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Game Theory




Admissions requirements

Participants should have a sufficient proficiency and interest in mathematics, and be prepared to amend their mathematics skills when necessary. Students with poor mathematics skills are advised not to choose this course.


Every interaction between two or more individuals can be considered as a game being played. Thus, every one of us is daily involved in mating games, auction games, negotiation games, information games, territorial games, etc. Game theory is the field of mathematics that models such interactions and aims to predict their outcomes. It is hard to overestimate its importance in widely different fields, such as economics, politics, finance, sociology, and biology. In recent years game theory has provided significant insights in the dynamics of human-environment interactions, and it continues to deliver valuable contributions to this increasingly important field of study.

In this course we will address classical games such as the Hawk-Dove game, and the Prisoner's dilemma. These at first sight simple models lead to unexpected results, which greatly enhance our insight in the behaviour of humans as well as other species. Starting from these basic models we will consider generalizations such as dynamical games, where the consequences of choices that are made change in time, and probabilistic games, where outcomes depend on chance.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Analyse classical game theoretic models

  • Interpret results from models in their practical context;

  • Develop game theoretic models;

  • Critically evaluate their own models and results;

  • Study and critically evaluate texts on game theory and applications thereof independently;

After successful completion of this course students should know and understand:

  • Basic principles and concepts of game theory, such as Nash equilibrium, subgame perfection, Pareto efficiency, pure and mixed strategies

  • The relevance of such concepts in applied contexts such as international conflicts and communal resource exploitation.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, group discussions and -assignments, in-class demonstrations of games.


  • Class participation: 10%

  • Quizzes (weeks 2 to 5) 40%

  • Individual assignment (week 6) 20%

  • Group presentation (week 7) 5%

  • Group project report (Reading week) 25%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

  • William Spaniel (2011) : Game Theory 101: The Complete Textbook; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; ISBN-10: 1492728152, ISBN-13: 978-1492728153

  • William Spaniel (2014): Game Theory 101: The Rationality of War; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; ISBN-10: 1500685658; ISBN-13: 978-1500685652


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Patsy Haccou