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Subject: 18Steam rss

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Lajos
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Prototype Status:
solo playtested by designer: yes (latest version 1 time; earlier versions multiple times)
playtested with designer: no
playtested without the designer: no
known problems: none in current version; see discussion below



18Steam is an attempt to integrate elements of the stock market (etc.) from 18xx games into Age of Steam. Below I'll specify the latest version of this experiment (it hasn't reached 'prototype' stage yet).

The necessary extra components are available here: http://www.lc.dds.nl/18Steam_components.pdf
The file includes share certificates (see picture below), corporation treasury mats, and a stock market board (see picture below).


rule changes (updated: 26 Jan.)

(I'll only specify what deviates from the standard AoS rules.)

Coloured disks do represent corporations rather than players. Hence, there are 6 different corporations. Players can buy shares of these corporations as in any 18xx game.

image 1: share certificates


These share certificates replace the shares issued track on the income / shares / locomotive board. All other features of this board and of the goods / roles board are used as in normal AoS, but again, remember that coloured wooden disks represent corporations, not players.

All players start with $20. Corporations start with nothing.

Players are allowed to give money from their personal treasury to any corporation(s) at any point in the game.

Use two markers (wooden disks) for each corporation on the income track. At the beginning of the goods movement phase these are on the same space (move the lowest to the highest). In the goods movement phase, only move the top disk. The difference between the two disks represents that corporation's earnings for that turn.

A few game phase (those in italics below) are changed or added:
1. Stock phase
2. Auction for turn order
3. Select actions
4. Build track & urbanize
5. Move 2 goods or move 1 good and upgrade locomotive
6. Collect income
7. Pay expenses
8. Income reduction and share price adjustment
9. Goods growth
10. Advance turn marker


phase 1. Stock phase

Turn order
The starting player in the first game turn is determined randomly (roll a D6). Give that player a starting player marker. After that, the last player to buy or sell shares in the previous game turn is the starting player.

In all other phases, the corporations are active rather than the players and turn order is the same as in normal AoS.

Initial share prices
At the beginning of the game, initial share prices are determined with a D6. Roll a D6 once for every corporation. In case of a 3 or 4 result, place the marker of that corporation on the 5 spot in the middle of the stock market. In case of a 1 or 2 result, place is on the 4 to the left of that; in case of a 5 or 6, place it on the 6 to the right.

Buying and selling shares
Starting with the starting player, in clockwise direction, all players can buy or sell shares. The phase continues until all players have passed. In a turn, a player can either buy one share certificate or sell one or more share certificates. The first share sold in a corporation is the president's share. After that, the player with the highest percentage in that corporation gets the president's share (trade it for two regular share certificates). The corporation's president gets that corporation's treasury mat and all money on it.

The selling and buying price of all shares is marked with coloured wooden disks in the stock market (see picture below).

A player cannot buy and sell shares of the same corporation in the same game turn.

A player cannot own more than 5 share certificates (the president's share counts as one!) in the same corporation.

Share certificates are owned by the issuing corporation (before they are issued), by a player, or by the bank (if a player sells shares, he sells them to the bank).

Shares are sold to the bank. Hence, when a player sells a share certificate, he gives it to the bank and receives money equal to the value of that share. The last 20% (president's share) cannot be sold.

When a player wants to buy shares in a certain corporation and there are shares available in both the bank and that corporation's treasury itself, the buying player can choose which ones he wants to buy. There is no price difference, but only shares sold by a corporation bring in more money into that corporation. The corporation's share holders decide democratically (50% +1 of the votes) whether the shares in that corporation's treasury are for sale and how many. This is announced by all presidents at the start of the Stock phase. If a corporation has no president, because no shares has been sold yet, all shares of that corporation are available.

All money spend on shares sold by corporations (and bought by players) is placed in that corporations treasury.

All money spend on shares sold by the bank (and bought by players) goes to the bank.

The last player to buy or sell shares in the phase gets the starting player market and will begin the phase in the next game turn.

