Project Waterloo is the first game offered by the Research Games team in Microsoft Research, now live on Facebook.
Users familiar with “Colonel Blotto" style games already know all there’s to know to play Microsoft Research Project Waterloo.
Essentially, players need to challenge an adversary to a game, one of their friends on Facebook will do fine.
Each of the players gets 100 troops and five battle fields to conquer. In order to win, they need to allocate their resources to each area, attempting to anticipate the moves of the opposite player in such a way that they win three of the five battle fields.
“Once both players have allocated their troops, the winner is determined by finding which of the two players has won more battles. A battle is won by having allocated more troops to it than the opponent,” Microsoft reveals.
“The game is complex from a game-theoretic perspective, involves randomized strategies, and can be approached by reasoning about the opponent's reasoning. We have also found it to be fun, engaging, and slightly addictive. It is thus a great test case for studying actual strategic behavior of people on Facebook.”
According to Microsoft, the true purpose of the projects produced by the Research Games team in Microsoft Research is not necessarily to provide great gaming experiences for Facebook.
Instead, the Redmond company is looking to analyze behavioral gaming on social networks and in this case Facebook.
“We aim at testing the behavior of real people in game theoretic interactions in social networks. How do people negotiate with one another? How can we aggregate opinions of individuals to arrive at high-quality decisions? In what ways do people reciprocate other people’s actions?” the software giant asked.
In effect, the entire Research Games project is about building a test platform focused on social networking.