A Self-Improvement, Self-Awareness, and Applied Game Theory Newsletter
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Combining Applied Game Theory, The Secret, The Law of Attraction, Concepts from Think and Grow Rich can Transform Your Life
Q. Lewis, I know you write a lot about applied game theory and gamer thinking. How can I easily and simply apply the basics of this concept in my daily life?
A. In my experience, life really is a game with; rules, other players, a game space, scoring, and usually winners and losers. Are there exceptions? Yes; I do not consider art, culture, philosophy, or the search for spirituality, to be games, though they can be. Still, virtually everything else I do has a game-based element to it.
Many people ask me how I create a template for viewing the various games of life in practical terms? As complex as this may appear on the surface it is a pretty basic process requiring the application of only six ideas. In most of the situations I find myself in, such as which line to get on at the supermarket, how to get free theater tickets, and how much information to share on Facebook, I bring six ideas into play.
Let’s explore each of these six ideas in applied game theory, and what makes them different. Each will help us address the normal challenges of life. In each scenario, I ask myself.
- Is this situation a Win-Win Game? This is generally called a non-zero-sum game. This describes a situation in which the interacting players accumulate gains and losses and these can be less than or more than zero. Non-zero-sum games can be either competitive or non-competitive. Is this situation a Win-Lose Game? This is generally called a Zero-Sum Game and is a situation in which one participant’s gains result only from another participant’s equivalent losses. The net change in total wealth among participants is zero; the wealth is just shifted from one to another. In basic terms, it means that if one person wins than everyone else has to lose.
- Is this situation a Sequential Move Game? This is a game where there are two players and the players take turns sequentially, in ways or moves to achieve a defined winning process. Chess, Checkers, and Tic-tac-toe are the most familiar of these games.
- Is this situation a Simultaneous Move Game? This is a game where each player chooses their actions and make their moves without having knowledge of actions chosen by other players. Rock-Paper-Scissors, a widely played hand game, is a real-life example of a simultaneous game.
- Is this situation a Perfect Information Game? Also called a Complete Information Game this is a game where all players have access to the same information. A game has perfect information if it is a sequential move game within a scenario in which a player is theorized to have all relevant information to make a decision. Chess is such a game. Chess is an example of a game with perfect information. Each player can see all of the pieces on the board at all times. Other examples of perfect games include Tic-tac-toe, and the classic Chinese game of strategy “Go”. Some, though not all Perfect information games involve chance (luck). Backgammon is an example of such a game. Here both players are completely aware of the state of the game at all times and can use this to inform their decisions. Still, the progress of the game will depend on random dice rolls.
- Is this situation an Imperfect Information Game? Also called an Incomplete Information Game these are games where some players have access to information that other players don’t. These are also known as “incomplete information games”. Poker and the buying of medical insurance are among the best examples of an Imperfect Information Game. We may not know it but many of us are actually playing an imperfect information life game when we are buying health or medical insurance. In the health insurance market buyers know more about their own health problems than do any insurance providers. With this better information, buyers have an incentive to conceal their health problems in an attempt to get a lower insurance premium. If insurance providers knew that a person had a history of heart problems, these providers could charge them a higher rate. This informational disparity found in imperfect information games is referred to as “asymmetric information”. It is important to keep in mind that In both perfect and imperfect information games players are unaware of the actions chosen by other players. However, they may know who the other players are/what their possible strategies or actions are or might be/and the likely preferences of these other players. Information about other players may be almost complete and yet it is still incomplete and imperfect.
Reading about these six categories of games might seem overwhelming in the beginning, but ultimately combinations of the six elements I have just described appear in all games, from the most basic to the most sophisticated and complex.
The person who can take an hour or two to learn the six types of games and what they mean can have financial freedom, a meaningful life, and very little unnecessary struggle.
Interestingly, with the lockdown affecting us all in some way, tabletop games have recently increased in popularity. Here is an article on this trend
Speaking of applying game theory in effective ways – Here is how I use gamer psychology and game theory to create financial success. I invest a small amount of time and money in using sports analytics to predict winners and losers in Fantasy sports. This may not be your thing but if you like to integrate many approaches living well. Here is a link to a free video and information about Sports Betting and FIFA Fantasy Football. This is an introduction to one of my favorite systems. If you want to use predictive skills to explore this Complete Analytics-Driven Sports Fantasy Football and Sports Betting System. It’s based on the ideas presented in the book and movie Moneyball. Press on the URL below or the photo of the soccer players below.
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The Game Theory Gamer Research Team
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