After all players have passed, but before prices adjustments (see below), all corporations can buy their own shares owned by the bank. (The red corporation may buy red shares from the bank for the normal share price (see stock market) if the bank has any.) This has two effects: (1) it reduces dividend payments; (2) it may (further) increase share value. (In general this is only beneficial if the share price is extremely low.) The corporation's president decides whether the corporation is buying shares.

image 2: the stock market and the profitability track


price changes
At the end of the Stock phase (after everyone has passed), prices are adjusted (note that prices are adjusted again in phase 8).
If there is one share bought of a certain corporation, that corporation's price marker moves to the right. If more than one is bought, it moves up.
If there is one share sold of a certain corporation, that corporation's price marker moves to the left. If more than one is sold, it moves down.
If a price marker cannot move any further to the right, it moves according to the printed arrow; same if it cannot move any further to the left. If a price marker cannot move any further upwards, it moves to the right; if a price marker cannot move any further downwards, it moves to the left.

Activating corporations
As soon as the president's share is sold (the first 20%), a corporation becomes active. This means that it participates in all other game phases. The president receives the corporation's treasury mat, its treasury and its remaining share certificates (which are part of that corporation's treasury).
The first and second corporation start at locomotive / engine level 1. All corporations after that start at the second lowest locomotive / engine level of corporations already active. (Hence, if 4 corporations are active at engine levels 1, 2, 2, 3, a 5th corporation will start at locomotive / engine level 2.)


phase 5. Move goods

Move the income track marker at the lowest corporation for each company to the highest. In the goods movement phase, only move the top disk. The difference between the two disks represents that corporation's earnings for that game turn.


phase 7. Pay expenses

Corporations pay expenses as players would do normally, except that corporations pay a dividend of 1 per 10% shares to the owner of those shares (rather than to the bank in the standard game). Note that the bank may be the owner of some shares. The only shares that do not 'produce' dividend are those still owned by that corporation itself.


phase 8. Income reduction and share price adjustment

After income reduction, share prices are adjusted again. Cross check the income in that game turn with the starting position on the income track for each corporation and place corporation markers accordingly on the profitability track. (The profitability track is right below the stock market; the table you need for cross-checking is below that on the left.)

The share price marker of the corporation with the highest position on the profitability track moves up; the second position moves to the right; the second last position moves to the left; the last position moves down. If there are less than 4 corporations active, see the table in the right bottom part of the stock market to see what happens.

If two or more corporations share a position, they all suffer the weakest effect. Hence, if two corporations share the top position, they both move to the right and if two corporations share second place, their share prices do not change.


End of the game and victory conditions

The game ends after the standard number of turns.
In the last turn, phases 9 and 10 are replaced by a final dividend round. All corporations multiply their income track position by three, add the number of links built, and add what's left in that corporation's treasury. That number is divided by 10 and rounded down. The result is the final dividend. For every 10% owned in that corporation, a player gets this final dividend. This includes shares owned by the bank! Whatever remains - because of rounding down - goes to the corporation's president.
The wealthiest player wins the game. Wealth is money plus current share value (number of shares times value of those shares).



Well, that's it. Please, let me know what you think about it. If you want to try this 'experiment', you can find a link to the necessary components above. Please, leave some comments below if you do try it.

Please note that several comments below refer to earlier versions of the rules than the updated version above.


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J C Lawrence
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Lajos wrote:
18Steam is..


Cute. Neat.

Quote:
Coloured disks do represent corporations rather than players. Hence, there are 6 different corporations. Players can buy shares of these corporations as in any 18xx game.


I'd find it simpler/preferable if there were no stock certificates but rather N tracks of stock ownership, one for each company. Each player would then have a few markers to record their stock ownership and presidencies. The same could be done for money. This would allow the entire game state to be assayed by looking at the board and the charts rather than having the survey each player's individual holdings as well.

Quote:
price changes
...
If there is one share bought of a certain corporation, that corporation's price marker moves to the right. If more than one is bought, it moves up.
If there is one share sold of a certain corporation, that corporation's price marker moves to the left. If more than one is sold, it moves down.
If a price marker cannot move any further to the right, it moves according to the printed arrow; same if it cannot move any further to the left. If a price marker cannot move any further upwards, it moves to the right; if a price marker cannot move any further downwards, it moves to the left.


