The Betrayers’ Banquet
The Prisoners' Dilemma is a VERY old economic / game theory model which you've probably heard of - in case not, though, here's a definition:
Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of speaking to or exchanging messages with the other. The police admit they don't have enough evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They plan to sentence both to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the police offer each prisoner aFaustian bargain. Here's how it goes:
- If A and B both confess the crime, each of them serves 2 years in prison
- If A confesses but B denies the crime, A will be set free whereas B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)
- If A and B both deny the crime, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison
The Betrayer's Banquet, taking place on 4 separate occasions between now and Christmas, takes that premise and applies it to a communal dining experience (no really, it does). Diners seated for a (potentially) lavish 32-course meal are each given a token - at the end of each course, they and the person sitting opposite them each decide whether to help, or hinder each other. If both help, they both move up the table by 5 places; if they both hinder, they both move down five places; but if one helps and the other hinders, the helper is penalised by moving 10 places down the table, with the betrayer moved ten places up.
Why is moving down the table bad? Well, towards the top of the table the food and drink is noticeably better than it is at the bottom...and given you've paid nearly £100 for the experience, you probably don't want to be eating Lancashire calamari.
It's a fascinating premise - not only because of the manner in which the game will naturally mix the table up, like speed dating without the sweaty palms, but also because of the long-term planning that people will inevitably do. If someone betrayed you to send you back down towards the less palatable meals during the starters, you'll probably be quite keen to return the favour during dessert...
We can't wait to go along to one of these and try it out - you can read more, and get tickets, here.
- What Betrayer's Banquets
- Where A mystery East London location
- When One date a month between September-December
- How much? Just shy of £100 - but there's a LOT of food
- How long? A few feasty hours