# Modeling market fluxuations in a trading game.

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JonnyRotten
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Joined: 05/04/2009

I'm working on a concept for a game similar in some aspects to Drug Wars or Space Trader.

I'm trying to emulate the varying prices in a set amount of products as a player goes from Place A to Place B.

What I came up with so far:

All products have a base price. I'll just use two for now:

Food - 5
Water - 7

When you arrived at a location, you would roll a d8 for each item, and it would determine the current price, using a table like the attached.

So a player goes to Place A and rolls a d8 for each product.
Food -> 3 so it would cost 6 to buy and 3 to sell.
Water ->7 so it would cost 28 to buy and 14 to sell

They buy 5 units of water @ 6 apiece and move to Place B. Rolling d8 for each product
Food -> 4 so it would cost 8 to buy and 4 to sell. Unfortunatly no profit to be made here.
Water -> 3 so it would cost 10 to buy and 5 to sell.

Then on to Place C. Same process
Food -> 8 so it would cost 30 to buy and 15 to sell.
Water -> 5 so it would cost 14 to buy and 7 to sell.

They then sell all 5 units for 75, making 45 profit.

Does this seem overly clunky? I know it would be a lot of rolling.
The only way I can think to stream line it, is to make the chart only feature the Selling Price, and the rule would be the buying price is always double the selling price.

Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly welcome!

The Game Crafter
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Joined: 06/09/2009
options

You could create an index board/card/doc where all the prices are listed. Then you could either roll a die to determine the current location on the index, or just have market fluctuations built into other game components (cards). If it's a board, then you could have a pawn on the board that slides along with changes. That way the changes to the market would act based upon previous levels. That would make it more realistic.

Or you could just roll once per round, rather than once per player/resource. That would reduce the number of dice rolls.

JonnyRotten
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Joined: 05/04/2009
Re: Options

The pawn idea would work really well if it was board based. No cards being used either.
This game is going to be VERY light on pieces, so maybe I could have some other way for them to mark the current selling price.
I guess it would be 5-6 quick rolls each time they went to a new location, and it will be a solo game, so waiting for another player shouldn't be a problem.

We'll say for the sake of an example, (since I haven't fully decided on a theme) that this will take place in the wild west, so transporting goods could take some time, so there could be considerable economic fluctuations between rounds.

I guess if it was once per round, would a more random table work better.
In the example I attached to the first post, it ascends from left to right. Maybe if I shuffled the values around, they could roll once and some would be high, some would be low, some would be the same.

bluepantherllc
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Joined: 07/29/2008
Market fluctuation

You could look at Silverton - sounds similar to what you're outlining here, but it 's skewed towards overall price rises as the game goes on.

bluepantherllc
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Joined: 07/29/2008
Market fluctuation

You could look at Silverton - sounds similar to what you're outlining here, but it 's skewed towards overall price rises as the game goes on.

SiddGames
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Joined: 08/02/2008
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I agree the game would feel more realistic to me if prices changed slower and/or in a more predictable way, regardless of theme. If it was truly random if prices went up or down as I traveled, I'd be tempted to simply not bother buying/selling goods at all and just carry my money with me from town to town, heh.

Maybe you can dispense with a table altogether. Just use a die to show the current price. When you arrive at a new location, roll another die. If roll > current price, price goes up. If roll < current price, price goes down. If you want a little more volatility, then rolling a 1 always makes the price drop by 2 or 3 instead of 1, and the opposite for rolling an 8. Very simple; it makes it harder for prices to go very high or very low as it will tend toward the middle. Then as you said, just make the current price the buy or sell, and the other price would always be a fixed offset from that.

JonnyRotten
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Joined: 05/04/2009
Someone on BGG just suggested

Someone on BGG just suggested that as well, I've added it to my list of stuff to research.
I think I've simplified it somewhat by only showing the selling prices on the chart, then making the price to buy allways double the sell price.
Here are a couple other ideas I had:

What if prices did not flux every time you visited a place? What if say every 5 (or some other number) turns all current prices and events (events would affect the prices on a per place basis, but are only rolled once) expired. So you could travel back and to a place with low prices for a limited time as long as you were close enough. I think this may add a tactical aspect to the game, "Oh man, I was just at a place that was buying food for 30 per unit, do I have time to get back there from this place that is selling it at 6 Per unit?". If something delays them, then the market could be changed by the time they get there.

How should Place size affect prices? Assuming 3 sizes (sm, med, large) would prices be greater in a small place, but perhaps less of a resource could be bought or sold in a small area, because of the limited market size?

How should the type of place affect the prices of goods? Would a resort city perhaps not sell 1 thing, but another thing may be cheaper?

JonnyRotten
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Joined: 05/04/2009
Trending

I played with a very similar mechanic early on, and I couldn't really get the profit curve I'm looking for, and it made it a bit too easy to "game the system".
I guess lets say Place A is on the far left of the map and Place Z is on the far right. Last time I was at place Z, Food sold for 20 (which could be because I just traveled back and forth between it and the closest place over and over again until one product got expensive. I could then leave there, go to place A and repeat the process until the same product became low. And then buy a bunch of it there, and go back to Place Z, knowing when I get there, it will only possibly fall 1 point.

Hmmm. the simple up or down does seem easier though.