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Subject: A Few Questions from a New 18XX Player rss

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Ron D
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A few of us have been trying to learn 18XX from scratch using 18EZ, and it is going very well so far. I've had a copy of 1830 sitting around forever, and this has been a much easier way to get into the rules. We do have a few questions:

1) Are the terms "open market" and "bank pool" the same, or is there some difference we are missing? So far, we've been treating them as the same.

2) Can a player sell a share of a company that hasn't floated? (Obviously not the President's Share) If so, what happens? (The rules say you don't add the company's marker to the SPI until it floats. Do you just sell at the IPO price? If so, how do you represent that the share price value drops?)

3) Where on the SPI does the Black Line token go? There are three 150 spaces and none are marked.

4) The rules say that trains can be purchased from the open market if any are available, but it never describes how a train might wind up there. How does that happen? (The only guess we've had is that if a railroad has too many trains when the train limit changes, but none are obsolete, the extras get sent to the open market)

Other than the above, I think we've mostly figured out what we're doing. I'll post a real review soon, but it will be quite positive.
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Dr Lucky wrote:
A few of us have been trying to learn 18XX from scratch using 18EZ, and it is going very well so far. I've had a copy of 1830 sitting around forever, and this has been a much easier way to get into the rules. We do have a few questions:

1) Are the terms "open market" and "bank pool" the same, or is there some difference we are missing? So far, we've been treating them as the same.

Yes, they are equivalent terms.

Quote:
2) Can a player sell a share of a company that hasn't floated? (Obviously not the President's Share) If so, what happens? (The rules say you don't add the company's marker to the SPI until it floats. Do you just sell at the IPO price? If so, how do you represent that the share price value drops?)

Generally speaking, you may not sell shares in a company that has not yet operated. I think that applies to 18EZ, but am not 100% certain.

Quote:
3) Where on the SPI does the Black Line token go? There are three 150 spaces and none are marked.

4) The rules say that trains can be purchased from the open market if any are available, but it never describes how a train might wind up there. How does that happen? (The only guess we've had is that if a railroad has too many trains when the train limit changes, but none are obsolete, the extras get sent to the open market)

Can't answer #3, sorry. Yes, that is the way trans get into the pool. It is usually quite rare, though somewhat dependent on the specific game.

Quote:
Other than the above, I think we've mostly figured out what we're doing. I'll post a real review soon, but it will be quite positive.
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Scott Petersen
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I suggest at a minimum you implement this variant (taken from clearclaw's review):

Quote:
* Instead of IPO shares paying into the company (which is the more rare form), have shares in the Open Market pay into the company (the more common form).

I consider the game to be quite broken without this because otherwise it is always advantageous to buy up your opponents' shares and dump them to the pool, causing everyone's shares to putter along the bottom of the stock market. It really makes the game more nasty than it is trying to be. I think the design choice has more to do with the designer's familiarity with 1870 than a deliberate choice. In playtesting, he saw the rule as written to be the gentler way of capitalizing companies, but in practice, once everyone figures it out, it is a no-brainer to buy up and dump your opponents' shares.

The other suggestion is to fix the stock market (see the review), but the game at least plays sufficiently well without this one.
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Ron D
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scottredracecar wrote:
I suggest at a minimum you implement this variant (taken from clearclaw's review):

Quote:
* Instead of IPO shares paying into the company (which is the more rare form), have shares in the Open Market pay into the company (the more common form).

I consider the game to be quite broken without this because otherwise it is always advantageous to buy up your opponents' shares and dump them to the pool, causing everyone's shares to putter along the bottom of the stock market. It really makes the game more nasty than it is trying to be. I think the design choice has more to do with the designer's familiarity with 1870 than a deliberate choice. In playtesting, he saw the rule as written to be the gentler way of capitalizing companies, but in practice, once everyone figures it out, it is a no-brainer to buy up and dump your opponents' shares.

The other suggestion is to fix the stock market (see the review), but the game at least plays sufficiently well without this one.


