• Class Number 3508
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Martin Richardson
    • Dr Martin Richardson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

In many - perhaps most – economic, political, legal and social interactions, there is potential for strategic behaviour, a term, “intended to focus on the interdependence of the adversaries' decisions and on their expectations about each other's behaviour.” (Schelling, 1960, The Strategy of Conflict).   Recognising and understanding such behaviour is an essential part of any analyst’s toolkit and this course is designed to enable just such recognition and understanding. Game theory has successfully been applied in a diverse range of fields, such as economics, political science, military analysis, law, biology and computer science.

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to strategic thinking and analysis through the basic techniques of game theory and to illustrate the range of its applications in almost all fields of social interaction.  While the level of the course will be introductory, and mathematical prerequisites are minimal, the presentation of the material will rely on precise logical arguments.  This course should be of interest to students from any part of the University.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how game theorists approach a strategic problem.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the tools taught in class and be able to recognise their application to the analysis of real world situations.
  3. Recognise the strategic issues in a problem and demonstrate an understanding of how a game theorist might decide on the appropriate tools to analyse it.

Research-Led Teaching

The lecturer is a user of game theory in his own research, albeit as a tool of analysis rather than the subject of the analysis itself. Consequently, students will be exposed to the practical use of game theory and strategic thinking in current economics research – explicitly in one of the applications covered in s.9 of the course, time permitting.

Examination Material or equipment

No materials permitted.

Watson, J. (2013), Strategy: an introduction to game theory 3e. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-91838-0.

Osborne, M. (2009), An introduction to game theory Intn’l Ed. Oxford UP. ISBN 978-0-19-532248-4.

Dixit, A., S. Skeath & D. Reiley (2015), Games of strategy. 4e. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-91968.

Texts will be available in the library on short term reserve. Any older editions of these books will do. Students will be supplied with a set of selected readings and copies of (most of) the lecture slides as we proceed.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

It is hoped that the lectures will involve a lot of discussion, questions and answers. We will provide a verbal review of each tutorial exercise and review of the quizzes (in tutorial time) and thus feedback to the class as a whole. All online and in-class questions will be discussed directly in class.

The Wattle site contains a forum for ongoing (anonymised) discussion and feedback and there will also be a small, optional survey mid-way through the course. I will be appointing a couple of student class representatives and they will be an important source of (anonymised) feedback too – more details in class.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information


All students attend a one hour tutorial starting in the second week. Enrolment in tutorials will be completed online through Wattle.

The first tutorial will take place during the second week of class. Tutorial exercises are designed to apply and reinforce the principles taught in lectures. Foundation tutorial questions for the second week will be available on Wattle in Week One (but not the other questions – you must attend the tutorial to get those.) I emphasise that you must attempt the foundation tutorial problems before attending the tutorial in order to make sense of the regular problems that will be discussed in the tutorial. N.B. None of the tutorial materials will be made available online. The final exam questions will include tutorial style problems. You will only learn problem solving skills (necessary to pass the final exam) through practice, NOT by simply writing down answers from tutorials. You learn by doing and practicing


Students taking this course are expected to commit at least 10 hours a week – on average – to completing the work, comprising:

·        2 hours a week of lectures

·        1 hour a week of tutorial

·        7+ hours a week: reading, writing and tutorial preparation Some weeks will demand less time than this; some more.


Your final mark for the course will be based on the raw marks allocated for each assignment or examination. However, your final mark may not be the same number as produced by that formula, as marks may be scaled. Any scaling applied will preserve the rank order of raw marks (i.e. if your raw mark exceeds that of another student, then your scaled mark will exceed the scaled mark of that student), and may be either up or down.

Technology, Software, Equipment

I plan to use Wattle extensively and as my main means of getting material to you: https://wattlecourses.anu.edu.au/. Please ensure that you have access and that you check it regularly.

Prior to a number of lectures you will be asked to participate in some “on-line experiments” which will help you to focus on games and decision problems which we will discuss later in class. Taking part in this is optional, but recommended. Once you complete a set, it will be recorded. I will have access to the information about which sets you have completed. There are no “right” and “wrong” answers to the posted problems and each set will take only a few minutes to complete. Please respond to the problems as naturally as possible. I will have the aggregated statistics of the class’ responses and we will use these in class discussion. To get the 5% assessment allocated for this component of the course you must do all of the assigned question sets from week two onwards (4 weeks all up.) You will get somewhere between 0% and 5% in this element, depending on what share of the total number of assigned question sets you answer.

·        Please log in here. (You’ll need cookies enabled on your browser to log in.)

