Game Theory

A game is typically a structured form of active play, often undertaken for fun or entertainment, and at times used as an educational instrument. Games are very different from work, which most often is undertaken for remuneration, and from literature, which is more often a pure expression of literary or artistic elements. In the past, the term game was commonly used to refer to all of these activities, but today the majority of people tend to use either the term game or a more specific term, such as board game, computer game, video game, and so forth. Whatever you want to call it, the fact of the matter is that games have become an incredibly important part of our modern culture.


One of the earliest forms of game were simple card games, such as solitaire. Card games are common experience and are a common experience that teaches our children important lessons, for example, how to handle their money. However, because the game requires concentration, and because the game results are not always clear-cut and obvious, the lessons learned are not always easy to recognize and to apply in real life situations. Therefore, it can be said that card games, most especially the solitaire games, are a good teaching tool, especially for kids. This is because game results are usually quite abstract, and game outcomes can be difficult to understand or to predict.

Then came the introduction of board games. Board games involve many complex concepts and are very abstract in nature. The abstract nature of the board games means that the game results can only be seen indirectly, by looking at the board. However, the game results do have a tangible effect on players, as they can be seen, for example, by looking at other players’ cards. This means that one can learn a lot about oneself by playing a game.

Another important development that came with the appearance of solitaire games was the introduction of ‘pure strategy’. If one plays the game with pure strategy, without depending on luck or whim, one can be said to be a pure strategy player. There are two distinct forms of strategy games, pure strategy and hybrid strategy. In pure strategy, one can follow a pre-programmed strategy, i.e. whoever plays first will get to take the first prize.

Hybrid strategies on the other hand depend on pure strategies, but also depend on perfect information, and hence, on probability. For example, a perfect information player can win a game at any point; provided the perfect information moves are made. Thus, such a player can become very good at a game, the only problem being, he cannot play more than one game at a time, as pure strategies would prevent him from doing so. Similarly, perfect information movements also mean that the probability of winning can be very high in a game of pure strategies, but with the probability of losing being high, this form of strategy could be rather hazardous.

Two-person zero-sum games can be analyzed on the same lines. Here the strategies used by each player is different, but both the players play for the same end game. Here, if a player 1 plays a two-person game and gets a profit, this does not mean that player 1 cannot also win a two-person game; the profit gained by player 1 does not change the fact that player 2 will also lose, in which case, two-person zero-sum games are the same as one-person games. Therefore, it is important to understand that in no-sum games there are always losers and always winners, and the winner and loser do not always have to be in the same room. So, it may appear paradoxical that the game theory behind two-person games is the same as the game theory behind the traditional one-player games. However, it has been proved mathematically that the probability of the outcome of a two-person game is always greater than that of a one-person game.