Theodore L. Turocy
Texas A&M University
Bernhard von Stengel
London School of Economics
CDAM Research Report LSE-CDAM-2001-09
October 8, 2001
1 What is game theory? 4
2 Definitions of games 6
3 Dominance 8
4 Nash equilibrium 12
5 Mixed strategies 17
6 Extensive games with perfect information 22
7 Extensive games with imperfect information 29
8 Zero-sum games and computation 33
9 Bidding in auctions 34
10 Further reading 38
This is the draft of an introductory survey of game theory, prepared for the Encyclopedia of Information
Systems, Academic Press, to appear in 2002.
Backward induction is a technique to solve a game of perfect information. It first considers
the moves that are the last in the game, and determines the best move for the player
in each case. Then, taking these as given future actions, it proceeds backwards in time,
again determining the best move for the respective player, until the beginning of the game
A fact is common knowledge if all players know it, and know that they all know it, and
so on. The structure of the game is often assumed to be common knowledge among the
A strategy dominates another strategy of a player if it always gives a better payoff to
that player, regardless of what the other players are doing. It weakly dominates the other
strategy if it is always at least as good.
An extensive game (or extensive form game) describes with a tree how a game is played.
It depicts the order in which players make moves, and the information each player has at
each decision point.
A game is a formal description of a strategic situation.
Game theory is the formal study of decision-making where several players must make
choices that potentially affect the interests of the other players.
A mixed strategy is an active randomization, with... [continues]
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