·        Our Course Number is 2916.

·        The initial class password is 5749 but you will have to select a new password after login.

Please remember the login name and the personal password you select. (You will be able to retrieve the password if you lost it). After registration you will be automatically directed to the first problem set, an exercise set that I have posted for you to practice but which does not count for assessment purposes. Please respond to all problems. Only after you have completed the set will you receive confirmation (with a red tick) and the fact that you have done it will be recorded. In case you are interrupted before you finish the set you will be able to login again and resume the set from the point at which you stopped.

Finally, we will be using some in-class surveys run through PollEverywhere. To participate in these you will need, ideally, some form of internet access while in class: a smartphone, tablet or laptop. More instructions will be provided in class.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lectures. Admin details; maths expected; methodology; rationality. It will also be explained that these summaries are tentative and aspirational only and actual coverage will depend on class progress, which varies from year to year. None
2 Lectures. Evolution of cooperation; examples of game forms; classifying games; simultaneous move games; "solving" games. Tutorials. Optional online exercises.
3 Lectures. "Solving" games; zero sum games & minimax; Nash equilibrium (NE) explained and explored; rationality and rationalisability. Tutorials. Optional online exercises.
4 Lectures. Multiple NE; non-existence of pure strategy NE (PSNE); mixed strategies; Nash's theorem; risk; best responses (BR). Tutorials. None
5 Lectures. Interpreting mixed strategies; illustrations of NE. Tutorials. Optional quiz #1. Optional online exercises.
6 Lectures. Illustrations of NE (cont.); games with sequential moves - definitions, NE, backward induction (BI), subgame perfect NE (SPNE). Tutorials. None
7 Lectures. Sequential games - examples, allowing simultaneous moves, finding SPNE. Tutorials. None
8 Lectures. Finding SPNE (cont.); SPNE, BI & rationality; brinkmanship; exogenous uncertainty; imperfect information; bargaining games. Tutorials. Optional online exercises.
9 Lectures. Bayesian games - defined, NE, signalling, Bayesian updating. Tutorials. Optional quiz #2.
10 Lectures. Extensive games with imperfect information; information sets revisited; examples; strategies; NE, beliefs & weak sequential equilibrium (WSE). Tutorials. Optional online exercises.
11 Lectures. Repeated games; automata; punishment strategies; Nash "folk theorem". Tutorials. None
12 Lectures. Repeated games - Axelrod's tournaments; Examples of strategic behaviour - pricing strategies, strategic commitment and limit pricing, auctions. Tutorials. None

Tutorial Registration

All students attend a one hour tutorial starting in the second week.  Enrolment in tutorials will be completed online through Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Quiz #1 15 % 26/03/2019 05/04/2019 1,2
Quiz #2 15 % 07/05/2019 17/05/2019 1,2
Optional online questions 5 % 08/03/2019 31/05/2019 1,2,3
Final Exam 65 % 06/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


The assessment of the optional, redeemable online questions is based on engagement only - there are no right or wrong answers.


Regardless of these weights, a disastrous failure on the final exam is grounds for failing the course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 26/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Quiz #1

Quiz - 15%, redeemable against final.

The in-class quiz, like the optional online questions, is redeemable: if you do better on the final it will count for another 15% of your course grade on top of the default 65%.

For legitimate (medical certificate) deferred quizzes an oral exam with the lecturer will be offered. Students who do not attend a quiz will be awarded a mark of zero for it.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 07/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 17/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Quiz #2

Quiz - 15%, redeemable against final.

The in-class quiz, like the optional online questions, is redeemable: if you do better on the final it will count for another 15% of your course grade on top of the default 65%.

For legitimate (medical certificate) deferred quizzes an oral exam with the lecturer will be offered. Students who do not attend a quiz will be awarded a mark of zero for it.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 08/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Optional online questions

Online question to be completed in weeks 1, 2, 5, 8 and 10. Worth 5% overall for participation alone for weeks 2-10 – redeemable against final. Each will be reviewed in class the following week.

Extensions Policy: The online questions must all be answered by 5:00 pm Friday on the week in which they are assigned. No extensions can be given due to the nature of the exercises.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 65 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Final Exam

65-100%, depending on the student's performance in the other three assessment tasks.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission


Hardcopy Submission


Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Each quiz will be returned in tutorials in the week following it being sat.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments


Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Martin Richardson
6125 3582

Research Interests

Intn’l Econ, Applied Microeconomics

Dr Martin Richardson

Dr Martin Richardson
6125 3582

Research Interests

Dr Martin Richardson


Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions