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Subject: Strategy Ideas for the Ravensburger Edition rss

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Jeff Watts
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I played a game of Shark a few nights ago and was thinking over some of the events in my head at lunch. This motivated me to look up some of the Shark articles on the Geek. Lo and behold, I noticed there were no strategy articles for Shark, so I thought I’d write a very basic guide.

These are rules I generally follow, but I welcome any disagreement to these rules or editions of any other general rules to follow.

Rules:
1)Turn 1, pick the same starting stock as a previous player picked for his or her starting stock. Obviously you can’t do this if you are the start player.

Reason: The odds of the person who picked the stock first rolling his own stock are 3 in 6 (50%), since the stock die has 2 wild cards and 1 of the particular color. It’s in his best interest to use the wild card for his own color since he will profit $2,000 ($1K for the build and $1K for the stock increase), and you and any one else with the color will only make $1K.

Then on your turn you’ll have $1K for immediate investment and again a 3 in 6 chance of rolling the same color. However, if the previous player has built 1 building, you may be able to build adjacent to the existing chain and thus be able to net $2K for the build and an additional $1-2K for the stock gain. (You’ll make $2K if you used the money you may have had at the start to buy an additional share of the color.)

2)Initial placement of new buildings for chains you want to grow should be at the intersection of numbered areas and the shark zone. For example, if you rolled a 1 on the placement die, you’d want to build either at the 1//2/shark intersection or at the 1/4/shark intersection.

Reason: This greatly increases the chance of the chain growing on subsequent turns. The odds change from as low as 1/12th to a 1/3rd chance (8% -> 33%).

A bad placement in center of a numbered section will only roll again 1 in 12 times. The color die will only roll 3 in 6 times or ½ and the placement die will only roll 1 in 6 times. ½*1/6=1/12th (8%).

Whereas, if placed at an intersection the color die still is ½ but the placement die has a 4 in 6 chance of rolling an adjacent area. There are 2 shark faces and the 2 area faces for a total of 4 in 6 faces of the die. (4/6=67%) So ½*4/6=1/3rd (33%).

3)Money invested in smaller chains with diverse groups has a higher ROI.

Reason: A stock with a lower value has a higher percentage gain when its stock goes up. For example, if a stock which has a value of 10 increases its share price by 1 it has gone from 10 to 11. This means its value has gone up by 10%. However, if a share with a value of 1 which increases its share has gone from 1 to 2, which means its value has increased by 100%.

4)If the remaining “safe” stock’s shares are sold out or very expensive, it’s better to day-trade in a cheap, risky stock.

Note: Day-trade for this purpose is defined as buying stock before the dice roll, rolling the dice, and then immediately selling the stock after the roll.

Reason: Sometimes it makes no sense to keep a given stock, because it has a high chance of being devalued by the actions of a much bigger building chain on the board. However, rather than let your excess money go to waste you can perform a day-trade. Three events will happen during a day-trade. One, you will roll the bigger building chain. In which case, you can avoid destroying the smaller chain for no gain on the day-trade, but no loss either. Secondly, you may roll a different color and/or location that have no effect either way. Thirdly, and hopefully, you’ll roll the stock you have day-traded. Then you can grow the chain, profit from the transaction and then sell off the still risky stock.

While you only profit on 1 out of 3 of the cases, it is still a better option than just letting your money sit on the table idle.

5)Diversify your stock portfolio early. It’s better to have 1 of each type than 4 of 1 type.

This is somewhat controversial; since in many instances specializing in 1 stock is the only way to win the game. However, early on specializing in 1 stock will result in other players not building that stock which will result in a low stock value. Whereas, diversifying stock types will result in a steady stream of cash and growth of your average stock value.

6)Do not get attached to a type of stock.

Just because you started the stock, don’t stick with it if it’s not moving up in value. There is definitely a bandwagon effect in this game and it is in your best interest to be on the bandwagon. Don’t hesitate to sell loser stocks!

7)Conversely don’t sell a stock casually, since it takes time to reinvest the money into new stock.

Sometimes it is necessary to sell off a stock that you are heavily invested in because it has become threatened by a nearby larger chain. Rather than selling it all at once however, it may be better to sell off chucks of it, keeping enough cash on hand to deal with possible losses.

Reason: This will keep more of your money tied up into (hopefully) appreciating assets and not lying around in static cash. Also, even if the stock does depreciate, you have more stock as a basis to start buying back into the newly stable stock.

Happy hunting sharks!
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Philip Thomas
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Good advice. The 5 stocks a turn limit is also an important consideration. For example, you should have stock in all 4 companies as mentioned above. But consider only putting 5 stock in a company your opponents have bought heavily. That way you can sell up if you have a good chance of lowering the stock value (that is, placement in 2 different regions will cause stock loss). Its always unpleasant to have to sell stock during a price loss...
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