We've actually already started doing that. After I read the rules, it seemed to make a lot of sense, so that's how we have been playing. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Mark Tyler
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Dr Lucky wrote:
1) Are the terms "open market" and "bank pool" the same, or is there some difference we are missing? So far, we've been treating them as the same.

Yes, they are the same.

Dr Lucky wrote:
2) Can a player sell a share of a company that hasn't floated? (Obviously not the President's Share) If so, what happens? (The rules say you don't add the company's marker to the SPI until it floats. Do you just sell at the IPO price? If so, how do you represent that the share price value drops?)

18EZ is more restrictive about selling shares than most 18xx titles. In 18EZ you may not sell shares purchased during the current stock round. The rules are silent about what happens if you buy shares of an unfloated company, hold them until the next stock round, and then try to sell them. Let me just say that such a move would be unwise even if it was permitted by the rules. If the stock marker isn't on the board until a company floats, I would assume no sales are allowed until it does float.[/q]

Dr Lucky wrote:
3) Where on the SPI does the Black Line token go? There are three 150 spaces and none are marked.

Good observation that the rules don't specify which of the three 150 spots to use for the initial location of the Black Line stock marker. I recommend you follow the precedent of all other starting prices and use the leftmost 150 on the top row.

Dr Lucky wrote:
4) The rules say that trains can be purchased from the open market if any are available, but it never describes how a train might wind up there. How does that happen? (The only guess we've had is that if a railroad has too many trains when the train limit changes, but none are obsolete, the extras get sent to the open market)

You are correct, trains go in the open market only when a company has excess trains due to a change in the train limit.
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Mark Tyler
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Dr Lucky wrote:
scottredracecar wrote:
I suggest at a minimum you implement this variant (taken from clearclaw's review):

Quote:
* Instead of IPO shares paying into the company (which is the more rare form), have shares in the Open Market pay into the company (the more common form).

I consider the game to be quite broken without this because otherwise it is always advantageous to buy up your opponents' shares and dump them to the pool, causing everyone's shares to putter along the bottom of the stock market. It really makes the game more nasty than it is trying to be. I think the design choice has more to do with the designer's familiarity with 1870 than a deliberate choice. In playtesting, he saw the rule as written to be the gentler way of capitalizing companies, but in practice, once everyone figures it out, it is a no-brainer to buy up and dump your opponents' shares.

The other suggestion is to fix the stock market (see the review), but the game at least plays sufficiently well without this one.


We've actually already started doing that. After I read the rules, it seemed to make a lot of sense, so that's how we have been playing. Thanks for the suggestion.


IMHO, the variant fixes a problem that doesn't exist if you play by the actual rules. Somehow many people, especially those suggesting the variant, missed the rule stating that you cannot sell shares of stock purchased during the current stock round. Once you play by this rule, I seriously doubt you will see players buying up opponent's stock, holding them until the next stock round, and then selling them to trash the stock price. Players doing so will likely be selling shares at a loss to themselves.
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Scott Petersen
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m_r_tyler wrote:
IMHO, the variant fixes a problem that doesn't exist if you play by the actual rules. Somehow many people, especially those suggesting the variant, missed the rule stating that you cannot sell shares of stock purchased during the current stock round. Once you play by this rule, I seriously doubt you will see players buying up opponent's stock, holding them until the next stock round, and then selling them to trash the stock price. Players doing so will likely be selling shares at a loss to themselves.

We played by the rules. Me losing 10-20 per share is nothing compared to nerfing your company by making your shares no longer pay into the company.
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Ron D
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m_r_tyler wrote:
Dr Lucky wrote:
2) Can a player sell a share of a company that hasn't floated? (Obviously not the President's Share) If so, what happens? (The rules say you don't add the company's marker to the SPI until it floats. Do you just sell at the IPO price? If so, how do you represent that the share price value drops?)

18EZ is more restrictive about selling shares than most 18xx titles. In 18EZ you may not sell shares purchased during the current stock round. The rules are silent about what happens if you buy shares of an unfloated company, hold them until the next stock round, and then try to sell them. Let me just say that such a move would be unwise even if it was permitted by the rules. If the stock marker isn't on the board until a company floats, I would assume no sales are allowed until it does float.


