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1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856» Forums » Rules

Subject: Initial Stock Round rss

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Stan Smith
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I've looked and I can't find this clarification anywhere.

The rules say that if everyone passes and the Flos is still available, there is an OR and the Flos gets reduced by $5. But what happens if another Private is the one available that players keep passing on? The rules do not cover this case, but I would assume it gets reduced by $5. Has Bill Dixon commented on this?
 
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Devin Smith
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No. The only reason the Flos gets cheaper is so that the game ends in the corner case where no one wants to buy. Once at least one private has been bought, the game will end eventually.

If all players pass, there's an operating round, then the auction continues. If at least one private has been bought, it pays out. If you repeat enough times, the game ends. Generally, it's in someone's interest to have this not occur, though there can be arguments about whose interest it is.

(This is a pretty standard rule across the 18xx genre, btw.)
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Stan Smith
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The problem I have with this is that it is a disadvantage to buy the last Private since that means you get last choice of RR. Further, the CC is normally the last Private to be bought since it is the worst of the bunch. So buying the CC as the last Private deals the purchaser a double negative blow. If it keeps dropping by $5 it at least becomes worthwhile buying at some point, and only the Flos and W&S players gain income which is low anyway and not a big deal to give them for a few rounds.
 
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Devin Smith
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Re-read how the auction works: there's no way the CC can be the last one sold. It can trigger the auction, yeah, but that's not quite the same thing

The tunnel, by the way, is usually considered to be the worst of the privates.

$10/round is significant in the early game, too. Even a couple rounds of it can be gamebreaking. Note also that first choice of RR goes not to the person to the left of whoever pulled the pin on the auction, but to whomever can buy the most shares. If there's a four player game, ABCD, and A pulls the pin on the auctions, if C has 260 and B only 200, then B can't start a company or C will just take it. (unless B starts really high, which is crazy.)

This is what makes the 1856 initial auction perhaps the most interesting of any of the 18xx games.
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J C Lawrence
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Excalabur wrote:
This is what makes the 1856 initial auction perhaps the most interesting of any of the 18xx games.


I'd put 1844's and 1826's private auction as similarly interesting. In 1844 the player's turn order for the stock round after the private auction is sorted in terms of ascending cash. In 1826 (which uses an 1830-style private auction), several of the privates are poison and worth less than their face value, making a large portion of the private auction to be a dance as to who gets stuck with the crap.
 
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Stan Smith
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Consider a 5 player game where the bids are:
P1 bids 45 for W&S, P2 bids 75 for GLSC, P3 bids 105 for NFB, P4 bids 80 for GLSC, P5 bids 105 for SCT, P1 buys Flos for 20 and gets W&S for 45.
Whoever buys the CC will get last choice of RR.
If P2 buys it (and opts not to outbid for the GLSC) then players' cash left are:
P1-235, P2-250, P3-195, P4-195, P5-220.
All players can "safely" start an RR at 90 without an instant takeover.
If P2 refuses to buy the CC and others have the same thinking then I guess P1 wins the game! (Some 18xx games requires that if all pass then the first player who passed is forced to buy the Private to prevent this situation - which makes sense.)

As for the starting price, I find 100 very popular because if you start at less then you have to be sure to afford 3 shares and 2-100s is ideal as your RR can buy two 2Ts plus will be sure of getting its key early tiles as it selects its tiles early in the RR order. Having two 2Ts at the start is key to obtaining early max revenue, which encourages others to buy your shares which enables your RR to buy more trains for more rev and the circle continues. Since the first 3 RRs typically buy two 2Ts, the 3rd and 4th RRs are stuck buying a single 3T (often requiring a Loan) with poor tile choices to boot. So starting the stock price at 100 is very advantageous.
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J C Lawrence
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This ignores a core principle: With rare exception in the 1830-style games, the player that owns the most shares first will win. $100 shares simply cost too much. The rate of %age return on cheap shares is MUCH higher than expensive shares.
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Stan Smith
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I agree that in the mid-game and late-game, the most shares usually wins.

But expensive shares appreciate faster so are good if you can be the first to sell them at a significant gain. (The capital gain can often be higher than the dividend gain.) Also, starting a RR high gives your RR more capital, which is very important in capital-tight 1856.
 
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jim b
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stanpaulsmith wrote:
I agree that in the mid-game and late-game, the most shares usually wins [vs early-game share-count leads].

JC's been schooling me on this, and I understood the opposite to be true, in this sense -

In the early game, players are not at their certificate limits, and small differences in share counts are significant.

In the later game, once players reach their certificate limits, other factors - such as the value of that portfolio, rate of return, stock appreciation, liabilities, and liquidity - may be the only variables in play.

