.
Why I like Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
I appreciate the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament icebreaker for its simplicity, inclusiveness, and ability to effectively foster engagement and break the ice among participants. Here are some reasons why I like this activity:
Easy Preparation: The minimal requirements of the game mean that it can be organized almost anywhere, without the need for specialized equipment or materials. This makes it a convenient choice for various settings.
Inclusive and Accessible: Rock Paper Scissors is an activity that virtually anyone can participate in, regardless of age, background, or physical abilities. The simplicity of the game ensures that everyone has a fair chance at winning, promoting inclusivity.
Active Engagement: By encouraging participants to move around and interact with one another, the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament promotes active engagement in contrast to passive icebreaker activities. This helps establish connections more quickly and effectively.
Skill-Building Opportunities: While the game is largely based on chance, there are still strategic elements that participants can learn and apply to improve their performance. Recognizing patterns, adapting decisions, and demonstrating good sportsmanship are all valuable skills fostered through this activity.
Energetic Atmosphere: The competitive nature of the game generates excitement and enthusiasm among participants. A lively atmosphere helps establish a positive tone for the event and encourages further interaction.
Effective Icebreaker: The tournament format allows participants to engage in multiple rounds with various opponents, providing ample opportunities for breaking the ice and forming connections. This structured approach facilitates interactions more naturally than forced mingling or one-on-one introductions.
Reflective Debrief: I appreciate the emphasis on reflection during the debrief session. Encouraging participants to share their experiences and insights not only solidifies new relationships but also highlights the value of teamwork, cooperation, and adaptability in various settings.
Promoting Spontaneity: The Rock Paper Scissors Tournament demonstrates how spontaneous activities can bring people together and create memorable moments. Incorporating similar icebreakers into daily group dynamics can help strengthen bonds and promote a more engaging environment overall.
Tips for making Rock Paper Scissors Tournament more inclusive
Tip: Provide visual aids or demonstrations Having visual representations of the hand signals can be very helpful for those who might have difficulty understanding verbal explanations or remembering which signal corresponds to Rock, Paper, and Scissors.
Tip: Use simple language and clear instructions Make sure to use simple and concise language when explaining the rules and objectives of the game. This will help ensure that everyone understands how to play, regardless of their language proficiency or cognitive abilities.
Tip: Offer accommodations for participants with disabilities Consider offering accommodations for participants with disabilities, such as visual or auditory impairments. For example, you could provide large print handouts or use a microphone to ensure that everyone can hear the instructions clearly.
Tip: Encourage teamwork and collaboration While the game is called “Rock Paper Scissors Tournament,” there are still ways to encourage teamwork and collaboration among participants. For example, you could create teams of two or three people who work together to make decisions and strategize during each round.
Tip: Use inclusive language and avoid stereotypes When facilitating the game, be mindful of the language you use and avoid making assumptions about people’s abilities based on their gender, race, age, or other factors. Use gender-neutral language and avoid using stereotypes or making assumptions about people’s interests or skills based on their identity.
Tip: Provide multiple opportunities for participation Offer multiple opportunities for participants to engage in the game, such as allowing them to play several rounds or offering variations of the game that cater to different skill levels or interests. This can help ensure that everyone has a chance to participate and feel included.
Tip: Foster a positive and supportive atmosphere Encourage a positive and supportive atmosphere by emphasizing good sportsmanship, respect for others, and having fun. Make sure to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts and achievements of all participants, not just the winners.
Tip: Adapt the game to different contexts and settings Depending on the context and setting, you may need to adapt the game to better fit the needs and preferences of the participants. For example, you could modify the rules to make them more age-appropriate for children or simplify the instructions for people with cognitive impairments.
Reflection questions for Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
- How did participating in this Rock Paper Scissors Tournament make you feel? This question can help participants reflect on their emotions during the activity, which could range from excitement and competition to amusement and relaxation. Understanding these feelings can provide insights into how they might approach similar activities or situations in the future.
- Did you discover anything unexpected about your fellow participants while playing Rock Paper Scissors? By asking this question, facilitators encourage participants to think about their interactions with others and recognize any positive moments or surprises that emerged during the game. These insights can contribute to building stronger relationships within a group.
- What strategies, if any, did you use while playing Rock Paper Scissors? This question invites participants to consider the tactics they employed during the game and whether these strategies were successful. Reflecting on decision-making processes can help individuals learn from their experiences and apply those lessons in other contexts.
- How do you think this activity contributed to creating a more cohesive group dynamic? By asking participants to consider the impact of the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament on group dynamics, facilitators encourage reflection on the value of team-building activities and the importance of fostering positive interactions among group members.
- Would you participate in a similar activity again, and why or why not? This question allows participants to express their preferences for future icebreakers and provides valuable feedback for organizers to consider when planning future events. By understanding what worked (or didn’t) for individual participants, facilitators can tailor activities to better meet the needs and interests of the group.
About the author
Founder & Chief Icebreaker
I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.
Activities you may also like
Keep the fun going with these similar activities.
Unleash the Fun with Human Scissors: The Ultimate Team-Building Game!
Experience a thrilling twist on the classic game with cheering crowds and cutthroat competition!
A lively and strategic ice-breaker where teams face off in a life-sized version of the classic hand game, using full-body poses to determine the winner!