Stock Market Game

So, this is just an idea. The idea is that you've got a typical scoring track, like a normal game, and the player that has the most points at the end of the game wins.

The problem is that points are also the currency of the game.

So, on your turn one of your potential actions is to take some points from your pool, and convert it into movement on the track, but if you put all your points into that, then you can't buy stuff. If you never put points into there, then you can never win because you have no points at the end of the game.

Also, certain events in the game will refer to placement, like "The first player moves back 2 points" or something. I'm thinking also that you can turn position back into points, but as a loss. That way, if you suddenly need some money for something you can lose points, but it's not as good as if you just kept the points around.

Actually, I'm thinking this could be a not bad Economics game. Your scoring points would be capital, and your useful points would be liquidity.

So, if the game ends and you have 0 capital, then you lose, but if you never have any liquidity then you can't buy new assets because all of your money is tied up.

I've sorta wanted to make a market game anyway, this could be part of that... Anyway, cool.

Also, I'm thinking, that play order goes in reverse capital order, so the player with the most capital goes last. But, obviously, if the game were to end, then they'd win.

Working on the stock market concept, I think I'd want to do commodity stuff. And then some combination of cards and prisoner's dilema stuff would dictate the market. So, maybe everyone keeps their stocks secret, and the price goes up over time. When someone sells something, though, then the price goes down.

So, if everyone has corn, they don't know that everyone else has corn. The price of corn goes up every turn, but as soon as the first person puts down corn, they get the money, and the price drops for everyone else. So, that way if everyone holds out things go up, but like a dutch auction, the first person to break gets the payout.

Then, random stuff can come up on the cards like "Warm Summer, Corn and Wheat +2.5, Stone -0.9" or something. One is probably market crash, which is "Everything down to 1.0" or something. There could be a bunch of cards, like, 300, but each game is only played until the deck is empty, so a normal game might be 70 cards. That way you never know which ones are in your little period, and you can play for as long or short as you like.

Then there might be other stuff. There might be special Insider Trading cards you can buy. They give you the ability to hold them in your hand and play them when it's most advantageous to you. So, if you're holding a card that says "Corn -3.4", then you can hold on to it, cash out on corn, then play that card to further damage the price. Or, if it said "Corn +2.7", you can play that, then cash out on your turn.

Maybe one of the cards is "audit" or something, and anyone who has an insider trading card when that comes up has to pay a fine with their liquidity. Maybe one for each card they have. Or, it could be a counter card, and you play audit against them. So, they play their card and you say "Actually, audit", which causes them a fine and loses them their turn. Or something.

Anyway. Just for kicks, I think I'd put in bonds, which you can buy and aren't affected by anyone else, and do go up in value, but do tie up your stuff. And maybe shorts, because they're cool. That'd make it profitable to know have the "Corn -3.4" directly, and to hope that someone else will drop corn. I don't really know the best way to do that though...

Maybe the best thing to do is to have it, and bonds, just in the face down pile in the middle that you can purchase from. Then each player looks at the pile, but they don't know what was there before, and picks something to maybe buy. If they buy something, they blindly replenish it.

So, you buy it, and park your points in there. So, the card might say "Up to 7 shares, at 10/share, in Corn". Then you put it face down in your collection, with 60 points on it.

Later, you can reveal it and say "A ha! The price is currently 14/share, which means I get these 60 points back, and another 24!" So, since in my model the purchase price is always on the card, but the sell price is set by the market, sometimes it might be useful to just see a great deal and turn it around immediately. That's like Arbitration.

Bounds you park money in, and they last a certain length of time, but then they pay out obviously. Like, 4/share. In 2 turns, sell for 8/share.

Shorts are things that, rather than saying "Up to 7 shares, at 10/share, in Corn" say "Up to 7 shares, at market value in two turns, in Corn. Sell at 10/share" So, in that case you hope that the price of corn will drop in the next two turns, to be below 10, so when it matures, you can make the difference.

I'm not sure how secret to be. I need to stop people from cheating, at least a little bit.

So, shorts and bonds mature. So, I'm thinking there'd be markers for that, so when you put the card into your portfolio, you would place two markers on it. Then, every turn, you remove markers from it until it matures, when you must play it.

Stocks, you play them, and put your money into them. Then, you may play them at any time, and when you do the money goes to the bank, and you get back the value. So, for example, if you buy at 10/stock, and want 4 shares, then you put the card facedown in your portfolio and put 40 points on top of it. Then, when you want to sell, you turn the card faceup to show everyone and show everyone that you had 40 points at 10/stock, so you have 4. Then you compute the current value, so if the current value is at 12, then you get back your original 40, plus an additional 8. If, though, you're forced to liquidate, and the price is only at 8, then you only get back 32, and 8 of your payment returns to the bank.

