jim b
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Poll: Do you prefer the company treasury open, or closed?
Do you prefer public company treasuries open, or closed?
We prefer that company treasuries are open - the current balance is easily visible.
We prefer that company treasuries are closed - the current balance remains private.
      92 answers
Poll created by jimb
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I like the idea that the stack is visible, but the precise amount need not be divulged. This gives players a good idea, if they can't remember, of how much is there (enough to buy the next train...or nearly broke) without bogging the game down by people making so many calculations. Actually, I believe this is also what is in the rulebook.

When using poker chips rather than paper money, a 'stack' is easily tallied from across the table. I can't say that I've noticed any change in the game play when this has been the case, so open information here seems trivially important. So..in principle I like the rules as written, but in practice I prefer the chips.
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Richard Young
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It's always been the way we've played. Most of my experience with this game has been on the computer via the Avalon Hill PC game from the mid-nineties where you had access to all information whether playing with humans, 'bots or a combination of both. So, on the computer we play with everything open as that was the way they built it.

However, most economic games that we play either don't specify or we choose to play with personal money closed whatever the rules say. So, when we play 1856 on the board, it's open private money and closed personal money. I think you can make a case for all sorts of combinations, but for us that was just the way it worked out.
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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Any information that is calculable based on information that was public should remain public. If I can keep track of a treasury simply by tallying it on a sheet of paper, it's public.

In some games, money can be exchanged between companies during train sales in amounts which is not public. I could therefore imagining allowing company treasuries to be private. However, I too always play with chips or a moderator, so it's a question of no consequence as it is de facto public. Even when playing with paper money, I preferred it to be public.
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Ben Foy
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I prefer playing by the rules.

Anyone who gets their really emotional over something silly as this needs to chill!
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Daniel Corban
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cornjob wrote:
So..in principle I like the rules as written, but in practice I prefer the chips.


I agree.

Also, like you, I haven't found one way or the other to be particularly important. I usually have a good feeling for the level of cash around the table.
 
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Mikko Saari
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I prefer open money - it's easier with poker chips anyway and most of these kinds of games (including games like Winsome train games) there's enough to think about without calculating how much money people have.
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BFoy wrote:
I prefer playing by the rules.

Anyone who gets their really emotional over something silly as this needs to chill!


I think we are all in agreement on that point. I don't sense any angst over this question so far - lots of different opinions and playing styles, without any "sermonizing," so far at least.

I'm not sure the issue falls into the "silly" category however. You do see definite preferences by some groups as to the general topic of open versus closed personal money (or other "trackable items" for that matter), but most often in games where the rules haven't specified.

But even where the rules are clear, I expect people who have differing preferences will have their own house rules that they agree to beforehand. Standard procedure for casual play...

The flexibility most gamers exhibit changes when entering tournaments where all the rules are known beforehand (which can be far more detailed and precise than the rules out of the box) which must be followed by all participants, personal preferences notwithstanding...
 
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Chris Shaffer
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BFoy wrote:
I prefer playing by the rules.


The rules don't say I can't keep track of everything on pencil/paper or a spreadsheet.

Quote:
Anyone who gets their really emotional over something silly as this needs to chill!


Agreed.
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One thing I don't agree with is being dogmatic that any hidden information that is trackable be made public in all games. I know some people feel this way, and argue that they could keep track so it saves time. I find that most people CAN'T track it that precisely, but keep a close approximation of the actual value. This prevents analysis paralysis where folks are doing calculations that pain the rest of the table.

In 18xx this seems less important than some other games, but I find folks that become adamant about this point usually aren't good gaming partners for me. If its to the point that you insist on making handwritten notes of the trackable but hidden information, chances are high that your anal retentiveness extends to things beyond the game. If you have the skill to card count or whatever, and can track stuff I'm not able to keep in my head, more power to you.

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Bruce Murphy
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cornjob wrote:
One thing I don't agree with is being dogmatic that any hidden information that is trackable be made public in all games. I know some people feel this way, and argue that they could keep track so it saves time. I find that most people CAN'T track it that precisely, but keep a close approximation of the actual value. This prevents analysis paralysis where folks are doing calculations that pain the rest of the table.

