MA402      Half Unit
Game Theory I

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Bernhard Von Stengel


This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, MBA Exchange, MSc in Applicable Mathematics, MSc in Financial Mathematics and MSc in Operations Research & Analytics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

It is not available to students who have taken Game Theory (MA300) or Game Theory I (MA301).


The course emphasises a formal treatment of mathematical Game Theory through definitions, theorems and proofs. Familiarity with a rigorous treatment of mathematics is expected. Students must know basics of linear algebra (matrix multiplication, geometric interpretation of vectors), analysis (continuity, closed sets), and probability theory (expected value, conditional probability, independence of random events).

Course content

Concepts and methods of mathematical game theory. Nim and combinatorial games. Congestion games. Games in strategic form, dominated strategies, Nash equilibrium. Cournot quantity competition. Game trees with perfect information, backward induction. Commitment. Expected utility. Mixed equilibrium. Zero-sum games, maxmin strategies. Extensive games with information sets, behaviour strategies, perfect recall. Bargaining. Geometry of equilibria.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and lectures delivered as online videos.

Formative coursework

Weekly exercises are set and marked.

Indicative reading

Required text: B von Stengel, Game Theory Basics, Cambridge University Press 2021.


Exam (90%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Coursework (10%).

Weekly exercises will be set and marked, and count as coursework.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Mathematics

Total students 2020/21: 37

Average class size 2020/21: 19

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills