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Randall Bart
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I remember a game in the 1970s with a box which looked rather like this one but the name was "The New York Stock Exchange Game". The name took five lines, with New York on one line. Was that a version of this game? I never played it; I only saw the box.
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Richard Cole
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no, and this is the only one you'll need.cool
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Well there is an interesting comparison to be had between The Stock Market Game and Stocks and Bonds. The latter seems to be more of an individual investor's game, while the Stock Market Game feels as though you are a large insitutional investor, like a hedge fund or something. In S and B, we pull the cards BEFORE we buy and sell, so it's like the news. We also adjust prices up or down by a small amonut for the volume bought or sold, so that a large sell-off will affect a stock just a little.

The Stock Market Game isn't really about getting as rich as YOU can, it's about screwing over your buddies (by drip-drip-drip short-selling Spec when they are heavily leveraged in it.). It is a game of very strategic price manipulation, making me feel like I am someone like Long Term Capital Management, not just little old me...
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Richard Cole
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i'd love to talk more about this game, but doing that seems to make the price of it go through the roof. it took me awhile to figure the game out, but i got it. i like the analogy that you attributed to tsmg and s&b.
avalon hill always did sell them as a set.

if you really like screwing your buddies, i suggest the game 1830.
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Hi Richard.

There is a serious flaw in TSMG: you can make $40 000 to $50 000 fairly consistently just by trading heavily in Spec and Warrants, and ignoring all the other asset classes. Also, if Spec ever drops to about $4, look out! Two subsequent BULL cards (which is an almost sure thing once the BEARS are down) and you can see someone buy $1200 worth of Spec, and end up with about $40 000. We reshuffle an exhausted card back into the deck, so you can't be totally sure of things. Otherwise if all BULLS are down, you can't go wrong shorting massive quantities of Spec.

Another good thing to do, is set a buy/sell limit per player per turn. This will make Preferred and Bonds see some traffic also.

We have used the limit 150-20d for Spec, where d is the difference between buyers and sellers, appropriaetly applied (if everyone in a 4-player game buys Spec, the limit is 150-20x4, or 70 shares). Similarly a large sell-off in Spec will limit your trading, leaving you the possibility of large losses if you can't get rid of your shares fast enough.

We limit Warrant, Preferred and Blue Chip traffic to 100-10d, and Bonds to 7-d (or 10-d in a 7 or 8-player game). This is actually a very strategic way to play,and you have to plan carefully, and time your short sales perfectly. And we still find losses in Spec as we are stuck with 20 or 30 shares when it tanks.
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Richard Cole
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hi, where do the minuend numbers come from? why did you choose 150, 100, and 7 as reference numbers? and i don't understand how making 40K in spec. is a flaw. you can just as easily lose that money, and in my experience, usually do. i think your players are playing against the game, and not against each other.

the only flaw i find in the game is the fact that the number of certificates are inconsistent with other copies of the game (some games have ten bond certificates and others have 11, etc. [i'm sure there are copies out there with only nine]). i don't see that you are really learning how the market works with your variation. the rules manual states that the overall trend is a bull market and, as in real life, you will have insight at times of the future market.

i play the game as is, and the first time i won the solitaire scenario (take $2000 in cash, $600 in stock, and turn it into at least $25,000) i beat it for $97,000.

i will not tell you how i did it.

i'm glad somebody shows interest in this game, but i don't understand what you are doing with it or how it reflects reality.robot
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Hi

No you can't "just as easily lose that money", since you just count cards. Once the Bulls are down, you can't lose by shorting a huge bundle of Spec, then drip-drip shorting (10 shares a pop) more every turn till the Bears hit. If the Bears are all down (which happens far more often than not) then you make a bundle buying like crazy. So then why have Preferred and Bonds in the game at all? There is only one consistently winning strategy, and that is bad in any game.

The numbers were a compromise (borne of hundreds of test games) that reflect that the total number of shares bought and sold is also a significant factor in affecting prices, not just the number of people buying. Also in the markets, you can't just dump all your shares cause you feel like it. Fringe startups won't necessarily give you all your cash back, and you have to wait for a buyer. If you're lucky, a brokerage will buy them off you, and trade them independently, but it isn't a sure thing.

Now 10 shares isn't as insignificant as compared to the max or min trading limit per turn, and you also have to plan your short sales accordingly. We also use a bit of the random market tables used in the solitaire game, to inject even less certainty in the game. This is almost a must-use, IMHO. I routinely play the game with 5 or 6 players, and that is whole different gaming experience. With that many, the market can basically override any result from the solitaire table, but not all the time. There's always a Cletus buying Spec when the next card is 50/50 Mixed/Bear, and you have a huge short on the line.

Oh, we've made over $100 000 before (multiplicative versus additive gains), but we routinely crack the $40 000 or $50 000 mark without really pushing it too much. In that case I'd set the victory level for the solo game at $50 000. I also suspect that the number of Bull cards has a huge impact. Mine only has six Bull, some have seven!

You should get a hold of Stocks and Bonds - it is actually a solo game, since the players do not interact at all... except possibly to buy all-in in something you want...
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Richard Cole
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i do own stocks & bonds and am waiting to play it solitaire.

i regularly lose large amounts of money when i buy speculative at the wrong time in the solitaire game. regardless of what the market is, a bad dice roll will ruin any well founded plan. in which case the plan wasn't a good one in the first place, or you're paying for a mistake earlier in the game.

in the game rules you are only allowed to short 100 shares in any one stock - 5 certificates for bonds. that is not a lot, and i have never found that to be a big money maker or a winning strategy solitaire. it's a cool concept, and in real life i suppose it might involve unlimited shares, in which case feel free to make all the house rules you can think of. in the solitaire game, you have to earn at least $2000 per turn to win, and shorting 100 shares of anything will not get you there. unless something crashes every turn, i don't see how anybody can make any money. i have the same amount of cards, 6 bull, 5 mixed, 4 bear, but you keep saying once the bulls or bears are out of the way, but what's happening before that time? who wins your games?

when i beat the game for $97,000 some dollars, i owned every share of stock in the game except speculative. if i had bought all 870 shares of speculative by turn twelve i would have won for about $115,000 additive. ( i earned with speculative, but i wasn't going to let it break me. [ i've been broken with speculative more often than not.])

i have never played this game with opponents.. i'm surrounded by a lot of "sticks in the mud", nor have i played the real market, but i plan on it. all you have to remember is that your broker is correct only 50% of the time. i can keep up with that record. thanks for the tip about the sold shares. it will definitely be a major factor in the real game.

this game involves some cold blooded play, and holding out so everyone can have a piece of the pie is not how this game is supposed to be played. there is a lot of money in this game, and i'll tell you that every bit of it can be in the player's hands. how is it done?

1830 is the game for manipulating the stock market. by the way, what are the rules to your mutual fund variant? i think it's cool that somebody invented one. there are other uses for this game as well. i believe one could plot/track/project stock in real time.

also, i could very well be the highest earning player of the solitaire game (except for the designer of course).
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Hi Richard

Awesome discussion!

When I first got the game, my wife and I really preferred Stocks and Bonds more, but now The Stock Market Game has really grown on me. I wish someone would update it for the modern world. Do you play the optional rule about lifting the price of Preferred and Bonds to stop arbitrage? Arbitrage opportunities can come up, and I can tell you if you owned all the Blue in the game, you must sell it off, buy Bonds or Preferred (whichever), and immediately convert back into Blue. There is also the huge advantage of buying Speculative at $50 per share if it is high, and then immediately selling it.

That in reality wouldn't exist for more than a brief moment, as the arbitragers would drive the price up in a matter of minutes to where it should be. A lot of modern day quants spend most of their time trawling data for arbitrage opportunities. Today, the convertible bond is all but dead in the real world, due to the arbitragers getting so good at the "free lunch" game.

I often make a bundle shorting about 80 Speculative when it is quite high, and then shorting for two more turns to drive the price down. A bear and a mixed with say one selling net, gives you a profit of $2000 give or take, and if the market sells off in Bear, you make over $5000. You can also hedge quite nicely, by shorting 100 Speculative, and owning 100 shares as well. Then you make when it goes up, and when it drops. That is where the BIG money is - in hedging. Obviously, you don't short if there is a serious chance of sustained growth in the market. On the other hand, bonds are quite sensitive to a sell-off also, and in the multi-player game, if many players have sold bonds that turn, you can short a few bonds and make another thousand if you get lucky. In a Mixed, with two selling, you can pick up $3200 on 4 bonds that drop 8! In fact bond-shorting is where I often ambush my opponents who believe bonds are somehow "secure"...

In the solo game I am wary of buying too much into Green and Blue, as there is very little market action there. On the other hand, in the face to face game with multiple opponents, you will rarely be in a position to buy all the shares except perhaps warrants and bonds, as the other players will also try to buy, and that limits your ability to get into something. Then you MUST short the other players' positions, to "punish" them for being so heavily into those securities. Effectively, you are shorting their securities to drag the price downward, not make a ton of money.

We also allow naked shorting (ie. shorting certificates when there aren't any left), as that prevents someone grabbing every single one of the warrants, say. If they do, then you can short shares naked, and if everyone does that, warrants will drop, forcing the monopolist to release shares back into the market. The catch: we flip a coin: on a tails, you MUST buy back the naked shorts next turn, or go to jail! (It's illegal in most countries.) Flip the coin every turn, so it's still a risky proposition, but you'll be standing by with cash, ready to jump in when the shares drop anyway, so you can handle a couple of turns in a naked short.

The game is really radically different when played with many players!
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Richard Cole
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man.. i better print all this information out in case my computer crashes! good tips.

yes i play the advanced game.. i don't know if i'll add any real life rules to it.. you could update this game like they updated s & b with stock market guru (it's cool, and there is some new information, and the box cover does show new york's twin towers before the 'rabs got a hold of them), but it just isn't quite the same, and i don't know if you could tout the games as a trio or projected quad.

so how do you blend the solitaire table with the player's market? i'm just guessing that you could use the same table for real time stock projection. it's not exactly realistic that shares are traded in blocks of ten or that you could effectively play the market with $2600 in a short time, but just add a zero to either case. in those terms, i beat my solitaire game for almost a million dollars. i don't know if an upgrade could improve on that. the real market seems to move by pennies as opposed to dollars, too, so you'll have to read between the lines there...

i'm not worried about relating all of this particular information because most people will think it's bullshit anyway.. if it's not computer speak, it's bullshit - especially when it deals with the stock market. oh well, let them live to chart their lives.

i haven't played the 1929 scenario yet. i want to be automatic in my projections. why waste a good thing??robot
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Hi Richard

We've been rolling the solitaire table BEFORE we start the buy/sell rounds, so it's like you have some trend in the market, but if there are many players, you can still overcome a trend. In the case of just two players, we roll the market before AND after, but in both cases we HALVE the resulting numbers of buy/sell X's, rounding fractions UP. So "SELL XXX" becomes "SELL XX", say, but a single 'X' remains as a single 'X'. That seems far better for two-player than just doubling the net differences. Seems to make for a more varied game. Another option is to roll the solitaire table once for each different security in the game, so you decouple the table.

We also play with the following: If three BULL cards come up in a row, the next BEAR is actually a BEAR X2. That makes for some pretty crazy times. Also, whenever BULL or BEAR are exhausted, we shuffle one back into the deck, so you can always draw a BULL or BEAR any turn.
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Richard Cole
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thanks for all the information! we'll have to see who becomes a millionaire in the market first. let me know when you do, or i'll let you know. ha

i have to believe that this is the most underrated game out there. i might be wrong, but i have to believe it.

have a good one broadsword!
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Hi Richard!

