If your children have been spending a lot of time playing games this summer (Pokemon Go, anyone?), they aren’t alone. Playing a game (video, board, puzzle, or otherwise) is probably the most popular choice of activities for kids with a bit of free time on their hands and the explosion of Pokemon fever is reminding everyone of just how the right game at the right time can take the world by storm.
Introduction to Game Theory
Help your child up his or her game—whatever it is—by giving them an introduction to Game Theory, which is “the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers.” It can be used to model economics and business, politics and elections (read this article about how game theory affects the presidential election), and even multi-player interactions that aren’t usually thought of as games.
To start your child’s education about game theory, have them read Let’s Play, from Muse Magazine. It features a basic game tree that will help your child easily visualize how a dominant strategy can be mapped for a particular game as well as thoughts on how a player can improve their chances of winning, no matter what game they like to play.
However, if Pokemon Go is your child’s obsession right now, no worries, game theory can be applied there as well. Have your child check out the Smogon Forums to discover exactly how they can use game theory to their advantage during a Pokemon battle. No matter what battle results your child ends up with, after reading the articles mentioned here, they will have achieved something important: the goal of learning about game theory.