We were playing it correctly as far as not selling stock in a company you have bought that round. As far as whether it was a good idea for him to try to sell the share, I agree that it wasn't. The situation was on the board and he asked if he could, though I don't think he would have done it even if we had decided the answer was yes. Of course, I'm pretty sure that bad play led to the situation arising at all.

Honestly, I'm not sure why he had purchased the share in the first place. Only two players had much money left near the end of an early SDR, one of them being him. The other player bought the President's Share (of Yellow) and set the par value high. He responded by buying one share of Yellow. After that, they were both pretty much out of cash and decided not to start selling other stock in order to float Yellow. Everyone passed and the SDR ended with only 30% of Yellow sold.

Clearly tying up money in shares of a company that won't opperate seems very wasteful. You're getting no return during that ORs where the company hasn't floated. Is there ever a reason to do this? Part of me wonders if there isn't some strategic value in grabbing the President's Share in this fashion, especially if you think someone else might float it with a much lower par value. Even in that case, I'm not sure it is ever going to be worth tying up that much cash in a non-paying investment. Even if there might be situations where someone wanted to do this with the President's Share, when and why (if ever) would someone buy the third or fourth share if they knew it wouldn't float?

(Obviously, this has gone well beyond being a rules question at this point.)
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Scott Petersen
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You might buy shares in a company that will not operate to get a jump on buying shares in the next stock round (securing the presidency or possibly preserving priority). In general, you would not buy up shares to float someone else's company unless there was something pretty good in it for you too.
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Chris Shaffer
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In some games, players often buy a presidency before they can float it just to secure it.

In response to BeyondMonopoly, I actually think there are more games that allow you to sell shares of companies that have not yet operated than the reverse. It is always best to check the rules or the 18xx Rules Differences List.
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scottredracecar wrote:
In general, you would not buy up shares to float someone else's company unless there was something pretty good in it for you too.

I would buy shares in a company that would float it if I had nothing else on which to spend it. In general, if you leave an SR with cash, you're doing the wrong thing. Stock generally gains value, cash does not. (And you can always dump it later. devil )
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The rules questions have been fairly well answered, but for the record...
Dr Lucky wrote:
1) Are the terms "open market" and "bank pool" the same?
Yes.

Dr Lucky wrote:
2) Can a player sell a share of a company that hasn't floated?
No.

Dr Lucky wrote:
3) Where on the SPI does the Black Line token go?
On the top row. I thought I had fixed that in the rule book, but apparently not. blush

Dr Lucky wrote:
4) The only guess we've had is that if a railroad has too many trains when the train limit changes, but none are obsolete, the extras get sent to the open market
Yup, that's it.
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drewdane wrote:
scottredracecar wrote:
In general, you would not buy up shares to float someone else's company unless there was something pretty good in it for you too.

I would buy shares in a company that would float it if I had nothing else on which to spend it. In general, if you leave an SR with cash, you're doing the wrong thing. Stock generally gains value, cash does not. (And you can always dump it later. devil )


Agreed except that if I was in a position to need to buy shares in corps controlled by other players, I'd much sooner buy up shares in an already-operating corporation that looks to be in a position to pay out.

Helping a player float when you have other options...helps that player. And you don't want that! If you can leave someone stranded and unable to operate a corp they just bought heavily into, you're doing proper rail baroning!

Buying shares to help float a corp is going to take a few rounds to be beneficial to you because you're going to lose value and receive no dividends the first round (while the corp secures trains) and then the next round you will (hopefully) get your value back and a small dividend. THEN you can flip the shares into the pool at a very slight gain. But surely the guy who was unable to operate without your help gained a lot more than you.
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m_r_tyler wrote:
I seriously doubt you will see players buying up opponent's stock, holding them until the next stock round, and then selling them to trash the stock price.