Made $111030 last night in the solo game - my new record! I couldn't do it without heavy, HEAVY leverage in Speculative Stocks though. I also owned all the Blue Chip and Preferred. I bet BIG and Blue Chip and Speculative hit BIG, twice in a row. I had a lot of margin purchase ground to make up though. The previous game I bet BIG, and lost a bundle. Had $27 500 on turn four, but by turn 8 all I had was $30 000. I finished at $33 800, very disappointing. I did make a few grand shorting bonds in that game though (several good-size drops in a row) but I only did that to try to cover what the market would do.

It seems if you are patient, and try the big, bad bets a few times, the game will eventually pay you. Mixed markets are also great when the market is buying Speculative, as the gains aren't bad there either.

Now, to make a million in the stock market...

BTW, I thought about what you said, doing an update, and perhaps I might like to try. I'll keep you posted.
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Richard Cole
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cool!! i've beat the game like 5 times, and a few times by turns 4 to 6, but i have never been able to come close to that first win. i sort of traded my strategy around since the first time, but experimentation is needed at this point. good job!
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sean dolbee
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broadsword wrote:
Hi Richard


We also play with the following: If three BULL cards come up in a row, the next BEAR is actually a BEAR X2. That makes for some pretty crazy times. Also, whenever BULL or BEAR are exhausted, we shuffle one back into the deck, so you can always draw a BULL or BEAR any turn.


I like that Variant 3 bulls in a row then if a bear shows X2.We never reshuffle the cards back in there's 15 cards and 12 turns so your never sure if all the cards are out (as long as you don't turn over 6 bulls ect..)
We always played with an enlimited shares.The rules call for who ever places first to buy first.We had the problem with some players buying all the shares leaving none for the others,then we tryied pitting a limit on the shares you could buy this seams unrealistic"I want to buy 300 shares of IBM" "sorry you can only buy 100 shares of IBM" "why?" "because others want to buy it too" "and?".
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Richard Cole
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hi, the written rules state that the lesser bid orders are filled first;
exactly what that simulates i'm not sure, maybe keeping others from "cornering the market". this is definitely an insightful game and is designed for cut-throat play; i wouldn't want to be trapped by a margin call.... it is completely legal for the broker to boot people out of the game. again what that simulates i'm not sure, probably self-centered greed.

rc
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sean dolbee
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If you played it that way you would still end up with players not getting there orders filled.If you wanted to buy 200 shares of Blue chip why can"t you? is the way we played it.If you knew there was a bull market coming why not load up the truck?Especialy if you knew everybody else was buying.It just didn't make sense that if you wanted to a part of the bull market you had to buy 20 shares instead of 200.
Richard have you played this with others?
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Richard Cole
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never... i'm generally surrounded by "sticks in the mud". most people i know just want to get drunk and stupid.

if i have the benefit of ever getting opponents, i will probably play any game with the rules as written. or more often than not, get a new game.

i do like cut-throat play though, and i'm not engulfed by the video game world. boardgames are the best, although simulators work very well with video games. boardgames are the best. video games are almost as good.
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sean dolbee
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There is a Vassal version of the game the only thing that would need to be added is using ACTS for the Bull/Bear/Mixed cards but it could be done by email.
I have never played this game by email but if your willing may be we could get a couple more players.Have you played Management?It's an old game about the 60s or so another great gem there is no Vassal mod for that game but I could make one .We took Management and The Stock Market game and combined the 2 games your a CEO of a corporation so you try to stick it to the competition and you take your company public Great fun!
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Richard Cole
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yeah, that sounds like fun, but my internet connection is slow. i have cell phone service half the time, and internet like a quarter of the time. i have business strategy which is actually the same game, but not on the ship with me. (i just realized, you're probably not aware that i am at sea on the great lakes; i will be until july.)

