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University of Tokyo

Welcome to Game Theory

University of Tokyo via Coursera


This course provides a brief introduction to game theory. Our main goal is to understand the basic ideas behind the key concepts in game theory, such as equilibrium, rationality, and cooperation. The course uses very little mathematics, and it is ideal for those who are looking for a conceptual introduction to game theory. Business competition, political campaigns, the struggle for existence by animals and plants, and so on, can all be regarded as a kind of “game,” in which individuals try to do their best against others. Game theory provides a general framework to describe and analyze how individuals behave in such “strategic” situations. This course focuses on the key concepts in game theory, and attempts to outline the informal basic ideas that are often hidden behind mathematical definitions. Game theory has been applied to a number of disciplines, including economics, political science, psychology, sociology, biology, and computer science. Therefore, a warm welcome is extended to audiences from all fields who are interested in what game theory is all about.


  • Why Do We Need Game Theory, and What Does it Tell Us?
    • Is it possible to analyze a wide variety of social and economic problems using a unified framework? In the first module, we address this question. We will see that the concept of rational decision making is useful, but it is not quite sufficient to provide governing principles. Motivated examples and some history of game theory will be provided. You will also be asked to play a simple card game to see how it feels to make your decisions strategically.
  • Understanding Nash equilibrium
    • The basic solution concept of game theory is Nash equilibrium. In Module 2, we try to understand this central concept through various examples and ask the following crucial question: how do players come to play a Nash equilibrium?
  • Rationality, Knowledge, and Evolution in Games
    • In Module 3, we will dig deeper into the relationship between rationality and Nash equilibrium. We will consider the whole spectrum of possible intellectual capacities of players, spanning the range from unlimited ability for sophisticated reasoning to absolute zero intelligence. In the end, you will see that Nash equilibrium can emerge under a fairly wide range of intellectual capacities of players.
  • Sustaining Cooperation
    • The final module is devoted to the most important and most general message of game theory: rational behavior quite often leads to a socially undesirable outcome. We will first try to understand the basic reason for this, and then see how this insight of game theory has made fundamental impacts in the natural and social sciences. Finally, we will learn some general methods to overcome this problem.

Taught by

Michihiro Kandori



4.5 rating, based on 16 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 1941 ratings

Start your review of Welcome to Game Theory

  • My difficulty review may be slightly biased by the fact that I have taken another game theory course previously (offered on Coursera by Matt Jackson - Prof Kandori does make mention of this course in Welcome to Game Theory as well) which I found ins…
  • Anonymous
    A very brief and simple introduction to Game Theory using real life examples. There are no pre-requisites.

  • L K B
    Great and easy introduction to the subject. It was easy to follow, and while not in depth, it allowed me to understand the theory and basic principles behind Game Theory. If you want to learn basic this is very good course.
  • Enrico De Menezes
    Introduces major concepts in Game Theory in an easy way. Very good to begin in this topic. Most lectures are interesing, so I didn't get bored at all (I often do in MOOCs).
  • Profile image for Rin Tsukimi
    Rin Tsukimi
    Love this course! The professor provides an engaging introduction about the basic ideas of Game Theory with tons of examples. The course contents are easy to understand even for someone, like me, who doesn't have a advanced math background! He also recommended several following courses to take for people who is interested in this area.
  • Anonymous
    very good introductory course on game theory. no mathematical background needed, and interesting applications provided to illustrate some of the concepts taught. a good course to get started on the basics and give background and an overview on the topic!
  • A fundamental introduction to game theory. Actually it is Tokyo University that attracts me to take the course. The professor's lecture is elaborate and course design is nice. Nevertheless, Japanese English is a bit sucked!
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