In that later game, a major complication is when companies are in the yellow, or below, in the stock market - these shares don't count against your certificate limit, so they provide a significant opportunity to establish share-count leads throughout the game.

[This is not meant to contradict that maxim that larger share-counts win, rather to emphasize that sometimes the only opportunity to leverage that fact is earlier in the game. If you do have a share-count lead through the mid-to-end game, you presumably do indeed win - however you got there.]

addendum- more precise wording, and qualifiers as marked
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Juho Snellman
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stanpaulsmith wrote:
I agree that in the mid-game and late-game, the most shares usually wins.

But expensive shares appreciate faster so are good if you can be the first to sell them at a significant gain.


But in 1856 where you can buy shares from the initial offering at par price and sell them at the market price the president doesn't really have a better shot at selling them for significant gain. The reason is that for much of the early game people will have been selling them for small gains (buy at IPO on one stock action, sell on the next, make O($10) profit), which will continuously drive the prices down. By the time it'll be possible to sell shares at a significant profit, you'll be in the late game.

Quote:
(The capital gain can often be higher than the dividend gain.) Also, starting a RR high gives your RR more capital, which is very important in capital-tight 1856.


1856 is not all that capital tight, given all that free money being handed out by the banks. And you are not really getting that extra capital very soon, since a player can for example pump in $195@$65 or $210@$70 as easily as $200@$100. And once the cheap company reaches the 50% mark and the money goes to escrow, they'll still have access to about as much capital thanks to being able to take more loans.
 
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J C Lawrence
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stanpaulsmith wrote:
I agree that in the mid-game and late-game, the most shares usually wins.


I think it starts in the first SR and doesn't let up.

Quote:
But expensive shares appreciate faster so are good if you can be the first to sell them at a significant gain. (The capital gain can often be higher than the dividend gain.) Also, starting a RR high gives your RR more capital, which is very important in capital-tight 1856.


If capital is tight in 1856, you are (all) playing badly. Really. The faster appreciation of higher-par shares is irrelevant if you can only buy two to three of them, and then can't sell more than one of them. The numbers simply don't work as well as buying many cheap shares, and thus being able to both profit-reap efficiently and to maintain a higher rate of capital growth. There's good reason that company ownership in the first SRs of 5 and 6 player 1856 tends to flip about a lot (eg 4-7 presidency transfers by the 4th SR).
 
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Stan Smith
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Good comments.

I guess it depends on whether you are trying to make your first RR a long-term one.

I have tried the "run your first RR into the CGR", but find in general that those players that have been able to keep their initial RR out of the CGR tend to win because a 2-for-1 CGR share is normally a losing proposition.

I guess it also depends on how quickly the other players sell back their IPO purchases. I don't often see players selling them back for just a $10 or $20 gain because that means you gave the RR capital for the sake of you getting just a few dollars. And by doing so other players snap them up and you ending up wishing you'd kept them because they are paying the best divs because of the extra Capital. Those with Loans often withhold at some point; typically after other players have bought in (which is a tricky part of the game and a part I really like BTW).

Of course, maybe players are just too attached to "their" RR. I rarely see Presidency changes, except when dumping when the 3s and 4s are about to become obsolete.

I avoided saying most shares win in the END-game; when you hit your certificate limit you want to have the best portfolio. But if you are the first to hit the certificate limit then you are usually winning.
 
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Devin Smith
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This is one problem with worldwide communciation, or a benefit thereof. In the old days, there were groups convinced for a long time of the position that you're advocating: start high, make that first company good, maybe use a 2nd company to get loans. This is a local maximum in the strategy space: any small variation in it will lose to the 'pure' method.

They turned up at tournaments.

They lost, really, really badly.

I'd recommend not listening to JC and Bruce and I and figuring out why for yourself, but have a think and a try the next time you play.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Excalabur wrote:
I'd recommend not listening to JC and Bruce and I and figuring out why for yourself, but have a think and a try the next time you play.


Bruce? There hasn't been a Bruce in this thread, has there?
 
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Devin Smith
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He'll turn up sooner or later. Or may, at least. The point remains: keep and open mind, and don't really pay attention to the details of the strategy advice.
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J C Lawrence
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stanpaulsmith wrote:
I guess it depends on whether you are trying to make your first RR a long-term one.


If you do, you will lose to those who throw their companies into the CGR. It is almost entirely that simple. The exception is when a second company is used to re-capitalise a first company, so that it instead may be thrown into the CGR.

Quote:
I have tried the "run your first RR into the CGR", but find in general that those players that have been able to keep their initial RR out of the CGR tend to win because a 2-for-1 CGR share is normally a losing proposition.


