7 GAME START & END7.1  Gamestart  With your gamestart application you should say whether you wish to be a Trader or a Tycoon, and choose a name for your player company. The GM will select a three letter code used to identify you (your company) in orders. Suggestions are welcome but may need to be changed as each code must be unique in each game. Always use these codes (which are listed in the roundup in every game report) to specify other players/companies in your orders.
7.2  Dummies & Dropouts  Some player companies may be run by "dummy" players (with the computer writing the orders). Players who drop out may be replaced, or their companies may be run by the computer the same way. The activities of the dummy and dropout players are an integral part of the game.
7.3  Freemailers  If you play a Trader position and play entirely by email (that is, you input your orders on the website and receive your game reports by email) then you have the option of playing for free, as a "freemailer". Visit the sidetracks website for more details and for how to apply.
If you're playing a Trader position you always have the option of converting to a Tycoon position, using the TYCOON action (see 6.25) but this means you're no longer eligible to play as a freemailer and must pay for turns as normal. There's no option to change back, because it's easier to make lots of money as a Tycoon (so the Top Trader would always be someone that had been a Tycoon and swapped over near the end of the game).
7.4  Initial Shares  At the start of the game the player company of each Tycoon owns 25 shares in one operating company and is the MD of that company. This will be the only shareholding in the company.
Initial share prices are 100 and initial commodity prices are as given in the prices table (see references section). Each company has an asset value of 10,000. Each operating company has enough plant allocated to produce one batch in each production line with a staff level to match, enough raw materials in stock to produce two batches in each, and enough stores capacity to store everything twice over (including the stuff to be produced).
7.5  Preferences  When you join the game as a Tycoon you should give preferences for the operating company you hold at the start. These are allocated on a first-come first-served basis. If you don't give enough preferences then an allocation will be made for you when the game is ready to start.
7.6  Winning  The game ends if any player has a score (asset value) of one million or more, or if any player has a score greater than the scores of all the other players added together (a percentage score of 50% or more).
There are two winners in each game. The Top Tycoon is the tycoon with the highest score. The Top Trader is the trader with the highest score when the game ends.
7.6  Short Games  Where a short game (around fifteen turns) is required the winning target is modified to be a score of 100,000 or a percentage score of 30% or more.
At the start say :-
Tycoon or Trader.
Decide your company name.
For a Tycoon, give of preference list for your first operating company.