Monday, July 28

The Game of Trust

There is this interesting game which I played in a course on Negotiation.

Separate a group of people into 4 groups.
These represents 4 companies.

The 4 companies are separate entities, but have joint projects with each other.

This game has 12 rounds.
The group that makes the most money at the end of 12 rounds is the winner.

Each company has 1 blue card and 1 red card per round, and the colour of the card determines a decision which they will make.

In a round robin fashion, each round pits one group with a joint venture with another group. And at each round, each group put a coloured card into an envelope.

The rules of calculating profit are as follows.
(1) If both groups use a blue card, they will each earn $1,000.
(2) If one group use a red card but the other group use a blue card, the group that uses the red card will earn $2,000, but the group that uses the blue card will lose $2,000.
(3) If both groups use a red card, they will both lose $1,000.

This can be simply interpreted as
(1) Cooperation - Both stands to gain.
(2) Deceit - Winning at the cost of the other company.
(3) Hatred - They won't win, but you won't win either.

Before the cards are placed in the envelope, the groups will surely try to sweet-talk the other group into putting in a blue card.

If lucky, the first few rounds will see pairs of blue cards, which will result in $1,000 for each group.

Sooner or later, some group will try to deceit, to coax the other group to put in a blue card while they sneakily put in a red card. $2,000 for the traitors and -$2,000 to those who believed in them.

And when that happens, you can expect hatred. Those who lost $2,000 trusting those b**tards will likely put a red card in the next round, dismissing all the sweet-talk from the opponents to explain their previous betrayal.

From then on, the game gets ugly.
Its hatred all the way.

In one classic instance, the "traitor" group sealed a blue card into the envelope in front of your very eyes to show their sincereity in making up. So will you be a nice guy and put a blue card in the envelope too?

I won't, screw these guys!

At the end of the game, all teams have been betrayed in some way or another. With the "Super traitor" groups blacklisted by all other groups.

A few teams incurred an overall loss at the end of the game, because they wanna drag the other party down for betraying them.

Plenty of morals can be derived from this game.
The most important of which is - once you lose the trust, it takes forever to earn it back.


numbernine said...

This is a well known result from game theory.

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