18xx with Ambie: Stock Markets

June 25, 2019

18xx with Ambie is Ambie's video series about 18xx board games featured on The Dice Tower's YouTube channel.

In this video, Ambie talks about some of the different stock markets in 18xx games.

Hi! I’m Ambie, and this is my video series about 18xx games. If you’re not sure what 18xx games are, check out my 18xx intro video. In this video, I’m going to talk about the stock markets.

In 18xx games, the end scores are your cash value plus your stock value, and the stock value can be worth a lot more than your cash value. In some of the games I've played, the stock value has been almost twice as much as the cash! So having good end game shares is very important to having a good overall score.

When you start getting more into specific 18xx titles, it can be really helpful to look at the stock market to see what the implications of changing stock price are. There are many different types of stock markets in 18xx games, and the differences in the stock markets can change the game a lot! For example, in 1880: China, there’s a period of time where the stock prices don’t move at all no matter what the corporation does, so you can do anything without repercussions! And in 1870 there’s price protection, so you can buy back shares that other players sell in order to make sure your stock price doesn’t fall.

In general, there are two main types of stock markets in 18xx games - 1 dimensional and 2 dimensional. A lot of the games I play are 2D stock markets, so I'm more familiar with them and most of my examples here will be 2D. Some main differences between 1D and 2D markets are that in 2D markets, many times there is a floor that limits how much your stock price can fall, but that doesn't usually exist in 1D markets. Because of this ledge, it can also take a lot of steps for stock prices to move up in 2D markets. Conversely, in the games I've played with 1D markets, the stocks can fall a lot at once and also rise up a lot at once. For example, in 1817, if you pay dividends that are more than four times your stock price, your stock price jumps up 4 steps!

One thing that's important to look at in stock markets is the distribution of the numbers and where there is good stock appreciation. For example, in 1830, the stock appreciation near where you start a corporation isn’t high, but as the corporations get to the upper right of the stock market, just moving one step to the right will increase the stock price a lot, so it's really good to pay dividends and make sure your company can get to that point. Conversely, in 1849, the percentage increase in value is a lot higher in the lower parts of the stock market, so you might want to issue shares to get your company down to the low stock prices early on and take advantage of that stock appreciation.

Another thing that will impact your stock value at the end is how many shares you hold. Many 18xx games have limits on the number of certificates you can have, so it's important for you to maximize the amount of good shares you have given that limit. At the beginning of the game, people will not be reaching certificate limits, but as the game goes on and everyone gets a lot of money and shares, the certificate limits become really important. Individual shares can be worth $300 or $400, so having just one extra 10% than another player can put you ahead of them! The interesting thing about certificate limit is that it limits the number of paper pieces you have, not the percentage of shares you have. This makes certificates like the President's shares, that are worth 20% or more, very valuable since they're double the worth for the same amount of paper.

Another thing you can do in some games to circumvent the certificate limit is to have shares in the lower left colored zones of the stock market. In some games like 1830, these zones change the rules of stock holding for any company that is there. Here in the yellow zone, your shares won't count against your certificate limit, so if you have a corporation in that zone, it's basically free extra shares above your normal limit! This can be really powerful in games where the certificate limit is a lot lower than the amount of available shares, since if you have a few companies in the yellow, you can get 10 to 20 extra shares! Even though these shares aren't worth much individually, they can still pay out dividends and they’re better than no appreciation, and having a lot of them multiplies the extra amount you get by that much more.

Thanks for watching 18xx With Ambie! You can email me at ambie@dicetower.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future videos!
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