528 Imbalanced Information, Vol. 1

Information is a valuable commodity in strategy games. It’s most heavily coveted in complex and balanced board games and in multiplayer strategy video games. Knowing something about an opponent— especially something your opponent doesn’t know you know— can turn the tides of an competition immensely.

The comparisons to war are obvious and well exploited in gaming, but what about something more grounded in day-to-day life? For example, let’s introduce two characters, Jack and Bill. J and B are in a relationship. Jack is, quite unfortunately, cheating on Bill. Initially, that means that Jack has some pretty important information about the J/B relationship that Bill does not. In a manner of speaking, Jack has the upper hand (despite the unfortunate nature of the “upper hand”).

But then Bill finds out from a mutual acquaintance about Jack’s infidelity. Now Bill knows the same information as Jack, but Jack doesn’t know that Bill has this information. All decisions and interactions in the relationship are based around this imbalanced information. The apex of the situation occurs when all information becomes balanced (or at least all the key/primary information). In our example above, this is when both Jack and Bill know (and they both know each other knows) that Jack is being unfaithful.

We’ve unpacked the basics of an information imbalance use a real world situation. In Vol. 2 we’ll relate it to contemporary gaming through specific examples.

[ Today I Was Playing: Fire Emblem Fates Birthright and Steamworld Heist ]

June 11, 2016

#games #game-opinion, #game-theory, #strategy-game

Foster Douglas is a game designer, entrepreneur, and a wannabe Japanese-Italian. He’s been posting a new idea each day in this blog for over 2 years.