how do you meld the two games? also, what is ACTS? i downloaded vassal one time before, and if you don't use it, it expires. my connection would be too slow for vassal i think.
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sean dolbee
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Vassal is a way to play games live over the Internet or by email.
Basically you take pictures of your game or use "Paint" or some photo program to duplicate your game I have added to the game Rise and decline of the third Reich I improved the counters added Variants ect..If you go to vassalengine.org they have all the games there including "Wooden ships and Iron Men" you download Vassal then you download the game as long as both players have the game then you can play by email or set a time to meet online.
I really don't have time to meet online but I play a few games by email.
When I was first invited to play by email it did not sound that good but I was wrong. That is the way I play all my games now.
ACTS is a web site you need to sign up for it stands for"Automated Card Tracking System" if you have ever played CDG's (Card Driven Games) this web site will hold the cards for the players you have your "hand" that only you can see you click the card and the system will play the card for you.It also holds the deck for you and your opponent.I noticed your a WSIM fan have you played against anyone?I don't think I own the game but would be willing to try by email.
How did we put the 2 games together?With Management you start with a factory so raw materials and some cash. I'm tring to remember here.I believe in the ame you could get a loan for 10,000 which was like selling bonds (intrest payments plus principle due at the end of the year)We played it where you could sell stock instead no intrest payments and no balance due at the end of the year.We would total up what the business was worth (factorys cash goods ect..and how much the company could make in a year) so if the amount came to 30,000 you could sell say 15,000 in stock you could set the price at what you wanted depending on the shares released 100 a share = 150 shares 50 a share =300 shares the bank would own some shares and the other players could buy shares every quarter we would have earnings!!! oh yeah thats where you would short your opponents stock or try to grab as many shares as you could.so lets say that during the game you got out bid on the materials and didn't produce that much but you where whatching one company and you knew by their sales they where doing really good you could still buy there stock and make money.remember if the company is making money and buying factorys and such and you own their stock you would cash it in at the end of the year.

Sean.
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Richard Cole
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mangement and stock market sounds cool!

i'm an every game fan, mostly. being at sea i have 3 games with me: stock market, 100 days battles, and an rpg heroes unlimited. i don't expect to play any of them except stock market. i have a huge game collection, but i just read the rules. i don't have any live opponents. the games i do play are solitaire.

i downloaded vassal, and a few modules: stock market, and star trek 3 featuring 3 solitaire treks.

if i played anything, it would have to be by email. it's lucky that i even had internet for the past three days.

thanks for the invite.

i'll see if i can sign up for ACTS.
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Okay, as someone trained in finance I can tell you more about why there are limited shares in the market.

First, the market is limited. There are only finitely many shares, and if the shares are unavailable for delivery, you can't buy them. Just like houses, you can't always get one in the neighbourhood. Second, and the game is right about this: you CAN always sell shares. The brokerage houses will take them, and if they don't either the clearing houses, or the specialists will take them. Why? Because they have to by law, to avoid a total market collapse. The specialists are the stop-gap, regulatory guys that supposedly keep the market "under control". They have to buy and sell to counter crazy price behaviour.

Note, that doesn't stop someone entering into a futures or forward contract with you. (The world's first derivative was mentioned in Genesis in the Bible, BTW, and was a futures contract). I believe the thing the game lacks is forwards, futures and options. If that is the case, I can always write a put or call on yellow or blue, even if I don't own them, but the counterparty must agree to sell when I need to buy to offset delivery.

I'd suggest enhancing the game by allowing forward contracts of any type OTC (over the counter) between the players (that means the broker isn't involved). A forward is an agreement to buy at a future time at a specified price. It is a binding agreement, but not subject to margin call. The agreed upon price is the "strike". A futures contract is like a forward, but any difference between the strike and current market value must be made up by the parties. Typically, futures can be exchange-traded, in which case you are making up the difference to the broker, and he can adjust your margins accordingly. It is like buying/selling on margin but the margin call is made every turn, and in both directions.

Lastly, I think every asset class should have calls and puts written on them. So the broker declares you can buy or sell a call or put on an asset. Pricing them should NOT be by an formula, or anything like that. Players should simply bid on them, and let supply-demand decide the price.

Not options pricing formulae are meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive. They are used to ascertain whether pricing of options allows arbitrage. Nick Leeson's job was hunting convertible bond arbitrages (basically when convertible bonds can be converted into blue, blue sold for more than the cost of bonds, and the bonds rebought. Pocket the difference).

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