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Navigating the Topology of 2x2 Games: An Introductory Note on Payoff Families, Normalization, and Natural Order

Bryan Bruns
Arxiv ID: 1010.4727Last updated: 6/25/2021
The Robinson-Goforth topology of swaps in adjoining payoffs elegantly arranges 2x2 ordinal games in accordance with important properties including symmetry, number of dominant strategies and Nash Equilibria, and alignment of interests. Adding payoff families based on Nash Equilibria illustrates an additional aspect of this order and aids visualization of the topology. Making ties through half-swaps not only creates simpler games within the topology, but, in reverse, breaking ties shows the evolution of preferences, yielding a natural ordering for the topology of 2x2 games with ties. An ordinal game not only represents an equivalence class of games with real values, but also a discrete equivalent of the normalized version of those games. The topology provides coordinates which could be used to identify related games in a semantic web ontology and facilitate comparative analysis of agent-based simulations and other research in game theory, as well as charting relationships and potential moves between games as a tool for institutional analysis and design.

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