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Today's game theory intro 
8th-Jan-2014 12:21 am
William has learned about Rock, Paper, Scissors. In honor of that, a puzzle:

Same game: Rock breaks Scissors, Paper covers Rock, Scissors cut Paper. So far so good. Now we add a couple twists:
  • I do research and find myself a Better Rock, a chunk of pure New England granite that rules, absolutely crushes all lesser Rocks. Even though it still loses to Paper I'm happy with it.
  • Meanwhile you've been doing your own research; being of a technological bent you know there are better ways to do Scissors; carbon steel with a diamond edge; not only cuts Paper but completely destroys other Scissors as well. Granted, even a diamond edge is no match for an any actual Rock, let alone mine, but you still win against everything else, so you're happy.
So... my Rock beats your Rock, your Scissors beat my Scissors, and Paper vs. Paper is the only draw possibility left.

What's my strategy? What's your strategy?

And how does this change if I go out and get really good, battle-ready Paper as well, e.g., some of that Tyvek stuff that they use to insulate houses; something that will entirely shred your Paper, even if your high-tech Scissors will still make short work of it. Meaning that not only is there no longer any possibility of a draw, but out of the 9 possible scenarios, I'm winning in five of them.

Unfair, right?

10th-Jan-2014 03:03 am (UTC)
Are we to understand that only you may play Granite, or is that play available to me, too? Do I have a monopoly on Tyvek?
10th-Jan-2014 08:44 am (UTC)
yes, only I get to play Granite. You, in turn, get the Magic Scissors.

And in the second version of the game, I get both Granite and Tyvek.
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