At some points in my schooling, I have taken classes that study game theory. The Prisoner's Delimma is the one most people know. Two people are in jail and have to choice to rat out the other for a lighter sentance. If both stay silent, they both get one 1 year, however if both rat out they each get 2 years, and if one rats out with the other silent the traitor gets out free while the silent one get lots of time. Basically you get a situation where it is really in both people's best interest to stay silent, but the general tendancy is to rat-out to avoid the maximum sentance.

This is a simple example. But there are lots of games like this where various changes in the rules cause the 'best' strategy for players to change. I was just wondering if anyone else has studied this sort of game theory, and applied it to their designs.

There is a piece of Game Theory called Nash Equilibriums (Nash of Beautiful Mind fame I believe). It says that certain games there is a best strategy for each player and if they always persue that strategy there will allways be the same result. Sometimes I read some posts with people having issues in their game about extreme strategies 'locking' the game. Basically , "If we all do this, nothign changes and it isn't fun". It just sounds so like a Nash Equilibrium point.

Maybe this is all high and geeky, but it seems like if you knew enough about game theory you could see the Nash Points and avoid designing into them.

Andy

Yes, that is a very good point. I have studied the game theory at a rudimentary level and see what you are referring to. I was trying to design an abstract game, but I quickly discovered that there was really only one mathematically sound move each player could make. If it was assumed that each player was rational, the first player would always win. Sometimes the payoff table in a game is skewed towards one side, so there is never real choice for players to make. However, if you even out the payoffs too much, you can create a deadlock where no move is more "correct" than another. This causes the players to feel as if they have no control over their situation. I have yet to understand a way to design around this problem - except for randomness (which can make the payoffs more interesting, but also contributes to the no-control situation).

If you do a simple google search for game theory and "solved games" you can get a nice list of games that have a predictable pattern that one can follow to guarantee at least a tie. Maybe studying those games would help one see what to avoid in their own designs.

I'm sure that there are many wiser than I who can answer your question better,

- Silverdragon0