In 18xx this seems less important than some other games, but I find folks that become adamant about this point usually aren't good gaming partners for me. If its to the point that you insist on making handwritten notes of the trackable but hidden information, chances are high that your anal retentiveness extends to things beyond the game. If you have the skill to card count or whatever, and can track stuff I'm not able to keep in my head, more power to you.


Or maybe in a game like 18xx that (should have) nothing whatsoever to do with playing tricky memory games, adding a tricky memory element is pointless and counterproductive.

Some games are explicitly built around a memory element, and that's fine for people who want to play them.

B>
 
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Chris Shaffer
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cornjob wrote:
If its to the point that you insist on making handwritten notes of the trackable but hidden information, chances are high that your anal retentiveness extends to things beyond the game.


To be honest, I probably wouldn't ever really do this, except perhaps to make a point. Instead, I'd just move off to the next table and find someone else to play with.
 
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thepackrat wrote:
cornjob wrote:
One thing I don't agree with is being dogmatic that any hidden information that is trackable be made public in all games. I know some people feel this way, and argue that they could keep track so it saves time. I find that most people CAN'T track it that precisely, but keep a close approximation of the actual value. This prevents analysis paralysis where folks are doing calculations that pain the rest of the table.

In 18xx this seems less important than some other games, but I find folks that become adamant about this point usually aren't good gaming partners for me. If its to the point that you insist on making handwritten notes of the trackable but hidden information, chances are high that your anal retentiveness extends to things beyond the game. If you have the skill to card count or whatever, and can track stuff I'm not able to keep in my head, more power to you.


Or maybe in a game like 18xx that (should have) nothing whatsoever to do with playing tricky memory games, adding a tricky memory element is pointless and counterproductive.

Some games are explicitly built around a memory element, and that's fine for people who want to play them.

B>

Yeah maybe I'm ranting in general. I already mentioned that I don't find using poker chips seems to affect the game compared with keeping stacks of bills. Or perhaps I just can't detect the changes.

I'm going off-topic. I was thinking of examples like Samurai or Puerto Rico, where information COULD be tracked, but it seems against the spirit of the game and reduces it to a heavier more calculations-heavy exercise rather than a lighter Euro. I prefer to keep the game flowing more quickly and rely more on my imperfect memory (usually more of a general idea of what my opponents have rather than specific detail). If I want to play a heavier game, I'd just rather play a heavier game...not transform mid-weight Euros into heavy games.
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Ben Foy
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TheCat wrote:
BFoy wrote:
I prefer playing by the rules.


The rules don't say I can't keep track of everything on pencil/paper or a spreadsheet.


If they aren't holding up the game with their record keeping, then I don't really mind. I played 2 games of 1830 in 5 hours last Friday. Only one was a bankruptcy. What are the chances that we'd finish that quickly if someone was taking notes. shake
 
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J C Lawrence
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cornjob wrote:
I was thinking of examples like Samurai or Puerto Rico, where information COULD be tracked, but it seems against the spirit of the game and reduces it to a heavier more calculations-heavy exercise rather than a lighter Euro.


I am bemused that some consider Samurai a lighter game. While I don't play Samurai, those that do (locally) consider it a rather heavy game, and play it as such.

BFoy wrote:
What are the chances that we'd finish that quickly if someone was taking notes.


I only play with open money and poker chips. I have players that keep written logs, ledger-style, of all their personal transactions, and one who occasionally does so as well for the companies they run and the companies they're heavily invested in. It really needn't take long (and it doesn't for them).
 
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clearclaw wrote:
cornjob wrote:
I was thinking of examples like Samurai or Puerto Rico, where information COULD be tracked, but it seems against the spirit of the game and reduces it to a heavier more calculations-heavy exercise rather than a lighter Euro.


I am bemused that some consider Samurai a lighter game. While I don't play Samurai, those that do (locally) consider it a rather heavy game, and play it as such.

I agree. Samurai is one of the most AP prone games I have ever played. The game often feels like multiplayer chess.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
I am bemused that some consider Samurai a lighter game. While I don't play Samurai, those that do (locally) consider it a rather heavy game, and play it as such.


