In an ever-increasing technical world, our young minds are diving deeper into the inner workings of computers, how to write rules/codes, program, and solve various problems. Algorithmic game theory is a strategic computational tool where participants create and solve algorithmic equations in a competitive environment. Kids begin the basics of problem-solving and rule following as young as preschool, so we have games for 5-15-year-olds. Pick out a few that fit your learning goals and get playing!
1. Gaming Tic Tac Toe
This classic strategy game is a great beginner lesson on understanding plan of action moves and discovering various outcomes. Set basic rules for what each player should try to achieve, such as preventing their opponent from checking, or filling up the most blocks.
Learn more: Algorithms, Blockchain, and Chain
2. Number Halving
Kindergarten-aged students are learning the basics of math and problem-solving. To encourage algorithmic thinking patterns to emerge, here is a fun and interactive online game they can play to practice learning the halves of numbers.
Learn more: Twinkl
3. Chess Board Color Patterns
Check out this game with step-by-step examples of how to explain a chess board's colors to young kids. Each square can hold a true or false value that can be translated into an equation to predict the patterns.
Learn more: Algorithms, Blockchain, and Clouds
4. Rock, Paper, Scissors
We can turn this fun game of chance into a lesson on the outcome of actions. Give each outcome a number 1, 2, 3, and have students reference previous choices to more accurately predict what the opponent will use next.
Learn more: Office of Scientific and Technical Information
5. Soundscape Hopscotch
This integrative, coordination game combines the basic movements of hopscotch with music elements such as rhythm, pitch, variation, familiarity, and texture. Teachers can set up a standard hopscotch pattern on the floor and play recorded music to see students interact with the sensory input and the relationship between them.
6. Stable Matching Game
This game begins to incorporate Nash Equilibria concepts regarding decision-making and prediction of patterns. Pick a topic and possible combinations, and give them a letter or numerical representative. Have students take turns mixing and matching to see the price of stability with each action.
Learn more: Towards Data Science
7. Flip a Coin
While coin toss results may always be a 50/50 chance, we can teach and learn patterns and strategies of algorithm design by collecting and recording data from this simple demonstration.
Learn more: Saylor.org
8. Feed the Mouse
Here is a super fun and interactive game that teaches kids the basics of algorithmic mechanism design through the process of a mouse maze. You can use a deck of cards and pieces of candy as the path and prizes along the way.
Learn more: Think Fun
9. Candy Sharing
A common approach, but one that kids must learn as they grow up. The concepts of breaking down and sharing units of something. For this demonstration, candy is a fun one to keep students engaged in the lesson.
Learn more: Drexel University
10. Blockly Maze
This free online composite game gives players various options and rules for completing a maze. They have a certain amount of turns and possibilities to use in order to complete the maze successfully.
Learn more: Brain Pop
Middle School Games
11. Mean-Field Game
This analysis of algorithms uses different decision-making strategies to determine the outcome of fish swimming upstream. Are the choices being made by the individual or the collective? What is the optimal performance in this approach to computation?
Learn more: KD Nuggets
12. Dining Philosopher's Solution
Here is a potential game your middle schoolers will spend hours talking through together. The problem is the amount of chopsticks/forks for the table and the rules regarding their usage. Help your students determine the computational complexity and find a resolution where every philosopher can eat.
Learn more: Geeks for Geek
13. Evolutionary Game Theory
How do we make decisions, and what do these decisions mean in the long-term versus short-term? The outcome of actions determines the progress of evolution. Here is a useful video overviewing this theory and how intention influences species or other groups over time, as well as the price of anarchy and other decisions.
Learn more: Khan Academy Medicine
14. Mimo Coding
Time to teach your kids the basics of linear programming and coding. From algorithmic mechanism design to game theory software, creating links, and formatting, this free website has it all!
Learn more: Mimo
15. Yeti Academy
This programming website has all the fun games and challenges your students need to learn the basics of coding, computational complexity, algorithm design, and linear programming.
Learn more: Yeti Academy
High School Games
16. The Prisoner's Dilemma
Explain the 2-player game to your students regarding the strategic environment the two prisoners are in. Depending on what each player chooses to do, this will result in alternative game representations, meaning consequences (good or bad).
Learn more: Britannica
17. Sequencing Card Game
We live in a continuous strategic environment, so teens will benefit from learning the patterns and abstractions of daily events. This card game instructs students to identify and arrange cards in sequential order with an approach to computation and problem-solving.
Learn more: A4 Algo
18. Equilibria in Congestion Game
Congestion games require players to make decisions based on the resources and rules provided within the game's algorithm. For this activity, students will design their own superhero character based on a set of characteristics and abilities for optimum efficiency.
Learn more: Twinkl
19. Printable Scratch Codes
A composite game that teaches the basics of code writing and combining blocks to create efficient algorithms and game semantics.
Learn more: Code Club Australia
20. Coding Term Construction Worksheet
When students understand the language behind coding and game theory, they begin piecing together the construction of mechanisms used to develop or program a computer system. Here is a packet of worksheets introducing the terms commonly used in coding.
Learn more: Code Wizards HQ Team