What Is a Decision Tree in Game Theory?

If you’re interested in game theory, you may have heard of the term “decision tree” before. A decision tree is a tool used to map out possible decisions and their outcomes. It’s commonly used in game theory to help players make strategic decisions.

Understanding Game Theory

Game theory is a field of study that examines how individuals make decisions when faced with strategic situations. It’s often used in economics, political science, and psychology to understand human behavior.

In game theory, players must make decisions based on the actions of other players. The outcome of each decision depends on the actions of all players involved. This creates a complex web of possible outcomes that can be difficult to navigate without the right tools.

Introducing Decision Trees

Decision trees are visual representations of possible decisions and their outcomes. They’re often used in game theory to help players map out their options and make strategic choices.

At its simplest, a decision tree consists of nodes (circles or squares) representing different decision points, and branches connecting those nodes that represent various outcomes depending on the decision taken.


For example, imagine you’re playing a game where you have two options: option A and option B. If you choose option A, you might win 100 points or lose 50 points. If you choose option B, you might win 50 points or lose 25 points.

This can be represented visually as follows:

Decision Tree Example

As shown above, each node represents a decision point (choosing either A or B), and each branch represents an outcome (winning or losing points).

Benefits of Using Decision Trees

One major benefit of using decision trees is that they help players visualize complex decision-making scenarios. By mapping out possible decisions and outcomes, players can better understand the consequences of their choices.

Decision trees also help players make strategic decisions by highlighting the best possible outcomes based on the choices available.


In game theory, decision trees are an essential tool for mapping out complex decision-making scenarios. By visually representing possible decisions and outcomes, players can make strategic choices and increase their chances of success. Whether you’re playing a board game with friends or making strategic business decisions, understanding how to use decision trees is an invaluable skill.