Project Waterloo: Facebook Game (Theory)

Microsoft is using Facebook as its platform to conduct one of the largest game theory experiments in recent history. Through the medium of a strategy game, similar to the game Risk, Microsoft is attempting to collect and analyze the data to come to conclusions about individuals game theory rationale. The game is entitled Project Waterloo, and I decided to venture onto this virtual battlefield and try my hand at it. Hopefully, with my knowledge of the intention of the game, and my current enrollment  in an Economics program would put me at a slight advantage over my randomly chosen opponents. But before we get to the results, let me explain to you the rules, and then what I chose to do:

You have 100 “troops” at your disposal, and 5 territories to capture. Both you and your opponent will decide how to divide up these 100 troops into 5 territories, and whomever has more troops at each territory wins that territory. 

Seems straightforward, right? Well, I started out with a very balanced approach: 20 men to each territory. But then, I had another thought, if the person did the same exact strategy, we would tie all 5, and there would be no winner. So my second game strategy changed slightly, 21 men at 4 territories and then the remaining 16 at the 5th. I would relinquish one territory for an increased chance of victory at the other 4. I’ve put both of these plans into action 5 times, giving me a total of 10 games to win or lose.

This is fascinating game theory because this is essentially a prisoners dilemma multiplied by 5. We have limited resources that must be allocated to 5 territories, but we do not know the actions of the other player. Please try this game!

I have not heard back from my opponents yet, because this is a Facebook game I believe they have several days to decide their move, but if you are interested, please click this link and go play!

Nick

Sources:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2011/10/12/microsoft-uses-facebook-as-giant-lab-to-study-game-theory/

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One thought on “Project Waterloo: Facebook Game (Theory)”

  1. This game is rather clever. What really grabbed my attention was the simplicity of it. The directions do seem pretty straightforward considering they are only three lines long. The possibilities however are endless(not really but you get the idea). I logged on to play the game but as you said the results are not instaneous. I used a different straegy, I overloaded two areas, left the third area little weaker and almost nothing in the fourth. I thought since you were being a little more conservative that I would go a little more wreckless. Anyway good post, that simple game got me thinking more than I thought it would.

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