The mathematical theory of games was first developed as a model for situations of conflict, whether actual or recreational. It gained widespread recognition when it was applied to the theoretical study of economics by von Neumann and Morgenstern in Theory of Games and Economic Behavior in the 1940s. The later bestowal in 1994 of the Nobel Prize in economics on Nash underscores the important role this theory has played in the intellectual life of the twentieth century.
This volume is based on courses given by the author at the University of Kansas. The exposition is "gentle" because it requires only some knowledge of coordinate geometry; linear programming is not used. It is "mathematical" because it is more concerned with the mathematical solution of games than with their applications.
Existing textbooks on the topic tend to focus either on the applications or on the mathematics at a level that makes the works inaccessible to most non-mathematicians. This book nicely fits in between these two alternatives. It discusses examples and completely solves them with tools that require no more than high school algebra.
In this text, proofs are provided for both von Neumann''s Minimax Theorem and the existence of the Nash Equilibrium in the $2 \times 2$ case. Readers will gain both a sense of the range of applications and a better understanding of the theoretical framework of these two deep mathematical concepts.