Welcome to Housemate's Dilemma.

It's nominations day in the House, and there's a task to complete for next week's food budget. You and another housemate are key players this year, and there's an uneasy atmosphere between you. At each stage of the day, you have the choice of either bitching about the other housemate, or being nice. The other housemate has the same choice.

After each stage, points are awarded, as follows:

  • If neither of you bitched at that stage, you get 250 points each for helping to create a good atmosphere in the house.
  • If both of you bitched, you get just 50 points each, for being a right pair of troublemakers.
  • If one of you bitched but the other didn't, the one who bitched gets 400 points for putting one over, while the one who didn't gets nothing for being a wuss.

The nominations and task may end at any time, from mid-morning to last thing at night. When that happens, nominations and the next week's food budget are decided as follows:

  • Any housemate with an average of 200 points or less is nominated, and up for eviction.
  • Any housemate with an average of more than 200 points is safe from eviction.
  • If the combined average of both housemates is more than 300 points, the task has been passed, and the house gets a luxury food budget for next week.
  • If the combined average of both housemates is 300 points or less, the task has been failed, and the house will get a basic food budget for next week.

It's up to you how you play. Bitch too much, and you and the other housemate may both end up nominated, with the house on a basic food budget. If neither of you bitch at all, then you'll both be safe, there'll be plenty of food, and everyone will love you. Bitch just the right amount, and you can be just that bit more popular than your rival, while maintaining a good reputation. Go in for the kill at just the right moment, and you can leave your rival nominated, while you take the credit for the luxury food budget - if bitching people up like that is your thing, of course.

How to play.

When the page loads, type your name into the box in the red panel and press 'Play!'. You'll be prompted when to click 'Be Nice' or 'Bitch'. You can press 'Abandon' to end a game at any time. You won't know when the game is going to end, and each game can end at a different time. To start a new game, press 'Start Game'.

Does the computer just bitch at random?

No. It has five different strategies:

  • Tit for Tat - it only bitches when you have.
  • Suspicious Tit for Tat - it bitches on the first round, then only if you have.
  • Random Defects - it bitches randomly, with the likelihood of bitching (say, 40%) chosen at random at the start of each game.
  • Adaptive Defects - it watches you, and bitches depending on how much (and how recently) you've been bitching.
  • Grim Trigger - it doesn't bitch unless you do, but once you have, it doesn't forgive you.

The strategy is chosen at random at the start of each game. The computer tells you which strategy it used at the end of each game, in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

What's the point?

The real point of this game is not how successful you are, but how your housemate's behaviour affects yours. You may start out intending to be nice all the time, but if your housemate keeps bitching and getting you nominated, you may find yourself deciding that you must fight fire with fire. Or you may decide to stay nice and let yourself be nominated, knowing that doing so will earn the house a luxury food budget. Or you may go all-out from the start to get your housemate nominated, especially if they look like a soft touch who won't bitch back. A few rounds of this game can tell you a lot about yourself!

About the game.

Housemate's Dilemma is based on Prisoner's Dilemma, a psychological game about cooperation and betrayal. This game was reputed to have been the basis for the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction pursued by America and the Soviet Union in the late 20th century. For details, see this article in WikiPedia.

This version was written by Paul Stephens at www.paulspages.co.uk, and is based on DNJ Dilemma, first published at www.dnjonline.com.