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Subject: Merging Other People's Companies rss

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CW Lumm
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I was in a game a few days ago in which one of my opponents tried something rather novel (and daring) in the last turn of the game. He had a bit of cash and more slots than he had companies for, so he kept on throwing out merger after merger of companies he himself didn't own.

He managed to buy the first company (I think), but wasn't so lucky on the other two - I ended up in control of all the shipping on the board, which as it turns out I hadn't overpaid for, even at a ridiculous price of something around R550.

What I'd like to discuss is, when does it make strategic sense to merge other people's companies?

It seems to me if you can get people to chase the company past its market value, that's obviously a good thing. Perhaps this strategy works best if you know you're going to be in control of whether or not the game ends, so you can control whether people get a maximum (for non-shipping companies) of either two times the company's nominal value or three - as long as you can leave some ambiguity as to the value of the company, you might be able to get your friends to overpay.

Thoughts?
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Bill Rosgen
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Three situations come immediately to mind:

1. You can get people out of the rice or spice business by creating Siap Faji companies. This can reduce the importance of turn order for your rice and/or spice companies.

2. You can consolidate shipping lines to give your own companies more shipping options.

3. One large company may have more trouble shipping goods than two small companies, provided it is bound more by hull capacity than by the number of places to ship to, and so by proposing a merger you have already hurt the positions of your opponents.
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CW Lumm
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Asdnart wrote:
1. You can get people out of the rice or spice business by creating Siap Faji companies. This can reduce the importance of turn order for your rice and/or spice companies.


Good observation. Siap faji does also have the collateral effect of making it more difficult to expand cities, which may/may not be a good thing.

Asdnart wrote:
3. One large company may have more trouble shipping goods than two small companies, provided it is bound more by hull capacity than by the number of places to ship to, and so by proposing a merger you have already hurt the positions of your opponents.


Merging two other companies for this reason seems a bit weak, although since proposing a merger is free, that's not a good reason not to do it!

I wouldn't do this if I knew the player likely to end up owning the shipping routes was going to have time to expand his hull.

I didn't win the game I outlined in my post, but I was snapping at the leader's heels after going into the last turn well behind. If my group found anything in our game, it was that having one person in charge of all shipping on the board is pretty dangerous, particularly in the last turn, when only the shipper has anything to gain from R&D. If I'd been in that position for two rounds instead of just one, I'm pretty sure I would've won by a lot.
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Martins Livens
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kamchatka wrote:
Asdnart wrote:
3. One large company may have more trouble shipping goods than two small companies, provided it is bound more by hull capacity than by the number of places to ship to, and so by proposing a merger you have already hurt the positions of your opponents.


Merging two other companies for this reason seems a bit weak, although since proposing a merger is free, that's not a good reason not to do it!


This is false statement. Merging isn't free, it requires research, by doing unnecessary mergers (those that you can't benefit) you give up your investments for free.
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CW Lumm
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marliv wrote:
This is false statement. Merging isn't free, it requires research, by doing unnecessary mergers (those that you can't benefit) you give up your investments for free.


No, it's not a false statement. Proposing a merger is free. The capacity to do so is not.
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Martins Livens
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kamchatka wrote:
marliv wrote:
This is false statement. Merging isn't free, it requires research, by doing unnecessary mergers (those that you can't benefit) you give up your investments for free.


No, it's not a false statement. Proposing a merger is free. The capacity to do so is not.


I know rules . So why should you do that "for free"? It's classic beginners mistake.

For someone without merger they aren't free while they have other advantages instead.
If they can relay on "free mergers for everyone", they can save at least one development and spend it somewhere else.
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CW Lumm
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You might want to propose a merger of opponents' companies if you know you can outbid everyone else and it's the final turn.
 
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kamchatka wrote:
You might want to propose a merger of opponents' companies if you know you can outbid everyone else and it's the final turn.


The question is: how you gonna benefit from this?
If opponents don't have enough money to protect (selling for full value) companies, maybe you have won in previous rounds, just didn't know that.

What I would like to emphasize: You shouldn't be looking for excuses to merge something, instead there should be solid reason for every merge.

I understand and even sympathize your try out of merging technologies, but every R/D track is quit strong and merge is one of most misused, maybe slots is close second place.
 
