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Subject: Tangible Improvement rss

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Andrew
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Despite half a dozen games, I have struggled to understand how Container works as a game. However a recent 3p game with open money started me on the road to comprehension: I picked up the concepts of shipping when opponents have money, keeping an eye on stock turnover rate, and building a buffer of $2 goods. I recently played another 3p, open money, monopoly-financier game, and this session continued to clarify my understanding.

The first player began by investing in two factories, in the colours that hadn't been distributed; the second player built a factory in my colour and produced, believing correctly that I wouldn't fight him for that colour. I've found that new players invest heavily into infrastructure - this is supposed to be poor play, but in the past they've had just as good a shot at victory. I built a second warehouse and purchased the available goods, pricing my $2 good lower. The second player queried why I'd sell at $0 margin - I said I'd tell him later.

The large investments had left the first player short of cash, so he was leery of purchasing from my warehouses. It was the second player who bought both my goods and he brought them to the island without waiting for the other player to recover his cash position. This became a pattern: the second player would ship too many goods at once, before the first player had decent cash holdings. I tried to exacerbate the situation, avoiding giving the first player liquidity until after the shipment came in. I was able to get several shipments at a great discount this way, until the second player got annoyed and started buying the shipments himself.

I shipped a pair of containers: the second player's most numerous colour and one other colour. His bid gave me a rough idea of his colour valuations, and I was able to craft my shipments accordingly. However one self-purchase seemed to make his 5/10 colour his most numerous and led me to doubt my deduction. My island had a comfortable buffer of my $2 good, as pricing it lower than the other colours at the warehouse led other players to ship it each time.

Due to the shortness of money in the economy (thanks to the heavy investment and numerous self-purchases), the balance of fewer warehouses to factories, and my "starve the non-shipper" tactic, the first player's factories were backing up with cubes. He soon discovered how lucrative shipping was, and joined in, gaining enough cash to start financing the second player.

The second player raised his prices, reasoning that shipping was making too much money relative to warehousing. My warehouse colour mix was high value for me, so instead of raising my prices, I undercut him to induce the first player to ship (as the second player lacked funds). I expect that this would otherwise be the road to raising prices in future games: collusion by warehouse-owners to keep shippers (a relative designation, I expect) from making too much money, and raising prices for colours that attract higher island bids (due to player order, likely shippers, and liquidity).

My frequent island purchases led me to hover around $2-$7 in cash - far less than I previously believed was necessary, and I frequently took loans to load my ship and bid on island shipments (after ensuring future cash flow in the latter case). This had the effect of inducing shippers to wait until I had funds (slowing the game), or to cash me up before going to the island. I'm not sure how well this self-starvation tactic works in higher-player-number games - I expect you'll simply miss shipments unless all players are good at colour valuation.

In the end, my opponents raised prices way up and stopped producing, wanting to profit from the endgame. Rather than put up with this, I built a second factory in the most depleted remaining colour (one was gone already) and produced a couple of times to end the game. I won 107 to 66, 65. The second player had indeed caused his 5/10 good to be discarded...

My takeaways from this game were:
* the strength of timing shipments for when opponents can bid up the price
* not shipping too many containers at once, before opponents are able to pay for the value available
* figuring out opponents' colour valuations from bids, when they have a clear most numerous colour
* pricing my $2 good lower at the warehouse to have it part of shipments from my dock
* undercutting with a favourable warehouse colour mix to induce shipping
* colluding with other warehouse owners against shippers
* the effects of being low on cash yourself (even if you have lots of value in island containers)

The first player was ready for another game right away, and I was willing but had to leave. Next time...
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Brent Wilson
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Montgomery
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Thanks for the summary.

What do you mean by "monopoly-financier game"?

Are those variants from the expansion? How do they work?

 
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Dave Dyer
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Playa Del Rey
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4 or 5 Player games are much more freewheeling.
 
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Agent J
United States
Coldwater
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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This game has got to get back on the table. Indonesia is nice but Container is just nuts with the ability to compete on price.
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Andrew
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Speedyox wrote:
What do you mean by "monopoly-financier game"?


The expansion is made up of a bunch of optional modules, each of which can be included or excluded individually: luxury containers, monopolies, financier, and economy of scale.

The monopoly module changes the number of factories and allows players to buy whatever colours they like (including multiple factories in the same colour) - this is rare anyway, but the removal of restrictions is a simple change.

The financier module allows players to take loans from each other (rather than just the bank) - this extends the player-driven economy.
 
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