Then sell them before they fold into the CGR. Sell everything you can into the Bank Pool before the CGR forms.

Quote:
I guess it also depends on how quickly the other players sell back their IPO purchases. I don't often see players selling them back for just a $10 or $20 gain because that means you gave the RR capital for the sake of you getting just a few dollars. And by doing so other players snap them up and you ending up wishing you'd kept them because they are paying the best divs because of the extra Capital.


Blink. That's nuts. None of the companies should be running for much more or less than any other. The key element, as always, is who has the most shares and what the flexibility/liquidity of their assets are. Pushing the stock down limits both their liquidity and their flexibility. The cheaper shares encourage the company to remain under-capitalised, thus putting its CGR fate at risk and forcing the director to either divest or fund his own company with over-priced shares.

Quote:
Those with Loans often withhold at some point; typically after other players have bought in (which is a tricky part of the game and a part I really like BTW).


With modest exception, if you have players withholding before the permanent trains, then you have Bad Players. The exceptions are for trash companies and yellow companies.
 
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Juho Snellman
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clearclaw wrote:
stanpaulsmith wrote:
I guess it depends on whether you are trying to make your first RR a long-term one.


If you do, you will lose to those who throw their companies into the CGR. It is almost entirely that simple. The exception is when a second company is used to re-capitalise a first company, so that it instead may be thrown into the CGR.


I rarely find that a good move. The problem is that your first company will be filled to the brim with debt, and repaying it will wipe out most or even all of the capital of the second company. So now you have a company with no loans, crap trains, and no money for a permanent train. What will happen when the CGR forms? :-) Sure, you can plow capital from a third company into the first company too, but if you start three companies it's still better to save one of the less indebted ones, since that allows you to buy a better set of trains than just a single 5 or 6.

In the local group think (that evolved over 50+ games) the 1856 endgame is dominated by massive diesel runs (due to the wide open board, a bunch of tokens disappear when the CGR forms: if CGR doesn't run for at least $750 something has gone badly wrong, and really it should be running for more than that) and substantial runs by companies running a 5+5 or 5+6 out of Toronto. What matters post-CGR are the trains, location of initial tokens is mostly irrelevant as long as you're not completely isolated from the main network (e.g. with WR or TGB). And due to the way the 1856 stock chart is set up, you can't really replace the lower income with higher share price increases: everyone will be getting steps of $25. So rescuing a company for its share price or location at the expense of capital that could be used for permanent trains is a bad deal.

 
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Stan Smith
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My IPO selling comment was about other players (not the President).
If you are trying to obtain the most shares early then I assume you are buying under-priced IPO shares and selling them ASAP for even a small gain. Of course if you "know" the other players are always divving early then you can try to hold them longer until a share reaches a ledge if you are not able to be sure to be the first to sell.

But if other players are playing the "occasional withholding" game then you've wasted your money buying their shares. This was my comment on trying to guess what the President's plans are,

My 2-for-1 comment was assuming you've unloaded all you can, If you are running RRs into the CGR then you will certainly have some shares that you can't unload.

Yes the CGR can be a big money-maker later but it usually takes a few ORs before the CGR starts paying out so during that time your CGR shares make you nothing (neither capital nor divs).

In the early game there can be a significant difference in RR divs, with the GT and WR leading in that category (and LPS and CPR for a short time). But the WR and LPS high divs depend on getting certain tiles which is why I started my whole comment on the need to be one of the first few RRs to operate (which means you need a high IPO price). This is the paradox when you say a low IPO price is "better". In the mid-game the RR with most trains divs the most but is also prone to train lock when the 1st 5 is bought (which is why you need a second RR at this point if plan to have one avoid the CGR). As you can see I am familiar with all the basic strategies.

Anyway I'll have to try the all-out share drive and see how it works.

These things are what make 1856 a great game in my mind. There are plenty of ways to play it and you always feel like you could have done better - with really no luck, just a battle of wits against the other players!
 
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J C Lawrence
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jsnell wrote:
I rarely find that a good move.


I agree. It can however be made to work. I've only seen it done twice. It is hard and very fragile.

Quote:
In the local group think (that evolved over 50+ games) the 1856 endgame is dominated by massive diesel runs (due to the wide open board, a bunch of tokens disappear when the CGR forms...


Back when we were still playing with, the diesels rarely ran long. Maybe twice, possibly once, rarely more than three times. I've also seen $1,700 diesels -- but they also only ran once.

Quote:
So rescuing a company for its share price or location at the expense of capital that could be used for permanent trains is a bad deal.


Agreed.
 
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