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Steam Barons» Forums » General

Subject: thoughts and variants after first play rss

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Jason Begy
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I study games and gamers at the Technoculture, Art and Games research centre at Concordia University, Montreal.
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Last night I finally had a chance to play this. I really enjoy both AoS and Steam, and as an 18xx fan I've been really wanting to play Steam Barons.

We played a 3p game, everyone was familiar with 18xx and Steam, but one person wasn't much of an 18xx fan.

We had also done some reading about the game, and one of the other players said he had played it when it came out but really hated the random turn order rule.

So before playing we decided to do the "randomize two groups of 3" for turn order (based on last turn's performance, not stock price). We also swapped phases 5 and 7, so share selling was the very last thing that happened in a round. This way you knew the turn order and could see what might be happening.

Given that this was my first play I don't have much to compare it to but I did really enjoy it. Rather than finding it "too dry," I found that there was so much going on in the game that it was difficult to plan too perfectly anyway. This was probably helped by the fact that we opened all 6 companies immediately.

In particular the "stacks" rule is difficult enough to predict that it feels like it adds some randomness. You can say "oh I think this company will or will not do well," but what is the stock price going to do? Certainly up is up, but +1 is pretty different from +5.

That said, with experience you can probably get a lot better at understanding this aspect.

One thing we didn't like was the fact that companies kept operating even if nobody owned shares in them. We definitely used these companies "paris connection" style to make dumb moves, block routes, and generally be annoying. Next time I play I will try it where companies that have no shareholders stay on the board (their track is not abandoned) but they do not operate. I'm not sure which I will like better: it felt stupid to be running companies like an idiot, but it was also pretty funny.

Overall though I really enjoyed the game, and I am hoping I can get it to the table again soon.

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Rusty Patterson
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Jasonbartfast wrote:
One thing we didn't like was the fact that companies kept operating even if nobody owned shares in them. We definitely used these companies "paris connection" style to make dumb moves, block routes, and generally be annoying. Next time I play I will try it where companies that have no shareholders stay on the board (their track is not abandoned) but they do not operate. I'm not sure which I will like better: it felt stupid to be running companies like an idiot, but it was also pretty funny.


Why didn't the companies with no shareholders go bankrupt? This would have been perfectly thematic representing companies with inept management or management by committee. Perhaps those companies stayed on the board too long because you moved the sell shares phase after the bankruptcy phase?

Just a thought.

And what do you mean "randomize 2 groups of 3?" Does that mean the companies that had no shareholders and therefore performed poorly on the previous turn always went after the better performing companies in turn order?

 
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Angus G
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RustyInRT wrote:

Why didn't the companies with no shareholders go bankrupt? This would have been perfectly thematic representing companies with inept management or management by committee. Perhaps those companies stayed on the board too long because you moved the sell shares phase after the bankruptcy phase?

Just a thought.


We played for the first time last night and it looks like it's surprisingly difficult for a company to go bankrupt if it's seen any success earlier on in the game. There are only 5 turns, and it will take a company with share price $3 three full turns to go bankrupt provided it is the worst.
Turn 1: Since share price is $3, it automatically gets bumped up to $4. Then if there are 6 stacks and it was the lowest, the new stock price will be $1.
Turn 2: Since the share price is $1, it automatically gets bumped up to $3. Then if there are 6 stacks and it was the lowest, the new stock price will still be $0 (not yet bankrupt).

This means a company starting at $5 would need 4 turns to go bankrupt, and even then, only if it performs really, really badly.


... though we may have gotten something wrong
 
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Michael D. Kelley
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You played wrong, sorry to say. The bumps you are calling "automatic" only take place if the company is ALREADY gaining share value due to its position in the stacks. So if it is losing $3, it loses $3, end of story.

Similarly, companies with high valued shares only lose value from the bump if they are already losing share value or staying the same. If they gain share value, the negative bump is ignored.
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Angus G
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Just checked the rules, and you are absolutely right. I never noticed that before. I always thought the adjustments were unconditional. I'm going to have to try this again with the correct rules. Thanks for pointing this out!
 
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