What does classic economics, game theory, and zombies have in common? Absolutely nothing, unless you are a part of the Yahoo! Labs team and have a bit too much free time on your hands.
The Yahoo! Labs team have launched Shambling Hordes, an online game you must lead your zombie army to conquer your opponent’s territory. To play, each player take turns moving their army. As the two armies meet, each player can allocate their zombies into three groups and the winner is determined by matching the the three different groups against each other. It’s a best two-out-of-three content and the winner of each skirmish can span more zombies to take over more territory.
What’s interesting is that the game design to an economics fan boy like me is that the design is based on the principles of game theory. The game is 100% a game of skill based on making the correct moves.
The next natural question is, why? Yahoo!’s stated goal is to throw a game out on the sandbox and to learn what happens. One must hope and assume that that others at Yahoo! are working on much bigger online game projects to change the world. In the meantime, we can get our game theory on and command our horde of zombies.