What happens if shares in a given company are both bought and sold during that stock round -- how does the value more, or does it move? Is it just which happened to more shared? Or which happened more often in terms of transaction count? Can a player buy shares in a company whose shares he has also sold in that stock round? May a seller sell shares from different companies at the same time?

Depending on the answers above, it would tend to seem that the winner would be dictated by the player who most successfully pumped their companies to move cash into their own hand and thence increased share ownership. Corporate success is really rather beside the point. A given stock can change by a maximum of plus or minus $4 per round ($2 from stock manipulations, $2 from income reduction). Thus intuitively my best approach every round would be to dump every stock that I can sell more than one share of (so it goes down instead of left) and make at least a $2 profit on each on, especially if in doing so I can prevent a later seller from likewise profiting. That way I get the maximal profit, deny all other players profit from that venue, and get a fat cash load to then-reinvest in the newly depreciated stock so that I can do it all over again -- more especially if I can reinvest that money in the companies I just trashed. so that I get the dividends more cheaply too.
 
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Thanks for your comments.

clearclaw wrote:
I'd find it simpler/preferable if there were no stock certificates but rather N tracks of stock ownership, one for each company. Each player would then have a few markers to record their stock ownership and presidencies.

I find that much more complicated. I prefer the share certificates.

clearclaw wrote:
What happens if shares in a given company are both bought and sold during that stock round

The prices move both for shares sold and bought, which may imply that it doesn't change at all.

clearclaw wrote:
Depending on the answers above, it would tend to seem that the winner would be dictated by the player who most successfully pumped their companies to move cash into their own hand and thence increased share ownership.

Yes, partly, more or less.

clearclaw wrote:
Corporate success is really rather beside the point.

No, because the final dividend is worth a lot.

clearclaw wrote:
A given stock can change by a maximum of plus or minus $4 per round ($2 from stock manipulations, $2 from income reduction). Thus intuitively my best approach every round would be to dump every stock that I can sell more than one share of (so it goes down instead of left) and make at least a $2 profit on each on, especially if in doing so I can prevent a later seller from likewise profiting. That way I get the maximal profit, deny all other players profit from that venue, and get a fat cash load to then-reinvest in the newly depreciated stock so that I can do it all over again -- more especially if I can reinvest that money in the companies I just trashed. so that I get the dividends more cheaply too.

I'm afraid I don't understand you completely. From what I do understand, you could do that, but those corporations wouldn't get a lot of money from issuing shares any more, which may lead to their bankruptcy. Moreover, share value is part of a player's wealth, which determines the winner.
 
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Anthony Simons
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Looking good; a few questions:

1. Do companies pay dividends to the bank for unowned shares?

2. Is there a limit to the number of shares which may be bought each round?

3. Shouldn't the number of turns be increased slightly to allow for more companies to be floated (I am thinking particularly with regard to games with fewer than five or six players)?

4. What happens to a bankrupt corporation (can shares be reissued in a subsequent turn essentially representing a different company, for example)?
 
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fellonmyhead wrote:
1. Do companies pay dividends to the bank for unowned shares?

No. (edit: but they do pay for shares owned by the bank!)

fellonmyhead wrote:
2. Is there a limit to the number of shares which may be bought each round?

No.

fellonmyhead wrote:
3. Shouldn't the number of turns be increased slightly to allow for more companies to be floated (I am thinking particularly with regard to games with fewer than five or six players)?

I prefer a couple of extra turns indeed, but it can be played in the standard number of turns.

fellonmyhead wrote:
4. What happens to a bankrupt corporation (can shares be reissued in a subsequent turn essentially representing a different company, for example)?

Standard bankruptcy rules apply. There will not be a new corporation with the same colour tokens.


==================


A question: What's the better term in this context: "company" or "corporation" and "stock" or "share"?
 
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Anthony Simons
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Thanks for doing this, I can't wait to try it out.

Lajos wrote:
A question: What's the better term in this context: "company" or "corporation" and "stock" or "share"?


Well I don't suppose it really matters that much; "stock" would generally be used to describe everything a player is holding whilst "shares" would apply to their individual certificates in a particular company/corporation (I suspect "corporation" works better because it implies a large company or group of companies).

