I arrived my usual half-hour late to game night, and there were 6 people around the table just starting to set up this quaint old game that looked like it was from the 1980's. Inwardly, I groaned because this group often plays a strange old chestnut as the opener. But Alfonzo was so enthusiastic in his explanation, that I kept my reservations to myself. In fact he was so enthused about introducing this game to the group, that he gave up his seat to me, and he acted as the facilitator.
Others have explained the mechanics for this 1991 release by Hexagames, so I'll just dive right into the session report.
Red set her opening sales target way too high, so didn't make a sale the first turn. I was middle of the pack, so with my profit and selling a couple of my own shares, was able to buy a "machine" to automate and reduce my unit cost.
Next turn, the same thing happened, leaving me with only one share. On the third turn, I looked around the table and realized that I was in the top 30 percentile machine-wise, so I bought stock in Red instead of another machine. Unfortunately, Red stock never really recovered, so that investment held me back, and I got a bit behind in machines.
But my bluffing ability was holding me in good stead, so my sales income kept me in the running.
At this point, the excitement of seeing my stock price edge up was really getting to me. Perhaps recalling my brief ill-fated time doing day-trading in the late 1990's.
Back to the game, I really regretted having sold my own stock so cheaply early on. I sold Red at a slight profit and bought into the second-lowest, Yellow, employing a "value strategy." But the next turn I liquidated all my stock and bought enough robots to make it a 3-way tie for top position.
I continued to luck out in the price bluffing, so accumulated enough income to pull ahead in factory machines. At this point, being the efficiency leader, I started to sell low (but not too low since we were playing the wise variant) but just enough to inch my way up to a ninth robot. Purple was in second place, but this turn he'd sold hi, so with his revenue, bought an eighth robot.
Smugly, I bid low again, feeling secure in taking the slow, steady route to victory. But this time, Purple sold ALL HIS MACHINES back to the bank!!! He then used the money to buy 5 of his own shares at $9,000 a piece. I was totally flumoxed here. Since we were playing the wise variant, and he was now the least-efficient player at $5,000 unit cost, the new minimum sale price was $4,000.
This still represented a tidy profit for me, since I was uber-efficient at only $500 unit cost. So I bid the minimum, with an uncomfortable feeling that even though it would be enough to buy the tenth game-ending robot, that somehow purple was in control here.
Sure enough, he sold at $5,000 which pegged his stock price to $10,000 and allowed him to liquidate all his shares and he BOUGHT 10 ROBOTS and had several thousand more to spare, winning the game by a nose!
I was fairly out-bluffed and high-fived him. Good game!
Even 2nd-place made me feel pretty proud, because most of the people at the table had trounced me at Railroad Tycoon the week before, so this showed them I was not a total lamer.