Extensive-form game

The game on the right has two players: 1 and 2. The numbers by every non-terminal node indicate to which player that decision node belongs. The numbers by every terminal node represent the payoffs to the players (e.g. 2,1 represents a payoff of 2 to player 1 and a payoff of 1 to player 2). The labels by every edge of the graph are the name of the action that edge represents.

In extensive form, an information set is indicated by a dotted line connecting all nodes in that set or sometimes by a loop drawn around all the nodes in that set.

We will have a two by two matrix with a unique payoff for each combination of moves. Using the normal form game, it is now possible to solve the game and identify dominant strategies for both players.

These preferences can be marked within the matrix, and any box where both players have a preference provides a nash equilibrium. This particular game has a single solution of (D,U’) with a payoff of (1,2).

A game with incomplete and imperfect information represented in extensive form

The game on the left is one of complete information (all the players and payoffs are known to everyone) but of imperfect information (the employer doesn't know what nature's move was.) The initial node is in the centre and it is not filled, so nature moves first. Nature selects with the same probability the type of player 1 (which in this game is tantamount to selecting the payoffs in the subgame played), either t1 or t2. Player 1 has distinct information sets for these; i.e. player 1 knows what type they are (this need not be the case). However, player 2 does not observe nature's choice. They do not know the type of player 1; however, in this game they do observe player 1's actions; i.e. there is perfect information. Indeed, it is now appropriate to alter the above definition of complete information: at every stage in the game, every player knows what has been played by the other players. In the case of private information, every player knows what has been played by nature. Information sets are represented as before by broken lines.

It may be that a player has an infinite number of possible actions to choose from at a particular decision node. The device used to represent this is an arc joining two edges protruding from the decision node in question. If the action space is a continuum between two numbers, the lower and upper delimiting numbers are placed at the bottom and top of the arc respectively, usually with a variable that is used to express the payoffs. The infinite number of decision nodes that could result are represented by a single node placed in the centre of the arc. A similar device is used to represent action spaces that, whilst not infinite, are large enough to prove impractical to represent with an edge for each action.