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Justin Fox

Greece Plays Colonel Blotto With Europe

How "Colonel Blotto" and other ideas from game theory explain the country's new approach.
It helps when your eyes are open.

It helps when your eyes are open.

Photographer: Pigi Cipelli/Archivio Pigi Cipelli/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Greek officials are flying around Europe this week, trying to talk to their counterparts in different countries instead of the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Union that had been their negotiating partner up to now.

Why would they do this? One explanation can be found in a game known as Colonel Blotto. In Colonel Blotto, adversaries allocate troops across multiple fronts. Whoever has the most troops on a particular front wins that battle, and whoever wins the most battles wins the war.