Game theory is the study of the ways in which interacting choices of economic agents produce outcomes with respect to the preferences (or utilities) of those agents, where the outcomes in question might have been intended by none of the agents. (Stanford)
Game theory is often aimed at zero-sum games where one participant gains at the expense of another aka some actors gets “1” and the other “0”. In his War on Sensemaking series, futurist Daniel Schmachtneberger points to an alarming number of zero-sum games that are being played at the civilizational and societal levels.
Game theory is important in assessing and understanding all of the potential motivations of a/an agent(s) and the matrix of potential outcomes that might be considered by them. Our social, economic, ecological, and political systems are populated with a large number of agents who are operating independently and in coordination to achieve particular outcomes. Game theory helps us understand how these complex systems of actors acting in their environments might be doing their own sense-making. This is an important endeavor for any sense-maker considering how to take targeted action and experiment with incentives towards beneficial behaviors.
Here is a list of curated resources about game theory:
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is an outstanding and thorough dive into game theory.
Institute of Humane Studies has a short four video series and a list of resources.
A simple introduction article here from Towards Data Science.
As described by Prof. Avinash Dixit, one of the early theorists.
And from William Spaniel at gametheory101.com, the first in a 17-part video series on game theory below.