Why is Game Theory of interest to Game Design?
First off, it’s important to note that Game Theory is not equal to Game Design. Game Theory is the analysis of a game (as social interaction), and that can be any game, interesting or otherwise. It’ll just tell you the solution(s) of the game, or other interesting facts about it. It won’t tell you if it’s any fun to play.
Game Design is the crafting of quality games, those that are fun to play, strategically deep, rewarding, with good pacing, etc. etc. etc. I’m no designer, I can’t tell you how to make good games, and neither can Game Theory. What it can do, however, is provide ideas, inspirations, and solutions for game designers.
Game Theory is filled with fascinating little examples, almost like parables, little bundles of design and analysis that highlight certain interesting interactions and provide the germ of an idea, the key to a solution, or a window into player behaviour (both what they are doing, and what you want them to do).