What Makes an Effective Game Theory Strategist?
Let’s integrate some of the ideas I have already presented about game theory into a more formal structure. As I have in the past, in order to play effectively in a game, the players need to have strategies and plans for action. Just as the rules need to have consistency, each player of the game is likely to adopt a strategy that he or she thinks is most effective and is unlikely to change that strategy. The ability of a player to create an effective consistent strategy will be defined, in part, by his or her understanding of the rules and of the perceived strategies of the rival or opponent.
The most effective games have rules that exist for a reasonable period of time. In sports this would be the nine innings in baseball, the four quarters in football, the four years in American presidential elections, etc. This is important, for if the rules of a game are always changing, then it becomes difficult for the players to develop effective strategies that will allow them to excel.
As you can see, creating a game either for recreation or as a system for living can initially be difficult since the understanding of the rules within a group in relation to a particular action may change organically and intuitively without any active discussion or agreement about a change taking place among the members of the group where the game is being played.
Let me simplify what I just said. Some people cheat during a game or change the rules and neglect to tell you that they have changed the rules. Anyone who is married will understand this. Marriage partners will often forget things or act in ways that break the rules of marriage. This can be expressed in small ways: being a slob, forgetting to take out the garbage, or saying “I have a headache,” when there is no actual headache. Some people cheat so blatantly that they threaten the existence of the game itself. These individuals may be ejected from the game. In the game we call marriage, this is called divorce.
Remember, in order to play a game, there must be players, a time frame for the length of the game, defined and enforced rules, accountability among the players for breaking the rules and a general understanding among the players that consistently breaking the rules may lead to the weakening or destruction of the game.
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