Whooeeee, Samurai is one of the heaviest games I play. It really has a lot of depth. While 18xx may have more detail, Samurai is neck and next with it for depth of tactics.
 
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dcorban wrote:
I agree. Samurai is one of the most AP prone games I have ever played. The game often feels like multiplayer chess.


Samurai is one of those games that is best play-by-web instead of face-to-face.
 
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To jump on the "derailed" (get it?) thread. I enjoy Samurai, and when I play online use open scoring...but that is more because its much more difficult to remember information in a game that stretches out over days/weeks than an hour at the table.

But its squarely a mid-weight Euro. In many ways, its a glorified game of dots and lines. There is no way a seriously heavy game could have that much of a seating order discrepancy in results.

I'm not disparaging anyone for enjoying it. I love the game, too. But you can ignore things happening in between your turns (except for which tokens were won) and not lose any information. How is that heavy? Its much more tactical than what I consider a heavy game to be. And before people start bashing me, I have a pretty strong success rate. I've won nearly half of the 4p games I've played on Mabi over the years. I mention that only as evidence that I do understand how to play it at a reasonably high level.

Examples of heavy games:
Antiquity
18xx
Princes of the Renaissance
Napoleon's Triumph
Age of Steam
die Macher

In each of these, the density of concentration and amount of data you have to process to make each decision is much higher than in a game like Samurai. You're required to concentrate on what everyone else is doing at all times. In Samurai, when I sit down for the next turn, it doesn't make any difference to me which tile blue played last...as long as I make note of which tiles are in place right now. (And any off-board played tiles, which are few).

Anyway, I think I've allowed myself to start arguing semantics...to no real end. I'm not sure anyone is seriously suggesting Samurai belongs in the company of those above in terms of its weight. If so, I'd love to hear that argument.

In the meantime, I'm still using poker chips for 18xx.
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Bill Plumley
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I agree with what was said earlier, if it's something that you could easily keep track of with paper and a pen throughout the game, let it just be public. Because you WILL have people who would be willing to tot up everyone's actions to keep track. Unless the specific 18xx's rules say otherwise... open it fine.
 
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Even in cases where the rules technically state that corporate treasuries may be kept secret, my group always plays with everything open and I've never played it any other way, since they are the ones who introduced me to the games. Of course, I don't care to play it any other way. I am too lazy to keep track of holdings on paper, but the player who is willing to do it (or who has particularly good memory) will have a potential advantage. There have been times where I've seen games swung in huge amounts by someone not considering that another company had a certain amount of cash to do something.

If a player just isn't paying attention, they'll probably make the same mistakes whether cash is open or closed because they probably aren't even thinking about your corp's cash. Players who pay enough attention to consider what everyone else's incentives are like deserve to enjoy the social component of the face to face game more by not being constantly trying to record everyone else's transactions (whether physically or mentally, it requires attention that you could otherwise use in better ways).

I see nothing gained by having any closed information, only potential to slow it down through added effort in remembering/recording or swings in the game's outcome that would have been prevented by a player simply having recorded transactions and known what another corp could or could not have done.
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Richard Young
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Good points and I can see where you are coming from. The group dynamic may the key here - are you more social or more competitive (and it is possible to be both)? Why do you game in the first place? Is it for notches on your Blackberry, or shared fun with good friends?

A closely related issue, and one of things we're finding, is that games which feature "trackable VPs" versus "tracked VPs" (insert money in games where money=VPs) give you the option to hold them closed thus possibly making the "Tall Poppy" a little harder to discern - not impossible, obviously, but harder. We like that.

This takes us into another often discussed phenomina of the "Tall Poppy Syndrome" aka "Whack the Leader" that tracked VPs encourages. The converse (reverse?) is "arbitrary hoseage" (I'm attacking you because...you wouldn't go get me a beer) along with inadvertent "Kingmaking," although I don't know which is worse - inadvertent or deliberate kingmaking. After much deliberation I've decided this whole business is a "name your poison" kind of thing. Lots of good arguements on both sides.

So, insist on getting your way, or go with the flow...

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