Tony Chen
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Hi, I am the designer of Iberian Rails. You can ask me anything about the rules/gameplay, and I'll try to answer them as promptly as possible.

I'll put up a question first. A question we have gotten multiple times throughout hundreds of playtests, especially from experienced gamers, is why would a CEO want to openly sell a share, when he can secretly sell a share?

In a closed auction, everyone holds out a secret amount of money in his fist, and then reveal simultaneously. But more importantly, the money goes to the CEO instead of the company. Note that if the CEO himself won the closed auction, he has to pay the bank, instead of himself.

That's a very good question. However, when the games end, they all see that closed auctions aren't as good as they seem at first. Some stop doing closed auctions halfway through the game.

Here are the reasons. Have you ever found yourself wanting to put money into a company in a shareholding game? By putting in $20 into a company, the end-game value of your share/s may be worth an extra $100 or more each.

To make it even better/worse, a share might sell for $10 in a closed auction, but $25 in an open auction. The first reason is other players don't want to pay their competitors money. The second reason is that, due to the limited number of shares and how dividend payout works in Iberian Rails, a closed auction devalues the company, so people are investing in a share with less potential. So basically, an open auction in place of a closed auction may be equivalent to your paying $10 into your company so that another player pays another $15 into the company. This extra $25 from both of you may increase your share values by well over $100 by the end of the game.

Moreover, the concern about making money in a closed auction is also why you would consider not doing it, yet. Hold an open auction first, build up the company and make it valuable, and THEN hold a closed auction. You'll get a lot more money from the closed auction if you sell a valuable company.

So for example, you can get $10 early, $30 midgame, or run the company constructively until the end of the game. Therein lies the problem. $10 early is worth nothing if it just sits there until the end of the game. However, if you can invest that $10 in something else, then it's worth a lot. So a player has to decide at every point in the game if there is an opportunity for taking money out now, or better to keep building up values in shares he already owns.

We've tested and adjusted many parameters (e.g. the rates in the Payout Table), to make sure that the open and closed auctions are balanced, so that the better option depends on the situation and how you use it.

Thanks!
 
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Theorel Masheriel
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Just reading over the rules, and was curious: How do you break ties in a closed auction?
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Tony Chen
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Theorel wrote:
Just reading over the rules, and was curious: How do you break ties in a closed auction?
Thanks for catching this. The player closest to the CEO in clock-wise order (the CEO himself being number one) wins the bid. Like the closed auction in Modern Art.
 
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