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Subject: Money: Debit Index Cards instead of bills/tokens rss

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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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Here's another cute alternative for money in Power Grid (or any game that needs a banker). It would make banking way easier and faster. Use index cards (or halves/quarters) that are like train tickets/debit cards: instead of always needing to make change, the banker mostly uses a magic marker to dab dots (or make check marks or circles or squiggles) that each subtract one unit each from the face value of the card, thus marking off what portion of the face value is depleted. (Washable or quick-dry or dry-erase? marker is a very good idea if you want to avoid fingerprints on your power plant cards -- this technique has not been tested... no warranty is made or implied by this posting .) For example, if I only have a fifty card (5 x tens) and I want to spend 28, the banker doesn't need to break the 50 to smaller bills, only debit 30 (-28 rounded up to -30) and give me 2. You'd have a face value of five units (for easy change-making) in various denominations (e.g., 5 ones, 5 fives, 5 tens -- you only need to write the denomination (ones, fives, tens) on them, as the (starting) numeration (5) is always the same, and you could dispense with the denomination by using different color cards for the different denominations (with color key cards provided to the players).

When a player needs to pay for something, he hands over cards with sufficient money on them and the banker makes the appropriate number of marks on the correct cards to meet the debt (if the entire remaining worth of a card is used, then the card can just be put in the bank for reuse; debited cards are returned to the player). (To error-proof it, it would be sensible if the banker went from highest to lowest decimal, e.g., debit 38 as 30, then 8, and after debiting a card, the banker should draw a slash after the current marks to avoid getting mixed up the next time that card is used). When the banker does need to make change (or when players get money), he hands out cards (fresh or reused). I'm not sure how large a supply of cards you'd need for a game: on the one hand, a 50 will stand in for 40, 30, 20, and 10, on the other, cards would be consumed during play). (There are amusing macroeconomic overtones about the money supply here... is this M1, M2, or M3? M1, I think.)

(My original idea was for the banker to have a (single hole) hole punch and maybe multicolor mini notepapers.)

There is a danger of counterfeiting and sneaking by cheaters, but that's possible even with the real bills (a cheater could have their own supply of Power Grid money)... Maybe the banker could initial (or mark with a distinctive squiggle) new cards in advance or when they are issued? Or stamp them in advance with whatever random ink stamp they can get hold of (address, Tony the Tiger, anything available cheaply in the toy aisle). Or maybe use play money instead of index cards so not just generic index cards? Or print out (and cut out) a sheet of your own money scrip with a unique illustration? Well, not a big worry in any gaming group you'd want to play in, I think.

Gorno
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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D'oh! Here's an even easier alternative that just hit me: each player has an index card with his name written on it by the banker that is his "wallet:" when money is transacted, the banker simply adds or subtracts from the total. Ideally, the banker should have neat and distinctive hand-writing (green ink would be traditional, although I'm partial to blue ).

Gorno
 
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Carl Johan Ragnarsson
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Wow, your second method is absolutely amazing! But what is this paper and pencil thing? For role-players, I recommend 3 d10, ideally they should have a 0 instead of 10 so you don't have to remember that 10 stands for 0, and you can line them up to make a 3 digit number.

If you have your way past Asia, you can also buy an abacus for each player to count his money, this will add additional realism to the game, especially if there is ever a China 1910 expansion.
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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minismurf wrote:
Wow, your second method is absolutely amazing! But what is this paper and pencil thing?


Apple just came out with them. That Steve Jobs is a visionary!

(True, it is obvious, yet I've never heard of anyone doing it before!)

Seriously, though, banking with bills is a pain in the ass. Indeed, the idea is to give each player money abacuses that only the banker can change (hence, debiting, rather than crediting, the cards -- a player could only cheat himself by altering the card).

Actually, an intermediate method suggests itself to avoid the banker knowing everyone's holdings (if they're private or "semi-private") from their "wallets," and all the fuss with markers, etc. (I'd sort of got stuck in hole-punch mode, where you could only practically use the edge, then I thought of markers as a substitute so you could just dab a mark quickly, but there's no reason not to just use a pencil (see above) or pen check-mark and reuse/refill the cards.) The banker writes in big letters on the left of the card, "50 (5 10's)" say, then on the right, initials a line (of "credit") to "fill" the card. Then, he makes check marks to debit it (and a stroke to mark where each debit session ended). After a card is depleted, the banker can refill and reissue it (to any player) by striking out the line and initialing the next. Thus, you need fewer cards (with starting denominations of 5's (5 ones), 50's, 100's, and 250's, and encouraging people to use the smallest (biggest?) bills, you could probably get by with 10 cards total per player? Using index cards cut in half lengthwise as bills, that wouldn't be too bulky.

The wallet card is still a good idea!

Gorno
 
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Marvin Lamb
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We simply use poker chips for money
White = 1
Red = 5
Blue = 10
Green = 50

We also use chips to replace money in nearly every other game too. Chips are so much easier to work with.

 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Well, how about this: since money is publicly trackable information (in fact, some people complain about hidden money because you can remember it anyway if you pay attention,) just have everyone memorize how much money everyone has and do away with all the physical manifestations of money?

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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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Eric Brosius wrote:
Well, how about this: since money is publicly trackable information (in fact, some people complain about hidden money because you can remember it anyway if you pay attention,) just have everyone memorize how much money everyone has and do away with all the physical manifestations of money?



"Monsters!... Monsters from... the... id!"

Gorno
 
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Mike K
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Starfire512 wrote:
We simply use poker chips for money
White = 1
Red = 5
Blue = 10
Green = 50

We also use chips to replace money in nearly every other game too. Chips are so much easier to work with.


My first-ever game of PG used poker chips; since then, they've only appeared in poker games.

I definitely enjoyed my one PG poker-chip experience, and would like to try it with Santiago at some point as well:

"I'll bribe with 2 for this canal."

"I'm gonna raise you ..."
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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Never afraid to beat a dead horse... As a similar alternative to poker chips, with which you have to associate color/denomination, one could use coins, although they smell bad (and taste worse!), or plastic play coins. The fact that they differ in size by denomination can be seen as either good or bad... on net, probably bad. I suppose one could mark the denomination on chips with a sharpie marker (I try to remove as much thought from gaming as possible!) Don't they sell cheaper Bingo chips in multicolor packs? I guess my colored Lego idea of a few weeks back is probably the cutest, tidiest option yet.

Gorno
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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An intermediate wallet/debit card system would be for the players to each have several wallets (debit cards without denomination), so they can vary which one they use and the banker doesn't see their total holdings with every transaction. Of course, someone has to keep an eye on the banker when they give themselves credit (but that's always true). That's an advantage of the denominated/5-numerated debit cards: 1-4 checkmarks are fast to draw and easy to count at a glance. Of course, these alternatives are (even) less convenient for games where players exchange money with each other instead of only the bank.

Go Lego's! (but use stacks of five for instant counting)

Gorno
 
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Anthony Simons
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I don't know if it would work because I haven't seen one up close, but could you use the electronic debit card system in Monopoly for this?
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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I hadn't even heard of it! Can anyone tell us more about this?

I was thinking of making a Palm application to act as a banker, but haven't decided how to do things.

Gorno
 
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Anthony Simons
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Well, there is a version of Monopoly Here and Now edition (in the UK at least) which carries a card swipe. Every player gets a card to record their transactions with instead of paper money.

I have no idea if this leaves cash public knowledge nor how transactions are conducted - somebody else will have to help you there as I don't own a copy (but am now considering it just for the gimmick).
 
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