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marliv wrote:
kamchatka wrote:
You might want to propose a merger of opponents' companies if you know you can outbid everyone else and it's the final turn.


The question is: how you gonna benefit from this?
If opponents don't have enough money to protect (selling for full value) companies, maybe you have won in previous rounds, just didn't know that.

What I would like to emphasize: You shouldn't be looking for excuses to merge something, instead there should be solid reason for every merge.

I understand and even sympathize your try out of merging technologies, but every R/D track is quit strong and merge is one of most misused, maybe slots is close second place.


Please explain further. How are they misused?
 
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Note that a merged company will grow more slowly than two small companies put together (assuming the "Expansion" track is equal between players).

Siap Faji requires half as many boats, so is bad for shippers.
 
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In one game, a player merged two shipping companies on the last turn. This gave him control of all shipping. He paid dearly for it (something like 500+), but made it all back because:

- He controlled which areas got ships. It was the beginning of Era C and some new oil companies opened up but had no shipping lines yet. He put lines through where it would benefit him and completely denied boats to everyone else.

- He paid zero shipping on everything on that last round.

- There were several large companies that had to ship at a loss. Guess where all that money went?

This player made something like 800+ on the last turn. Scores were 1800, 1600, 1400.
 
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wrote:
Jythier wrote:

I understand and even sympathize your try out of merging technologies, but every R/D track is quit strong and merge is one of most misused, maybe slots is close second place.

Please explain further. How are they misused?


Freeing slots for other players, helping owners to raise money for crucial buyouts on other important mergers, making large important shipping companies that are bought by players who don't have mergers R&D at appropriate level, but have more money. Making early Siap Faji, when you can't overbid, is awful move. Making 3rd or 4th Siap Faji probably is bad move most of time, unless you are turn order baron.
Make ill fated company, experienced opponents will sell you it for first bid - now you have ballast in one of your slots while mergers chain began by other players freeing slots.

However I am pretty sure that well prepared strategic mergers are key to victory.

I have once won without a single step in mergers track, but without at least one good (for me) merger proposition it would be impossible. (well, I kind of expected that merger will come - one of them will fall in temptation. Otherwise it was grim situation. I got screwed in opening by unexpected sequence, my "business partner" refused to make mutual benefit)

Slots are more clear case. Taking slots and filling slots is overvalued.
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Mike Bazynski
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I've more than once merged not mine rice+rice or spices+spices when I had an early siap faji, and people were reluctant to r&d mergers to level 3. a merged rice cannot turn into a siap faji as easily.

so - if you have a siap faji and are afraid others want some too, merge their rice and stop that from happening. even if they have mergers at level 3 it's illegal to merge again a same chit in 1 round, and 1 round might be all you need often
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CW Lumm
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marliv wrote:
If opponents don't have enough money to protect (selling for full value) companies, maybe you have won in previous rounds, just didn't know that.


So? I want to make as much money as I can in this game, and simply being able to outbid everyone else toward the end of the game is not a guarantee that you've already won.

In the final turn, shipping everything you can is MUCH better than just holding onto money you already have.

 
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bazik123 wrote:
I've more than once merged not mine rice+rice or spices+spices when I had an early siap faji, and people were reluctant to r&d mergers to level 3. a merged rice cannot turn into a siap faji as easily.

so - if you have a siap faji and are afraid others want some too, merge their rice and stop that from happening. even if they have mergers at level 3 it's illegal to merge again a same chit in 1 round, and 1 round might be all you need often


Let's call it protective merger. (used at least once, considering all the time)
But it can and should be used against project of making early siap faji itself. Next round same company could be too large and expensive to initiate merger. Thought there are a lot of rice and spice for acquisition still coming.
 
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kamchatka wrote:
marliv wrote:
If opponents don't have enough money to protect (selling for full value) companies, maybe you have won in previous rounds, just didn't know that.


So? I want to make as much money as I can in this game, and simply being able to outbid everyone else toward the end of the game is not a guarantee that you've already won.


By won I mean you have most money by wide margin.
If you really "outbid everyone else" at all costs - you probably screwed yourself, but maybe not enough to lose your lead.

wrote:


In the final turn, shipping everything you can is MUCH better than just holding onto money you already have.


