Centipede game
Instructions
You an a randomly chosen
coplayer are sitting at a virtual table facing each other. Next to one
of the two players, there are two stacks of money on the table, one smaller
than the other. You have a maximum of ten rounds to play. You can either
take the larger stack and leave the smaller to your coplayer  this ends
the game. Or else, you can push both stacks to your coplayers side. In
this case, both stacks increase by one Euro. It is now the other player
who can leave with the larger stack, or push both stacks back towards you
(in which case both stacks increase again by one Euro each). The stacks
can cross the line at most ten times. At the start, one stack is three,
the other one Euro. They increase by one Euro each time they cross midtable,
so that after all ten crossings, one stack contains 13 Euro and the other
one 11.
Evaluations
Number of players: 42 (21 games in two sessions)
Mean number of crossings: 5 ±
2.5
Distribution of crossings:
Notes

Impossible to analyze the two sessions individually (missing date entry).

Most players are cooperative and fear only the end of the game.

No game was played to the very end.
Comments
This is an instance of
backward induction. No rational player wants to be the last to shift the
stacks to the other side. If both players are rational, and are fully aware
of this, the game will end in the first round with low payoffs for both
sides.
Written by Christoph Hauert