A Player of Games

by Larks 9y23rd Sep 201074 comments


Earlier today I had an idea for a meta-game a group of people could play. It’d be ideal if you lived in an intentional community, or were at university with a games society, or somewhere with regular Less Wrong Meetups.

Each time you would find a new game. Each of you would then study the rules for half an hour and strategise, and then you’d play it, once. Afterwards, compare thoughts on strategies and meta-strategies. If you haven’t played Imperialism, try that. If you’ve never tried out Martin Gardner’s games, try them. If you’ve never played Phutball, give it a go.

It should help teach us to understand new situations quickly, look for workable exploits, accurately model other people, and compute Nash equilibrium. Obviously, be careful not to end up just spending your life playing games; the aim isn't to become good at playing games, it's to become good at learning to play games - hopefully including the great game of life.

However, it’s important that no-one in the group know the rules before hand, which makes finding the new games a little harder. On the plus side, it doesn’t matter that the games are well-balanced: if the world is mad, we should be looking for exploits in real life.

It could be really helpful if people who knew of good games to play gave suggestions. A name, possibly some formal specifications (number of players, average time of a game), and some way of accessing the rules. If you only have the rules in a text-file, rot13 them please, and likewise for any discussion of strategy.