 
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A few things jumped out:

- In 18XX, when companies sell their initial offering, the company gets the money (either immediately or as part of the opening treasury of 10x the par price)--which makes sense because they are selling the stock. What stock is sold, it is sold to "other" non-players (with the bank standing in for those people) and share goes into the bank pool. When the share is bought from the bank pool, the money goes to the bank. because you buying from those unseen investors.

Your variant doesn't have a bank pool, the money when sold comes from the bank, but when bought goes to the company. Seems like money is being created out of thin air here. I could see two players selling their sstock and reinvesting.

- On the auction, it is the companies who are bidding for turn order, right.

- It seems late starting companies are at a tremendous disadvantage--especially if they cannot raise enough from stock sales. They also get less income, because they are starting later. Because of the low income their stock price goes down, meaning they cannot make much from selling stock, etc. So they perpetually underfunded compared to the others. It seems that late omer will be perpetually weak and possibly not worth investing in, except only because there is nothing else to buy.

Seems if someone gets control of 2 strong companies, this game could get out hand, fast.
 
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Thanks for your comments.

rri1 wrote:
- In 18XX, when companies sell their initial offering, the company gets the money (either immediately or as part of the opening treasury of 10x the par price)--which makes sense because they are selling the stock. What stock is sold, it is sold to "other" non-players (with the bank standing in for those people) and share goes into the bank pool. When the share is bought from the bank pool, the money goes to the bank. because you buying from those unseen investors.
Your variant doesn't have a bank pool, the money when sold comes from the bank, but when bought goes to the company. Seems like money is being created out of thin air here. I could see two players selling their stock and reinvesting.

Thanks for pointing this out. This didn't come up in my test games. I changed the rules above and added some clarification to better explain what I intended.

rri1 wrote:
- On the auction, it is the companies who are bidding for turn order, right.

Yes.

rri1 wrote:
- It seems late starting companies are at a tremendous disadvantage--especially if they cannot raise enough from stock sales. They also get less income, because they are starting later. Because of the low income their stock price goes down, meaning they cannot make much from selling stock, etc. So they perpetually underfunded compared to the others. It seems that late omer will be perpetually weak and possibly not worth investing in, except only because there is nothing else to buy.

Late starting corporations are at a disadvantage indeed, why would that be a problem? Remember that players are merely share owners in corporations, not the corporations themselves.

rri1 wrote:
Seems if someone gets control of 2 strong companies, this game could get out hand, fast.

Then don't let that happen!
 
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Lajos wrote:
I'm afraid I don't understand you completely. From what I do understand, you could do that, but those corporations wouldn't get a lot of money from issuing shares any more, which may lead to their bankruptcy. Moreover, share value is part of a player's wealth, which determines the winner.


Precisely. I drive all the companies bankrupt and win with the largest cash holdings.
 
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rri1 wrote:
- It seems late starting companies are at a tremendous disadvantage--especially if they cannot raise enough from stock sales. They also get less income, because they are starting later. Because of the low income their stock price goes down, meaning they cannot make much from selling stock, etc. So they perpetually underfunded compared to the others. It seems that late omer will be perpetually weak and possibly not worth investing in, except only because there is nothing else to buy.


Slightly worse, it becomes the incentive of players owning stock in an early successful company, especially the director, to prevent the successful emergence of new companies that might compete with their successful company.

Quote:
Seems if someone gets control of 2 strong companies, this game could get out hand, fast.


Yeah. Without the shared track aspects plus big trains of 18XX late companies, late companies in 18Steam don't have much of a chance. Even early companies with marginally poor capitalisation would seem a poor bet.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
Lajos wrote:
I'm afraid I don't understand you completely. From what I do understand, you could do that, but those corporations wouldn't get a lot of money from issuing shares any more, which may lead to their bankruptcy. Moreover, share value is part of a player's wealth, which determines the winner.

Precisely. I drive all the companies bankrupt and win with the largest cash holdings.

