Metastrategies in the colored trails game

Steven De Jong, Daniel Hennes, Karl Tuyls, Ya'Akov Gal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper presents a novel method to describe and analyze strategic interactions in settings that include multiple actors, many possible actions and relationships among goals, tasks and resources. It shows how to reduce these large interactions to a set of bilateral normal-form games in which the strategy space is significantly smaller than the original setting, while still preserving many of its strategic characteristics. We demonstrate this technique on the Colored Trails (CT) framework, which encompasses a broad family of games defining multi-agent interactions and has been used in many past studies. We define a set of representative heuristics in a three- player CT setting. Choosing players' strategies from this set, the original CT setting is analytically decomposed into canonical bi-lateral social dilemmas, i.e.. Prisoners' Dilemma, Stag Hunt and Ultimatum games. We present a set of criteria for generating strategically interesting CT games and empirically show that they indeed decompose into bilateral social dilemmas if players play according to the heuristics. Our results have significance for multi-agent systems researchers in mapping large multi-player task settings to well-known bilateral normal-form games in a way that facilitates the analysis of the original setting.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Event10th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems 2011, AAMAS 2011 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 2 May 20116 May 2011


Conference10th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems 2011, AAMAS 2011
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China


  • Colored trails
  • Metastrategies

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence


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