I will try to clarify:
Every company in the final round have calculable price modified by possible following mergers on other companies.
If someone is ready to overpay for my companies I am ready to sell them all and finish the game as soon as possible.

P.S. final round income duplication is just here to keep mergers in last round. Companies price in all rounds is at least twice of its round income.
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leiavoia wrote:
In one game, a player merged two shipping companies on the last turn. This gave him control of all shipping. He paid dearly for it (something like 500+), but made it all back because:

- He controlled which areas got ships. It was the beginning of Era C and some new oil companies opened up but had no shipping lines yet. He put lines through where it would benefit him and completely denied boats to everyone else.

- He paid zero shipping on everything on that last round.


Just a nit picking:
This is easy for shortcut for counting. But it skew whole picture, you transfer income from shipping company to his producers.

In reality:
His shipping company made large income from all the producers, including his other companies. Then we could see witch which blushof his companies was more or less profitable. How much profit exactly made his ships.

BTW never seen shipping monopoly at the end of game, maybe once long ago.

800+ and what place he had? (this is before duplication?)
 
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I had a shipping monopoly at the end of a game. Of course, two shipping companies got discarded out of Age A...
 
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Jythier wrote:
I had a shipping monopoly at the end of a game. Of course, two shipping companies got discarded out of Age A...


That's exactly what happened in my game too. No one wanted those Era A shipping companies in the far northeast, so they got tossed. There were only 4 shipping tiles at the end of the game and they got merged 2x2 into a super-shipper. The person who held the first half couldn't defend against the final merger because he just made a big grab himself.
 
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Played 2 very different games this week
Game 1, 5 players. Stuck to a Slots/Expansions strategy and took over NO shipping companies. Won big time with R1100+ with the other 4 players about the R700 mark. Other people called the mergers and I usually had the money to defend mine and exploit others.

Game 2, 3 player. Went mergers early, got involved in shipping but didn't have the money to defend myself and ended on mergers level 4 and probably initiated most of the merger calls all game. Lost badly to the guy who had all the shipping in the last turn. In fact the shipping guy had more money than the other two of us combined.
My strategy was probably flawed but one really bad decision was to merge two weak companies of the other players hoping to reduce the cash reserves of one of them, who I would then merge my rubber with theirs in a 2nd round of mergers. I figured I could pick up some nice rubber really cheap from either player once they paid out on the first merger. But they saw it coming and let me win the first merge on the opening bid. It filled my last slot and left me cash poor to defend myself in the next turns mergers.

In both cases poor use of mergers allowed cashed up players to free slots and build powerful companies which they could defend.

So in answer to the question there are reasons to merge other peoples companies which are very situation specific but I think poor use is more likely to lose you a game than good use is likely to win one for you


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William Springer
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leiavoia wrote:
In one game, a player merged two shipping companies on the last turn. This gave him control of all shipping. He paid dearly for it (something like 500+), but made it all back because:


I managed that once (gaining control of all shipping, that is - somebody else did the merger). After the doubling, my last turn score was higher than the total score of the second place player.

My opponents have never let me get away with that again :-)
 
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wmspringer wrote:
leiavoia wrote:
In one game, a player merged two shipping companies on the last turn. This gave him control of all shipping. He paid dearly for it (something like 500+), but made it all back because:


I managed that once (gaining control of all shipping, that is - somebody else did the merger). After the doubling, my last turn score was higher than the total score of the second place player.

My opponents have never let me get away with that again :-)


As with so much of Indonesia strategy/tactics, this is situational. In particular a quick transition to Era B followed by aggressive siap faji mergers can put shippers at a huge disadvantage relative to producers. Not only the producers realize a high profit margin but the siap faji creation reduces the number of goods on the board - not good for the shippers who can't even make it up on volume. Siap faji is shipper Kryptonite.

If that situation arises I don't so much mind if another player has a monopoly or near-monopoly on boats, as a producer will likely win on margins.

But if the rice and spice tiles merge into big rice/spice companies instead, the boats can be quite powerful. To bring things back to the thread topic, a shipper may want to merge opponents' rice/spice companies with each other, intending to "lose" the bid, just to create a shipping-friendly board setup.
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