The Prisoner's Dilemma

The Prisoner's Dilemna

The idea behind the game is to try out win/win, win/lose and play/play strategies under simplified conditions.

The Scenario

For your crimes of speaking out about the joys of polyopoly, the evil regime have had you thrown into the solitary confinement block of the state prison. Uncharacteristically, there is only one other prisoner in the block with you, but the guards have put him well out of hearing or shouting range.

At around the same time, the regime's PR agency have suggested that they should release some prisoners to convince the world press that they are not such a bad bunch after all. For their amusement, the guards have devised this little torture to help them decide who to set free.

How To Play

  1. To begin, you should select the nature of the other prisoner
    • The Optimisthas every faith in the milk of human kindness, unless you do your best to prove them wrong.
    • The Pessimistwill assume the worst of you, until you prove them otherwise, but that is not all that easy!
    • The Realistwill assume that they can assume nothing about you whatsoever.
    • The Telepathknows more about what you are thinking than you do yourself.
  2. Press the Start the Game button.
  3. Next, for each round of the game, you have to decide whether you want to cooperate with the other prisoner, or compete with them.
    • If you both decide to cooperate, you will both get 3 credits.
    • If you both decide to compete, you will both get 1 credit.
    • If one of you decides to compete, and the other decides to cooperate, the competetive one will receive 5 credits, and the other will get nothing.
    Once you have decided, press the Play button.

By watching your performance (your average number of credits each round), the guards decide whether you are a winning or not.

They also arbitrarily decide when they have had enough of the game... (up to 20 rounds)

The Game


Select the nature of the other prisoner:

Play A Round

This time, do you want to

  • Cooperate, or
  • Compete?

And the Results So Far:

In this round, the other prisoner decided to

After rounds, your total is credits
(which is an average of credits each round).

The other prisoner has credits
(which is an average of credits each round).