Index | 18XX
| CRISIS - PICTURES
- PURCHASE - STRATEGY
A game topic is what you see on the playing material's surface and
find in the rules' terminology. In Crisis this is business and railroading.
Tactics relies on playing material and rules. Tactics so complex and advanced
that it cannot be completely calculated any longer is called strategy.
Nevertheless, players want to plan their strategy. A thematic language
eases such planning because thoughts are expressed handily in terms of
familiar topics. We call such analogies for handling complexity thematic
strategy. A game with great complexity and consistent design has the
possibility of creating developments so dominant that no strategy should
ignore them. Such a development shall be called strategic topic.
The game Crisis has two significant strategic topics - tycoons and crises!
Players behaving like ordinary shareholders will have a hard time beating
players that are ruthless tycoons. Directors expecting a boom following
a recession will lose control when a crisis occurs. In other words, most
strategy should be subordinated to the strategic topics. Some thematic
Price protection: Elementary level. Use the anti-syndicate
law of restricted cross-control to protect a share price of your company
early in the game. Invoke maximally allowed cross-control with a player.
Thereby he cannot repetitively drop your company's stock price without
selling good shares in third companies.
Nationalization: Elementary level. Do you want to control
100% in your company? Since you may hold at most 60% in it, you must distribute
at least 40% among your other companies. The peaceful investor is director
of two companies of which each has 40% to 60% in the other company while
he owns the remaining shares. To get them all, start one of these companies
as a daughter, threaten other shareholders by depleting assets, and collect
what they abandon. An early bankruptcy is your risk but thereafter your
opponents cannot drop your prices any longer.
Printing money: Intermediate level. Open a subsidiary company,
deplete all its cash in exchange for a worthless train, and dump all shares
in it but 20%, which are written off, to the bank. E.g. an initial price
$100 puts $600 in a concave daughter, gets $600 back in exhange for a rusting
train, and creates ca. $400 net win from selling 40% shares soon. Do not
waste time by using this strategy if you need to survive the next train
rush or to let your company help you float another good company quickly
or if attractive shares are available.
Washing money: Advanced level. Do you believe that the same
round rules prohibit washing money, i.e. shifting back and forth the same
money repetitively? They do not - they only restrict it. You need to think
ahead, recycle shares with a two rounds rhythm, and use structure purchases
excessively. The order of turns of your companies and yourself is as decisive
as the structure of your company hierarchy. Grey market prices assist you,
however, stock markers should also have similar prices. You might be clueless
unless you have some intention and desire to wash money. Which? It can
reduce the capital burden on average or lead dividends to the right place.
E.g. suppose you have a company A and a daughter B, both with a stock price
$1 (bottom row), A has 60% foreign shares, B has 0%. A withholds going
to the stock market field $0 while B buys the 60% foreign shares from A,
issues a dividend, and goes to $3. During the next round B withholds and
moves to $1; then A buys the same 60% from B, pays a dividend, and is placed
below B in the $1 field. What happens in the following round? Unfortunately,
B, the company without sufficient capital, operates first. It buys the
60% foreign shares from A. Now A may not buy back them immediately. As
the director you can allow A to get shares from you temporarily. A different
option is timely restructuring of your hierarchy. This is less difficult
if A and B have 40% or 60%, respectively, shares in each other. Then 60%
can be reduced to 20% by parking them in the bank and obtaining them as
a player right afterwards. However, if you want to continue washing, then
your strategic plans must be worked out more precisely. Being a criminal
is not illegal but hard work...
Real World's Business Wisdom
As a game Crisis is not too realistic in reflecting the real world. However,
it simulates and teaches business mechanisms like a stock market. Hence
wisdom can be applied:
In a boom pay dividends. Otherwise a sudden game end leaves you with worthless
In a recession withhold. Otherwise you will be thrown to the street in
the next boom.
Trading a moment too late is desastrous. Trading too early is inefficient.
Money is worth nothing unless it is well invested.
Important decisions must be quick and correct while long term planning
cannot be neglected.
If something cannot be achieved, dictate a balance in that nobody makes
Much control means much influence, too much control creates a burden.
With unfavourable circumstances patiently wait for your chance to improve
Do not waste great financial power.
Let your strategies fit your risk.
Financing 5-, E4-, E5-, or E6-trains requires careful planning. The most
important ways of financing a train are as follows:
Spending Cash: Simply using cash without any planning works for
2- or 3-trains. For a 4-train a convex / concave company must be floated
at least at $80 / $60.
Withholding: With a reasonable income withholding once or a few
times is a rather safe method of financing a later train. A company must
start withholding early enough if the player controlling it shall not become
bankrupt. For safety one should predict when trains will be scrapped.
Structure Purchase: If the hierarchy allows it and if another company
in it has too many trains or can be sacrificed, then a train can be acquired
using a structure purchase.
Depleting Company: Using structure purchases other companies can
be sacrificed by depleting their cash and accumulating it in the company
to purchase a train. In particular a deep, linear hierarchy of companies
can be wound up systematically.
Cheaper Shares: Sell expensive shares and buy cheap shares.
Dividends: Let a company receive high dividends.
Order of Turns: Changing the order of turns might also change distribution
of trains. A cheaper, a next generation's, or a permanent train might be
attractive, depending on circumstances.
Printing Money: Using the thematic strategy of printing money an
early train might be financed quickly enough. For later trains this strategy
would only provide assistance.
Reinvestment: Sell shares in the company needing a train in time.
If it should be necessary and does not invoke supports, write off 20%.
If possible, surprise an opponent with a director certificate. Open a new
company with sufficiently much money for a fresh train instead. Provide
it with a good starting network.
Foregoing Train Requirement: A convex company without any station
token or a concave company without any route including two stations does
not need any train and can be depleted mercilessly.
Recycled Train: If some companies need not have income, then recycle
a train mong them using structure purchases.
Floating Assistant: Using forced purchases or letting more than
one entity invest in a new company it can be floated quickly and receive
sufficient initial money for the next train. Then either the new company
replaces the old one or the latter buys the new train while the former
is abandoned as quickly as it has been floated.
Supports from One Entity: A company can also let its major shareholder
pay for or donate it at least one train. This can be a fast way of financing
but requires careful planning so that the right entities sufficiently support
the right amounts and types of money or assets. Normally, only the director
supports. This is expensive but well predictable.
Advanced Methods: Supports from more than one entity or combinations
of different types of financing might succeed in confusing opponents or
oneself. In particular partially prohibited supports, altered company hierarchies,
new support directions, or a new order of turns due to structure purchases,
forced contributions, or forced surrenders increase complexity.
2001-08-24 first day, Robert