You're very welcome to try, but I don't think you'll be able to do that.

clearclaw wrote:
rri1 wrote:
- It seems late starting companies are at a tremendous disadvantage--especially if they cannot raise enough from stock sales. They also get less income, because they are starting later. Because of the low income their stock price goes down, meaning they cannot make much from selling stock, etc. So they perpetually underfunded compared to the others. It seems that late omer will be perpetually weak and possibly not worth investing in, except only because there is nothing else to buy.

Slightly worse, it becomes the incentive of players owning stock in an early successful company, especially the director, to prevent the successful emergence of new companies that might compete with their successful company.

Yes, but you're trying to screw each other as well in regular AoS. I don't really see the problem.

clearclaw wrote:
rri1 wrote:
Seems if someone gets control of 2 strong companies, this game could get out hand, fast.

Yeah. Without the shared track aspects plus big trains of 18XX late companies, late companies in 18Steam don't have much of a chance. Even early companies with marginally poor capitalisation would seem a poor bet.

True, but if everyone has an approximate equal share in the biggest corporations, owning a lot in some of the smaller ones may win the game.

If you really believe this is a (big) problem - I don't think it is -, do you have an idea for a solution?


- edit -

A small change I made above is related to locomotives / engines.
 
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Interesting ideas, but I'm concerned that there isn't any direct advantage to being the president of a company. Controlling the company's operations may be nice, especially with interacting companies, but you could almost guarantee yourself a draw with the player to your right by matching his share purchases. The only way to break this would be for your right hand opponent to buy the last share available of one company. Even though it wouldn't be much fun, just the existance of such a strategy is a flaw. In 18xx, the presidency allows you to hold an extra share (certificate limits), and the opportunity to loot the company coffers by buying the private companies. That gives a player an incentive to start his own company, rather than invest in someone else's (not to mention risk of having a company looted, then dumped on you, which doesn't seem to apply here). Here, though it doesn't have to work this way, I'm affraid some games would have everyone owning similar stakes in all the companies, and there wouldn't be much differentiation between the players. Might need to create some ways to move money from company treasuries to players' hands (other than dividends), or between two companies.
 
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spotcard wrote:
Interesting ideas, but I'm concerned that there isn't any direct advantage to being the president of a company. Controlling the company's operations may be nice, especially with interacting companies, but you could almost guarantee yourself a draw with the player to your right by matching his share purchases.

You may have a point here. Do you have an idea for a solution? (I'll think about it myself as well, of course.)

- edit -

I added a certificate limit (5), which is the most obvious 'solution'. But is it really a solution? And is it really a problem? Note that the president already has a potential advantage at the end of the game because he can get a larger final dividend. By the way, who would ever play for a draw?
 
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Even if no one is deliberately playing for a draw, you might run into the problem of little player differentiation. Say player 1 starts a company at 6/share. If player 2, for whatever reason doesn't start a company, but buys a share in player 1's company, it now might be tough for anyone else to start a company. Anyone else trying to start would be at an immediate capital disadvantage vs company 1, and players following would have an incentive to just pile into company 1.

For shuffling money between companies, I'd suggest letting them trade link amongst themselves for any mutually agreeable price. Each company must keep a link of at least one. This would let a strong company spend its money to increase its link faster than normal, and someone in control of two companies could cripple one company, shuttling all the link into the other, then dump the crippled company on the stock market. That would add some risk of owning other player's companies, though you wouldn't be on the hook for personally buying a diesel.
 
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spotcard wrote:
Even if no one is deliberately playing for a draw, you might run into the problem of little player differentiation. Say player 1 starts a company at 6/share. If player 2, for whatever reason doesn't start a company, but buys a share in player 1's company, it now might be tough for anyone else to start a company. Anyone else trying to start would be at an immediate capital disadvantage vs company 1, and players following would have an incentive to just pile into company 1.

Even if this would happen, corporation 1 won't decide the winner. I'm not sure this really is a big problem, but I'd have to try it a few more times. Thanks for your comment anyway.

spotcard wrote:
For shuffling money between companies, I'd suggest letting them trade link amongst themselves for any mutually agreeable price. Each company must keep a link of at least one. This would let a strong company spend its money to increase its link faster than normal, and someone in control of two companies could cripple one company, shuttling all the link into the other, then dump the crippled company on the stock market. That would add some risk of owning other player's companies, though you wouldn't be on the hook for personally buying a diesel.