Bonds mature, but you put money on them, so they are stocks that mature.

Shorts mature, but you don't put money on them.

I'm not sure I want people knowing what you've got, though.

Also, the game might quickly turn into "Wait until you find low hanging fruit, then take it". Maybe stocks also mature. And all longs can be shorts. So, the card might say "Up to 8 shares, Corn, matures in 3 turns, 10/share" Then you can either put money on it, making it a long, or not, making it a short. That way no one knows which card you picked, they just know that you'd shorting something. Bonds, then, look just like longs, they're just not in a commodity.

Then there's the question of whether or not stocks should go up over time alone, or just in response to cards. Then the cards could be made to, across the whole deck, average out. On any individual game, built out of a shorter subset of the cards, individual stuff could go way up or way down. It's random, though, so mostly gambling. Is this game too random? Also, when people drop their thing, the price goes down, but if it's just static, then the game can't know that, and it'll never really recover. It'll just drift downwards.

I think I've now boiled it down to the point where there's no real strategy, and no market, and it's just gambling on cards. Fuck.

I'll rethink this.

What It's Become

I've been thinking about it. It's very different now.

In this game there are N players. Each player has a hand of instruments, which are stocks, bonds, and assets. They also have a hand of trends. On the board is a chart of value for each of 6 companies on the market, each set at some starting value.

At the beginning, each player is given some number of points as their initial liquidity. This is a pool they may use to buy instruments, which should make them more money.

The first stage of each turn is to distribute trends. From the deck of trends, 2*N cards are drawn off the top. Each player, in turn, from lowest liquidity to highest, picks one card to put in their hand, and one to discard. Then they pass it to the next player, along with another card from the top of the deck.

This means that, for 5 players, the first player has 10 to choose from, the next has 9, the next has 8, and the last has 5, but the each player has the possiblility to stop the next player from getting something good. Maybe something good replaced it from the top of the deck, maybe not. Now each player has a new trend in their hand.

Next, the same thing is done with the instruments deck, this time from lowest cumulative asset value to highest. Each player should have a new instrument in their hand.

In the next phase, each player may buy instruments from their hand, and put them into their portfolio (on the table).

Unlike assets, while the amount of money you have tied up in the active stocks and bonds in your portfolio are public, as is the timing of when your stocks will mature, etc, the actual terms of those instruments are not. Other players cannot tell if a given facedown instrument is a stock or a bond, and if it's a stock they can't tell for sure which company it's in.

Players may, on their turn, pruchase as many stocks or bonds as they can afford, but may only purchase one asset per turn.

In the next phase, the market moves. Each player chooses, in secret, one of their trends from their hand. They each put their facedown trend in the middle, and when everyone has chosen, they are all turned faceup and go into effect. Example trends:

Trends are given maturity tokens based on the number of turns they take effect for, and are placed into the active market area with the other trends. Now each trend is taken into consideration and the net change for each company is instituted. If those examples were the only examples, then this turn A's value is decreased by 4, B goes down by 2, C is unchanged, and D goes up by 6. Every trend has one maturity token removed from it, and any that are out of tokens are discarded.

Next, each player's instruments have a maturity token removed from it. Any that come mature are dealt with, then discarded.

At this point the next turn begins.

I say that if a stock's value drops to, or below, 0, then there's a reissue. In this case all trends on that stock are discarded, and each player must discard any stocks associated with that company from their active portfolio. Any value locked up in those stocks are lost.

If two or more stocks are reissued on the same turn, then there's a market crash. All stocks are reissued.

The last bit is loans. They're mostly a mechanic to allow players to get through some tough times. A player may, at any point, liquidate one of their assets by discarding it and getting back 90% of its value. (It might actually be easier to give them back 100%, and having to lose it from your hand and lose the time you spent building it might be enough to stop people thrashing it) If that's insufficient, though, to make a payment, then there are also loans.

These are like the opposite of a bond. They are not in the instruments pile, and they don't need to be played from the hand. Any player may take a loan at any time.

The loan just says "Collect 200 points from the bank. Matures in 3 turns. Pay back 250 points." or something. So, if you need a little more liquidity now, but you're pretty sure you'll have enough to pay it back in 3 turns, you can take the loan. It goes faceup in your portfolio and has the right number of maturity tokens on it. When it matures, like any other instrument, you pay back the number of points it says on the card.

I think that a player can never fully lose, because they can always take a loan to pay off another loan, but at some point they get in way over their head. The games probably aren't long enough for that to matter, though.

The game ends after a set number of turns, and the players are ranked buy the total value of their assets alone. At the end of the game, none of your stocks or liquidity are important.