Tutorial Home Lessons from the Prisoner's Dilemma

5: Post-match analysis (2)

Massive Retaliatory Strike punishes defection, and never forgives. It defects if you've ever defected. If we put Flip-a-coin and MRS together, MRS would do very well.

If you provoke MRS, it will be a sucker once, but never again. You can beat MRS by defecting early on, but then the game will be very low-scoring, and you want to maximise your score. So you are far better off co-operating with it, and defecting on the very last round of the game. Go back and give it a try if you doubt that this is the best strategy.

So is MRS the "best" way to play Prisoner's Dilemma? We're beginning to see that the best strategy depends very much on the nature of your opponent. Overall, however, this strategy has disadvantages:

There must be a way to show forgiveness, but still not be a sucker. On the next page, we will take a look at one way to do that.


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