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Subject: PlayTest: Forced Train Purchases rss

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J C Lawrence
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The rules are unlcear on where companies must buy trains from in forced purchases and what price may be charged for trains in the case of a forced purchase where the president contributes funds.

Example: I control CompanyA and CompanyB. CompanyA and CompanyB both have $0 in their treasuries. CompanyA has a train. CompanyB doesn't have a train. Both companies have legal track routes. When CompanyB operates, it is forced to buy a train. As it has no money, I, as president, must contribute my money toward the purchase. If I decide to buy the required train from CompanyA, how high can I set the purchase price? Can I set it to more than face value? How about $5,000,000?
 
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Tom Hudson
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This is from page 17 of the 0.41 rules:

"If a company has a legal route, it must own a train. A company required to own a train must purchase one with its own funds if possible. If the company does not have enough money, the company’s president must provide the balance. If the president is forced to contribute toward the purchase, the company must buy the cheapest available train from the bank."

Is there ambiguity in your mind about what triggers a "forced" purchase? Say, my company A needs a train and my company B has several. Company A can purchase one from company B at any price I like to a minimum of $1. This is typical, right?

But if company B doesn't have any or any extra trains, company A is forced to buy the cheapest train from the bank, I say cheapest because I don't want the purchasing player to do some gamey things and buy the most expensive train (if there is a choice).
 
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J C Lawrence
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Ahh, I missed that. What's at stake here are two things: 1) The three-company dump and 2) a contrived bank-breaking or bankruptcy.

The latter, the contrived bank-break or bankruptcy, is fairly negligible as long as the purchase price for purchases with presidential cash is limited to face value (which is what 1830 does BTW).

The three-company dump is more common and is considerably more interesting for players, especially in lower player-count games. It is also, when done successfully, frequently a game-saver and sometimes a game-winner.

The short form of the three-company dump:

1) Player controls CompanyA, CompanyB and CompanyC.

2) CompanyB has a train and no/little treasury.

3) CompanyA buys CompanyB's train for $1.

4) When CompanyB is forced to buy a train, it buys the same train back again from CompanyA, but for a price that forces the president to sell shares such that CompanyC is dumped on another player. Presumably CompanyC either has no train, or only has a train which is about to rust, or is in some other way a punitive liability.

I recommend changing the rule so that forced purchases with presidential money may be from the bank or from another company, but that if from the bank it must be the cheapest available train (no change here), and if from another company, may not be for more than face value of the train.
 
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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The ability to contribute arbitrary amounts of the President's personal funds to a forced train purchase from another company, even without a 3-company dump, is a huge invitation to abuse(*) that relatively few of the 18xx games support.

(*) I say that only in the most admiring way, of course.
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J C Lawrence
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1830 and most direct derivatives.
 
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Bob Henry
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clearclaw wrote:
I recommend changing the rule so that forced purchases with presidential money may be from the bank or from another company, but that if from the bank it must be the cheapest available train (no change here), and if from another company, may not be for more than face value of the train.


Yes, that's the rule as in 1830: Railways & Robber Barons (section 24 of those rules).

And, it's there to prevent such abuse as Morganza was admiring

Actually, when Francis and Bruce crafted the Enforced Purchase rules in 1830 I think they put together a definitive package.


 
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Tom Hudson
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I've updated the rules to enable forced train purchases to be from other companies. The price of such a purchase would be capped at face value.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Having now played 18io twice since I started this thread, I'm almost ready to argue the other side, to argue that directly supporting the three-company dump pattern may be too powerful in a game like this in which players habitually run multiple companies relatively early in the game. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm thinking about it...
 
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Mark Geary
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clearclaw wrote:
Having now played 18io twice since I started this thread, I'm almost ready to argue the other side, to argue that directly supporting the three-company dump pattern may be too powerful in a game like this in which players habitually run multiple companies relatively early in the game. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm thinking about it...


I don't understand what "forced train purchases from other companies" has to do with the three-company dump.
 
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J C Lawrence
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markgeary wrote:
I don't understand what "forced train purchases from other companies" has to do with the three-company dump.


Forced train purchases are not required for a 3-company dump, they merely make them easier to accomplish, and to accomplish more economically for the dumping player.
 
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Mike Calhoon
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And it allows a dump regardless of priority, the common defense against inheriting a shell of a corporation when playing investor.
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J C Lawrence
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The minimum form of a three company dump
 
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