This is an interesting idea, but I'd have to think about the implications a bit further. Wouldn't it make the strong corporations even stronger?
 
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Lajos wrote:
Wouldn't it make the strong corporations even stronger?


Yes, it would. The more I think about this, the more I realize how different the two systems are, and how much work it might take to merge them well. 18xx has companies invest sporadically. That, combined with trains becoming obsolete leads to wildly fluctuating earnings (and dividends) for companies. This, in turn gives some incentive for switching investments in an out of companies. Steam, on the other hand, forces companies to invest every turn (expenses), leading to a gradual increase in earnings., and less incentive to switch investments from one company to another. Merging the two philosophies might be difficult. Do you want something Steamlike, where players basically own one company throught the game, perhaps with a little cross-polinization, or something 18xx like, where companies are bought, sold, stolen, looted, pumped, and dumped with some frequency? I realize the suggestions I've made, and others I've thought about but not posted, all are moving the new game towards the 18xx philosophy, which may not be what you want.
 
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spotcard wrote:
The more I think about this, the more I realize how different the two systems are, and how much work it might take to merge them well.

I agree, that's why I started this discussion.

spotcard wrote:
Merging the two philosophies might be difficult.

It is, but that's no reason not to try, of course.

spotcard wrote:
Do you want something Steamlike, where players basically own one company throught the game, perhaps with a little cross-polinization, or something 18xx like, where companies are bought, sold, stolen, looted, pumped, and dumped with some frequency?

The point of adding a stock market and all these other rules is to move in the general 18xx direction. However, I still want to keep the way corporations function in AoS (track building, shipping, roles, etc.).

spotcard wrote:
I realize the suggestions I've made, and others I've thought about but not posted, all are moving the new game towards the 18xx philosophy, which may not be what you want.

Thus far, many suggestions have been very useful. Let's hear what you think.
 
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Quote:
Quote:
rri1 wrote:
- It seems late starting companies are at a tremendous disadvantage--especially if they cannot raise enough from stock sales. They also get less income, because they are starting later. Because of the low income their stock price goes down, meaning they cannot make much from selling stock, etc. So they perpetually underfunded compared to the others. It seems that late omer will be perpetually weak and possibly not worth investing in, except only because there is nothing else to buy.

Late starting corporations are at a disadvantage indeed, why would that be a problem? Remember that players are merely share owners in corporations, not the corporations themselves.


I do remember, the point is that there is NO reason at all to invest in the late starters, except for being nothing else better to do with your money. (And if late starting companies are fated to go bankrupt--it mihght be better to not invest your money at all!) And there is no reason to divest yourself of the early companies, because they are making so much more endgame VP's (though no more money per share.). Both of which make for an unintersting game.

18XX has several mechanics that make late starting comapnies worthwhile investments:
- Obsolecence of trains: The early companies buy trains which must rust over time and the president will have to plan for it somehow: withhold income to get money to buy a permanent train, float another company to buy permanent trains which are sold to the early company, dump the company on an opponent. Early starting companies will find their income drop from time to time during the game.
- Selling privates to companies: Private companies are sold to the majors which has two effects--it gets money into the hands of players to reinvest in late starting comapanies and takes money out of the early starting corporations that will be needed for trains later.
- Common track and tile mix: Late starting comanies in 18XX can immediately use track built by other companies. Green and brown tiles often have extra slots for station makers--which also means that some routes will open up. This means that late starting companies can often find a profitable route immediately.

18Steam does not have a good way for a late company to become profitable quickly--the best routes will be taken by the early starters and the only way to increase income is to run on their track (or have other companies do so.) The early companies can keep their better trains and have their track network in place.

Another point is that in 18XX more profitable companies pay their shareholders larger dividends. Here is the dividend is fixed at $1 per share regardless of the company's income. This makes it far less interesting in deciding which comapny to invest in--in some sense it doesn't matter (except for the end of game scoring, but that advantage is clearly in the early starting company's favor). This possibly could be resolved by using a payout/withhold dividend feature--maybe not exactly the same way as 18XX, but certainly along that path. (And this could exarcerbate the advantages of the early companies as well.)

