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324759.  Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:20 pm Reply with quote

Egg, it's part of game theory that everyone is assumed to be playing optimally, ie they've outguessed each other to the point of bafflement and now it's all about the maths.

324766.  Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:27 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
I wonder whether we could between us predict what each panellist would call, then write down our prediction on the back of their notepad, which they can then reveal. If we happen to get it right it'll look like pure magic, and if we don't, we stay schtum.

Prestidigitation comes under fingers in my book.

If you really want to look smart, prepare three pads with "Alan says X will play Rock/Scissors/Paper" (different on each pad). Give one pad to Alan, one to guest X and one to Stephen. You get Stephen to say that Alan is pretty good a predicting the outcome. He then asks one of the guests (X) to play their hand. Stephen (who knows who has which pad)then either asks X or Alan to raise their pad (or does it himself) depending on the outcome.

Didn't that Alan play Jonathan Creek............

324807.  Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:31 pm Reply with quote

I think we're getting some insights into the Derren Brown show here, folks. Production credits for Something Wicked This Way Comes:

Derren Brown, Andy Nyman, Peter Clifford
Objective Productions
Andy Nyman, Peter Clifford
Will Bowen

325186.  Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:39 am Reply with quote


Now I've got to kill you.

325352.  Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:31 am Reply with quote

Egg, it's part of game theory that everyone is assumed to be playing optimally, ie they've outguessed each other to the point of bafflement and now it's all about the maths.

Hm, what an unsatisfactory simplification. Do we have to assume that the players are all perfect spheres and that they're playing in a vacuum as well?

325369.  Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:01 am Reply with quote

Egg, it's part of game theory that everyone is assumed to be playing optimally, ie they've outguessed each other to the point of bafflement and now it's all about the maths.

It's not going to replace snooker, is it, from that description ... ?

325384.  Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:49 am Reply with quote

<sigh> Such short attention spans these day. OK then, here's a more exciting game situation that von Neumann and his mate Oskar Morgenstern used as a model.

Sherlock Holmes is being pursued by Moriarty, who will kill him if he catches him. Holmes catches the train from London to Dover, in order to flee to the Continent. Moriarty, rather stylishly, charters another train and follows him. There is only one stop before Dover: Canterbury.

Each of them now has to decide where to leave the train. If they choose the same station, Moriarty catches Holmes and kills him. If Holmes gets off at Canterbury and Moriarty goes on to Dover then it's a draw as Holmes hasn't made good his escape from England.

As the railways have been starved of funding, each of them has plenty of time to try to figure out what the other will do (He'll think that I'll think that ... etc). In Games Theory, though, both of them are (rightly) assumed to be geniuses of equal stature, so they can't out-reason each other. What is needed is an unforeseeable or random strategy.

To reduce it to numbers, if they get off at the same station Moriarty scores 100. If Holmes goes to Dover and Moriarty to Canterbury, Holmes scores 100. If the other way round, Holmes only scores 50, as he could still be caught later. On this basis, Holmes' best strategy is to make Canterbury a 60% probability choice - eg by putting 10 bits of paper in a hat, 6 of them nominating Canterbury. Similarly, Moriarty should make Dover his 60% choice.

The most likely single outcome is therefore Canterbury for Holmes and Dover for Moriarty, which is indeed the outcome that Conan Doyle selects. This is a draw. But although it is the most likely, it is only a 36% probability (60% x 60%) and it's actually more likely (48%) that they will match at one station or the other and Holmes will be killed.


325385.  Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:51 am Reply with quote

Oh, Sir, that's not a game! That's maaaaths!

325388.  Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:56 am Reply with quote

The theory was used to model the Cold War, eg which missile siloes should we take out in a first strike? What if they are bluffing and have kept all their warheads in one of the siloes we didn't take out? Are we better off completely destroying half their siloes or slightly damaging all of them? etc etc

326185.  Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:21 pm Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Oh, Sir, that's not a game! That's maaaaths!

I nearly sneaked it past you, though. Now cut along and show Matron that boil, young Coward.

326211.  Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:50 pm Reply with quote

This might do as the essay:
What’s the best way to win at Rock, Paper, Scissors?

In the perfectly efficient world of Games Theory, the best strategy is to play each choice one third of the time at random. In the real world there’s lots of scope for psychology. Research shows that rock is the most commonly played, and scissors the least – so paper is the best call. If your opponent is at all experienced, though, he will know that rock is the most likely opening move by an inexperienced player (particularly if he’s male, as it’s perceived as a “strong” move: “rock is for rookies”, they say) so he’ll likely call paper – and so you should call scissors. It’s said that if your opponent plays scissors first, you can predict the type of player he is by the angle of his scissors. For instance, if he does a wide scissor then he is aggressive and may throw lots of future rocks, but if it is a thin scissor, he is experienced and you can expect lots of deceptive throws.

This kind of reasoning can go on forever, and you may prefer a sneakier strategy, such as this one: make your first call extremely (and obviously) late. Your opponent will accuse you of cheating, and you say, "Sorry, my fault. Let's do it again." You’ll find that there’s a strong tendency for your opponent to make the same choice the second time as the first, based on the assumption that you will be expecting them to change.

The game exists in many cultures under various names: Jan Ken Pon (Japan), Shnik Shnak Shnuk (Germany), Ching Chong Chow (South Africa), or Farggling (US). In India and Indonesia the game is played with elephant, human and ant, where elephant beats human and human beats ant – and, somehow, ant beats elephant.

Etiquette is important; the clenched fist movements before making your call are called "primes", and it’s very bad form to call paper with the hand held vertically.

327294.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:25 pm Reply with quote

Sounds to me as if you're going beyond Game Theory. Perhaps you're ready for the next step.


Drama Theory is a Problem Structuring Method of Operational Research. It is based on game theory and adapts the use of games to complex organisational situations, accounting for emotional responses that can provoke irrational reactions and lead the players to re-define the game.

327617.  Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:37 am Reply with quote

Is the world yet ready for Panel Game Theory?

Ian Dunn
741971.  Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:51 pm Reply with quote

I've just come across another version of rock, paper, scissors from Japan. It is called Kitsune ken or "Fox fist". There main difference is that it involves both hands.

A variation of the "scissors, rock and paper" game was played by geisha and their customers from the late Tokugawa to Meiji periods. In this game, called Fox Fist (kitsune ken), two people play and the three roles are fox, headman and hunter - symbolised by hands cupped behind the ears, hands on thighs, and hands holding a gun, respectively. The headman loses to the fox, who bewitches him; the fox loses to the hunter, who shoots him; and the hunter loses to the headman, who outranks him. The interesting point is that the fox plays a dual role as the real fox, which can be shot, and the spirit fox, which can bewitch. The fox can bewitch the headman, but not the hunter, who kills his natural form - perhaps obliquely indicating the importance of both the natural and spirit forms.

I should point that foxes appear a lot in Japanese folklore. Kitsune were intelligent beings, could shapeshift, had infinite wisdom, and could have up to nine tails.


* The fox and the jewel: shared and private meanings in contemporary Japanese inari worship, by Karen Ann Smyers, p. 98.
* Kitsune from Wikipedia

1381768.  Tue May 18, 2021 12:49 pm Reply with quote

How do you guys end or play Dark Souls 3? Any Tips? this game is insanely hard, I can't get around it, despite reading a lot of articles. Why would developers make a game so hard?


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