Why not? I'll do it every single game. In fact I already deliberately buy shares and sell them at a loss in almost every 18xx game I play. In the case of 18EZ I buy a a few shares and next round buy another few shares and then sell the shares I bought last route. Repeat for every Stock Round. The losses are irrelevant as they are drowned by the losses taken by my opponent.

Quote:
Players doing so will likely be selling shares at a loss to themselves.


Yes. This is normal.
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jrebelo wrote:
Buying shares to help float a corp is going to take a few rounds to be beneficial to you because you're going to lose value and receive no dividends the first round (while the corp secures trains) and then the next round you will (hopefully) get your value back and a small dividend. THEN you can flip the shares into the pool at a very slight gain. But surely the guy who was unable to operate without your help gained a lot more than you.

A slight gain is a gain. Add to that the option of dumping them in the next SR, and it's a better option than sitting on cash, IMO.
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clearclaw wrote:
In fact I already deliberately buy shares and sell them at a loss in almost every 18xx game I play.

And I am sure you win enough of those games to confirm that your strategy is worthwhile. In my experience, if I have a choice to invest my extra cash in stock of a paying company, I will do that first. Investing in a startup company which will lose value buying its first train doesn't seem like a good short term plan if there are paying stocks available.

While you and your stock-dumping target are losing value, what about the other players at the table? How is your net worth in comparison to them?
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m_r_tyler wrote:
And I am sure you win enough of those games to confirm that your strategy is worthwhile. In my experience, if I have a choice to invest my extra cash in stock of a paying company, I will do that first. Investing in a startup company which will lose value buying its first train doesn't seem like a good short term plan if there are paying stocks available.


1830-style 18xx are far more about delta than they are about accrual. Stock-trashing is primary a revenue and liquidity minimisation activity. It is fine to loose money, so long as the target loses more (as corrected for subsequent position and returns).

Quote:
While you and your stock-dumping target are losing value, what about the other players at the table? How is your net worth in comparison to them?


Sure. And they are also either being hit at the same time, or they will be hit in their due time and as their positional strengths warrant.

Hurm.

I should finish up the blog article I started about the functional justifications and flat-out requirements for stock trashing.
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clearclaw wrote:
I should finish up the blog article I started about the functional justifications and flat-out requirements for stock trashing.

Yes, you should.

I need more concrete examples to be convinced that buying and holding shares of non-paying stock with the intent of selling them at a loss in the next stock round is a "no cost, no risk" action.
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TheCat wrote:
In some games, players often buy a presidency before they can float it just to secure it.

Last night played my first 18EZ game at Level 2 and I did indeed do this as after having played Level 1 a couple times I wanted to make sure I controlled later a 2nd company that was close to my first company I controlled so they could cooperate.

However this did have a couple effects... one already mentioned... that investment earned no income for several rounds, but also....

... I set the IPO price at 50 for the 2nd company since I bought the presidents share the first stock round since I obviously had limited initial funds. Waiting until I was generating more income (on my own and investing in other players already floated companies) so I could set a 100 ipo price would double the companies starting treasury.

The other problem is in our 3 player game only one had played 18xx games before (other than my couple plays of level 1 18ez) so the other new 18xx player who had never played at all followed me and also bought a presidents share setting the ipo at 50. As such 5 of the 6 companies only started with a treasury of 500. About 1/2 way through the trains it looked clear to me there was not enough money to sell out of 5 trains never mind for a company to be able to afford a 6 train. (and yes, that's even with one company buying trains from your other company in order to transfer funds)

Oh yea, the other problem with buying the presidents share of a 2nd company the first round and only being able to set a low ipo price... the (experienced) player who delayed buying his 2nd presidents share and setting it to the highest (100) ipo price, his stock price obviously ended up higher and hence that company lead in the turn order beating me by one operating round of being able to buy/place his 2nd companies 2nd company token/office in the 4th/last spot in metropolis thus blocking my 2nd company from running trains through metropolis.

Next time I will delay buying that 2nd presidents share...

In any case I must have been doing something right (like investing in the very experienced, relatively speaking, 18xx player's companies) as I was in final tally I think under 200 less than the winner (the experienced player).
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