Another problem I noticed, the companies in this variant will have significantly less capital than standard AoS. In AoS each player has a maximum of 15 shares they can take out, worth $5--Up to $75 total. Here there is a maximum of 10 blocks of stock that can be sold. Though the price may be higher--for the late comers I suspect it will be MUCH lower. If the companies share price drops to say $3, it would have only about $30 of capital IF they sell all 10 shares. A severely tight situation.

I am not suggesting this variant be made more like 18XX. If I want to play 18XX, I can always choose to play it.
 
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Lajos
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Richard, thanks for your detailed comments. If you allow me to summarize them, it seems to me that you point at three main problems:
(1) latecomers are at a disadvantage;
(2) dividends are not dependent on profit; and
(3) corporations may be under-financed.

ad (1)
I don't think that there is a latecomer problem. Because of the relatively small number of corporations, in most games, they will all float in the first couple of turns. Besides, if it is a problem, it will affect all players and all players can make similar estimations about the game effects. Hence, it adds another thing to keep in mind, but it doesn't break the game.
However, if you feel that the disadvantage should be dealt with, do you have a suggestion for a fix? I already made a change that latecomers may start at higher engine levels, but that may not be enough.

ad (2)
True, but I didn't want to change that aspect of AoS. That would make it too much of an 18xx game and too little AoS. Stock value is dependent on profit, however, and it may be useful to focus on short term success for a company and dump shares when the shipping opportunities for that company dry up and the share value is at its maximum.

ad (3)
Corporations may have a lack of funds indeed, but players are allowed to give money to corporations, which can be advantageous.
In most cases, corporations don't have much less money available than in regular AoS in my experience.

If you think these problems are serious and have ideas about how to fix them, please let me know.
 
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After giving it some more thought, I came to the conclusion that there is a latecomer problem indeed. This problem is caused mainly by the rule that the share price of the corporation that is lowest on the income track drops like a brick. I'm not sure how to fix this. There has to be some kind of relationship between a corporation's success and it's share price. Suggestions (and comments on other potential problems) are (very) welcome.
 
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Well, the rise (or fall) in share price is often related directly to dividends paid in the original 18XX games, so perhaps that's a good place to start:

If paid dividends are:
less than 0.5x current share price then drop share price 1 space to the left.
0.5x - 1x current share price then no change.
1x - 2x current share price then 1 space to the right.
2x - 3x current share price then 2 spaces right.

I haven't really thought much about this, but it might be a start - you would have to change the way dividends are paid to accommodate it (perhaps the company director must decide on the total and each shareholder receives 1/10th per share held).
 
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fellonmyhead wrote:
Well, the rise (or fall) in share price is often related directly to dividends paid in the original 18XX games, so perhaps that's a good place to start:

If paid dividends are:
0.5x 1x and 2x and <=3x current share price then 2 spaces right.

I haven't really thought much about this, but it might be a start - you would have to change the way dividends are paid to accommodate it (perhaps the company director must decide on the total and each shareholder receives 1/10th per share held).

I thought about that, but it would make it too much of an 18xx game. I want to keep the basic financial structure - including dividend payments - of AoS. Essentially, I want AoS in which players buy shares in corporations that take over from the players in regular AoS (I hope you understand what I mean).
Thanks for the suggestion, anyway.


Maybe it would be an option to relate share price effects to relative profits. For example:

Use two markers (wooden disks) for each corporation on the income track. At the beginning of the goods movement phase these are on the same space (move the lowest to the highest). In the goods movement phase, only move the top disk. The difference between the two disks represents that corporation's earnings for that turn.
Another table and track would be needed to determine the effects:



Now the relative profit (table on the bottom right) determines the corporation's position on the 'profitability track' and the positions on that track determine the share price effects in the same way the income track did before.

Any opinions?
 
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Lajos wrote:
I'm not sure how to fix this.


Welcome to the challenging world of game development, Lajos!



John
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I changed the rules above to include the profitability track. (A better term would be welcome, BTW.)
 
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