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Game Theory in Hunger Games

Probability and Game Theory in The Hunger Games

In the popular book and movie The Hunger Games (HG) there has been a subtle example of Game Theory. For of those of you that don’t know the plot. HG is a about an annual lottery where one boy and one girl are selected from each of the 12 districts for a total of 24 contestants to fight till the death in an arena.

However, there is an example of Game Theory that I couldn’t explain until now that I’ve learned about Game Theory. In HG there were alliances formed among groups of the contestants. These groups would work together to hunt down and kill the other players. I was confused when I saw these alliances form because wouldn’t it make sense to kill everyone else in your group because it will put yourself in a better position? This became extremely confusing during the sleeping situations of the group. The table below explains this situation which is an example of the prisoner’s dilemma.

Don’t Sleepall                   Sleepall

Don’t Sleep1    Tired, Tired                 Kill, Killed

Sleep1               Killed, Kill                    Rested, Rested

In this example subscript 1 represent any one person in the group and subscript all represents the rest of the members in group. Here we can see the prisoner’s dilemma situation in which everyone’s dominant strategy would be to not sleep because it is better to be tired rather than to be dead. However this brings up the question in which how would tiredness affect the contestants outcome in the game.

My guess is that eventually those contestants in the alliances would be worse off than if they did not form an alliance because they would not have sleep and not be rested to have the same reflexes and level of thinking. Note: this is considering everyone is equally likely to win the games and was only dependent on tiredness and rest.


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September 2017