On the Existence and Heuristic Computation of the Solution for the Commons Game

  • Rokhsareh Sakhravi
  • Masoud T. OmranEmail author
  • B. John Oommen
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8615)


It is well known that Game Theory can be used to capture and model the phenomenon of economic strategies, psychological and social dilemmas, and the exploitation of the environment by human beings. Many artificial games studied in Game Theory can be used to understand the main aspects of humans using/misusing the environment. They can be tools by which we can define the aggregate behavior of humans, which, in turn, is often driven by “short-term”, perceived costs and benefits. The Commons Game is a simple and concise game that elegantly formulates the different behaviors of humans toward the exploitation of resources (also known as “commons”) as seen from a game-theoretic perspective. The game is intrinsically hard because it is non-zero-sum, and involves multiple players, each of who can use any one of a set of strategies. It also could involve potential competitive and cooperative strategies. In the Commons Game, an ensemble of approaches towards the exploitation of the commons can be modeled by colored cards. This paper shows, in a pioneering manner, the existence of an optimal solution to Commons Game, and demonstrates a heuristic computation for this solution. To do this, we consider the cases when, with some probability, the user is aware of the approach (color) which the other players will use in the exploitation of the commons. We then investigate the problem of determining the best probability value with which a specific player can play each color in order to maximize his ultimate score. Our solution to this problem is a heuristic algorithm which determines (locates in the corresponding space) feasible probability values to be used so as to obtain the maximum average score. This project has also involved the corresponding implementation of the game, and the output of the new algorithm enables the user to visualize the details.


Game theory Commons Game Tragedy of commons Implementation of commons Convergence of commons 


  1. 1.
    Baba, N.: The commons game by microcomputer. Simul. Gaming 15, 487–492 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baba, N., Handa, H.: COMMONS GAME made more exciting by an intelligent utilization of the two evolutionary algorithms. In: Baba, N., Jain, L.C., Handa, H. (eds.) Advanced Intelligent Paradigms in Computer Games. SCI, vol. 71, pp. 1–16. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baba, N., Nagasawa, K., Handa, H.: Utilization of soft computing techniques for making environmental games more exciting –toward an effective utilization of the COMMONS GAME. In: Lovrek, I., Howlett, R.J., Jain, L.C. (eds.) KES 2008, Part II. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 5178, pp. 411–417. Springer, Heidelberg (2008) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baba, N., Sakurai, Y., Matsuda, A., Kawachi, T.: Soft computing techniques for making game playing exciting. pp. 132–135 (2005)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Baba, N., Sawaragi, Y., Takahashi, H., Nakamura, E., Machida, K.: Two micro-computer based games. Technical report, WP-86-79 (1986)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brown, J.S., Vincent, T.L.: Evolution of cooperation with shared costs and benefits. Proc. Roy. Soc. B: Biol. Sci. 275(1646), 1985–1994 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brunovský, P.: The commons game. Ekon. Cas. 55(8), 811–814 (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Challet, D., Marsili, M., Zhang, Y.C.: Modeling market mechanism with minority game. Phys. A: Stat. Mech. Appl. 276(1), 284–315 (2000)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dawes, R.M.: Social dilemmas. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 31(1), 169–193 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dodds, W.K.: The commons, game theory and aspects of human nature that may allow conservation of global resources. Environ. Values 14(4), 411–425 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Edney, J.J.: The commons problem: alternative perspectives. Am. Psychol. 35(2), 131–150 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Faysse, N.: Coping with the tragedy of the commons: game structure and design of rules. J. Econ. Surv. 19(2), 239–261 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Handa, H., Baba, N.: Evolutionary Computations for Designing Game Rules of the Commons Game, pp. 334–339. IEEE, Los Angeles (2007)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hardin, G.: The tragedy of the commons. Science 162(3859), 1243–1248 (1968)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hardin, G.: Essays on science and society: extensions of “the tragedy of the commons”. Science 280(5364), 682–683 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hardin, G., Baden, J.: Managing the Commons. Freeman, San Francisco (1977)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kirts, C.A., Tumeo, M.A., Sinz, J.M.: The commons game: its instructional value when used in a natural resources management context. Simul. Gaming 22(1), 5–18 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Powers, R.B., Duss, R.E., Norton, R.S.: THE COMMONS GAME Manual (1977)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rokhsareh Sakhravi
    • 1
  • Masoud T. Omran
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. John Oommen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.University of AgderGrimstadNorway

Personalised recommendations