Students in 15.040 participate in two types of interactive exercises, as described here:

In-Class Games

In four lectures, we will play a game in class that requires preparation before class. This will involve reading and completing a 1-2 page worksheet, taking no more than 20 minutes per game. Full participation credit will be given for a thoughtfully completed worksheet (handed in to TA at or before the beginning of class).

Online Games

Prior to about half of the lectures, students will play an online game. No preparation is required. Most games require about 5-15 minutes to play. Full participation credit will be given for playing the game. Bonus participation credit will be given to those whose performance across all the games exceeds an objective threshold. The professor will reveal the threshold and who exceeded it after the last game is played. The online games are designed to prompt discussion in class the following day.

Logistics of Online Games

Information about how to access the online games will be provided in class. The online games were written by Assistant Professor Mike Shor of Vanderbilt University, and the summary descriptions available below are courtesy of him. More information is available at

Games will become available by 5:00 PM the day of the lecture in which they are announced and must be played by midnight the day prior to the next lecture. Results from the online games will be announced in lecture. (Note that the numbering of the games in the table below is not sequential; it corresponds to the game numbers on

1 Introduction    
2 Rationality? Prepare Worksheet for Urn Game (PDF) Play Online Game #1: Beauty Contest (PDF) and notify TA of the members of your team
3 Equilibrium I Prepare Worksheet for Bluffing Game (PDF) Play Online Game #4: Monitoring Game (PDF)
4 Equilibrium II   Play Online Game #3: Entrant Game (PDF)
5 Commitment   Play Online Game #6: New Market Game (PDF)
6 Strategic Substitutes and Strategic Complements Prepare Worksheet for Dynamic Pricing Game (PDF)  
7 Application: Entering a Market    
8 Application: Brinksmanship Prepare Worksheet for Angry Negotiation Game (PDF)

Optional Follow-up: Computerized Angry Negotiation Tournament (PDF)

Students fill out this spreadsheet to play (XLS)

Use this spreadsheet to experiment with different strategies – how payoffs change depending on what strategy you and your opponent choose (XLS)

More detail on how payoffs are computed  (PDF)
9 Auctions   Play Online Game #8: Takeover Bidding (PDF)
10 Uncertainty and Information   Play Online Game #7: Incentives Game (PDF)
11 Reputation and Strategic Irrationality