Big thanks to the LW team for putting together the Petrov Day experience! (Setup. Follow up.)

I looked over the comments and it seems like there there were a number of suggestions for how to do this better. Instead of waiting for the next year, let's do it right now.

My proposed setup:

1. Take the original 125 LW users. Take a prize pool of $1,250 (or more if people are willing to donate). The prize pool is split evenly between each player, but you have to survive the game to get paid. Everyone is anonymized in the game.

2. The game will last a minimum of 4 days (to give everyone enough time to act, strategize, and think). After 4 days, there will be an increasing probability that the game will end at any minute. (This is to prevent anyone trying to attack right when the game ends to avoid retaliation. In expectation, the game should last about a week.)

3. Each player will have the number of missiles equal to the number of players. They can launch any number of them.

4. When a missile is launched: a) the attacked player is notified that they are being attacked by a specific player (and therefore has an option to retaliate), b) 48 hours after the launch, the attacked player is declared dead: they can no longer perform any actions and will not receive a payout, c) 48 hours after the launch, the attacking player gets the target player's entire prize pool.

5. During the game there will be at least 125 fake alerts. They will be generated randomly (so some players might receive zero or more than one fake alerts). It will look the same as if some specific player has launched a missile against you. 48 hours after the notification, you'll find out whether it was real or not by whether or not you're still alive.

Additional details:

  • You can see who has been killed.
  • You can only know about missiles launches that you have done or that have been done to target you.
  • If you take money from a player who already took money from someone else, you get those too. So in theory, we could end up with one winner with the entire original prize pool.
  • When people create their accounts, they'll have an optional to either receive their winnings directly (let's say via PayPal) or to donate to LW. (Personally, I hope most people will choose the second option, which will make the payout much less of a hustle.)
  • I'm not sure how to easily structure this so that the players are completely anonymous. (For example, if I'm sending the payouts, I'll know.) If this seems like an important feature, I'm willing to work through this. (E.g. each player gets a random invite code and creates a new account. There's no record of who received what invite code. Payouts are done to anonymous BTC addresses.)

What do you think?

  • Does it look like the rules are facilitating the kind of experiment we want to run?
  • If you were part of the originally selected group, are you willing to participate?
  • Can anyone add to the prize pool?
  • Any clever way to structure this game on top of some existing platform to avoid writing too much code?


New Comment
4 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:37 AM

It looks like you get a big advantage from sharing information with another player. In the absence of this, maybe the best strategy is to respond to all alerts with some probability that you think leads to good dynamics if adopted as a general strategy.

What information would you share that would give you an advantage? (Keep in mind that players are anonymous. Though I guess anyone could in theory de-anonymize themselves.)

Well, if players still have identifying pseudonyms, you could share that you're being attacked by a certain pseudonym to help you update on whether attacks are real or false, you could try to coordinate to not attack each other if you know your own psudonym. But even without pseudonames, you could share timing information, which might be important.

I guess that seems to me to be within the spirit of the game.

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