Formal analysis of the behavior of two parties with divergent interests in situations that can be described by rules. For example, the Prisoner's Dilemma is one of the more popular of the games that have been studied. Game theoretic analysis seems to provide insight into historical situations involving conflict and cooperation, as shown by Nalebuff and Brandenburger (1996) who describe such situations. To be useful, however, analysis must be done in advance of the outcome, and this is likely to be difficult. In effect, a game theorist must describe a game that is analogous to the target situation.

There has been ample time to research game theory. For example, the Nash equilibrium was described by Zeuthen in 1930 and the special case duopoly model was published by Cournot in 1838, both well before Nash’s work was published in 1951 (Kaul & Fox, 1994). (Those who know Stigler’s Law will not find it strange that the concept is called the Nash equilibrium).  Yet little of the enormous effort devoted to research on game theory has been concerned with forecasting validity. Even as far back as 1960, Janowitz wrote that "a social science theory… based upon game theory appears to be an unfulfilled promise for it has not produced hypotheses and understanding beyond common sense" (Brandis, 1964). The research that does exist shows that simulated interaction provides more accurate predictions in situations that involve conflicts among the roles of the parties involved (Green, 2002). Another method, structured analogies, uses analogous real situations rather than an analogous game to forecast the outcome of a target situation. To date, however, little research has been done on the use of structured analogies.