Game of Theories: How Not To Be Played Down

If you have been following Prison Break, a popular US TV series, then you would know about the latest season which has come out after a very long time.


Well, watching the series this time, I never thought I would come across something which would intrigue me so much and so instantly. It is something which Sara discusses with (her husband) Jacob in relation to Michael, and he says it is a classic Game Theory approach.


Made Me Wonder, What This Game Theory Is?

Been in existence for over six decades, was originally thought to be related to zero-sum game – where one gains at the loss of other. However, it’s now an umbrella term referred in relation to logical decision making.


Seems like a lot of effort and research has been carried out over the years, which has resulted in various situations and fields in which this theory has been applied and evolved.


We All Start With “Imperfect Information” …

As I start reading the different types of game theories, I was astonished to learn, although these are mathematical or economics based models, these can prove to be lifesaving in real life situations. And, how being knowledgeable about such theories can help you identify potentially un-friendly tango [military term used for target or opponent].


In a world full of deceptive people, it’s almost unlikely to attain all or complete information, which is correct or perfect – resulting in favourable outcome. Most of the games/situations, thus, are played with imperfect information, from the onset.


In A Perfect World …

In a perfect world, there would be one controller or dictator who would hold all the cards and would know the outcome. Seldom, is the case!


Therefore, till a decision or an outcome is reached, think of it as a continuous game which feeds on the outcomes of many players, who may or may not be set in motion by the one calling all the shots or actually playing the game.



Moments back, I mentioned these theories could be lifesaver. Let’s see how?


Whether you are hiring a person, making a business deal, or presenting your case – knowing as much about other person or company would be beneficial. That’s a given, whenever we go out for an interview, isn’t it?


Whether that information comes handy or not, the moral advantage it gives you, can’t be matched. Moreover, at a higher level, it’s the leverage you have on other person which decides which way the deal or negotiation would go.


The Cooperative and Non-Cooperative game types would tell you that your chances of success would improve considerably if you are able to form alliances; doesn’t matter if they are with mutual agreement or enforced.


With the assumptions and the need of bargaining power over others eliminated, that’s two less things to worry about.


Still… In a business, where things can get uglier than your imagination, it’s advised to still have that bargaining power; humans are unpredictable!


In order to reach a goal, we break the whole journey in to smaller milestones. And, the outcomes would densely depend on the outcomes of the strategies devised for these milestones. If these milestones are people dependent then it’s asymmetric, and if the people can be replaced in a way that only outcome matters then it’s symmetric game play.


“A symmetric game is a game where the payoffs for playing a particular strategy depend only on the other strategies employed, not on who is playing them.” – Wiki


Keeping a holistic view, these theories should guide you to take an educated course of action.


It is one thing to be uninformed, and another to be informed. Then again, what you do with that information or the lack of it, decides the outcome.


First, you use them to get relevant information, and then, you use that information to get to them! ~ P.R.


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