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COMMODITIES MARKET

Commodities are also traded direct between the companies on the open market, with priorities decided by the prices offered by the buyers and sellers. Prices change with supply and demand as well as bid prices. Consumer demand varies with the economy and works through the market in the normal way.
Companies buy and sell commodities by setting the stock levels they want to maintain and the prices they're willing to trade at. Each turn the company tries to buy or sell to bring their actual stocks to the level ordered.
You can also import commodities from outside the market. Imports cost extra to set up and the prices are fixed (they don't rise and fall with market prices). Exports can be used to sell commodities outside the market in the same way (with the same extra costs).
Each commodity has a production cost, which is the wages of the staff that operate the production line. Companies can recruit permanent staff, who are cheaper but need to be paid whether you've got work for them or not.
Any companies can trade any commodity they hold direct to another company (these are called "gives" and "gets" as these are the actions ordered by the two companies and matched in order to make the trade). These are critical to setting up a reliable network of suppliers and trading partners.

TURNSHEETS

Turnsheets (instructions for the turn) can be posted or faxed or sent by email through our website at www.softsim.co.uk. We can also send your game report by email, in which case it could be in your hands within minutes of the game being run.

GAMES AND TURNFEES

You start by waiting for a new game, or by taking over an existing "standby" position where the previous player has dropped out. You may have to wait a while for a new game to start, but standby positions and "short handed" games are normally available very quickly. One option is to take one of these to learn your way around while you wait for the list to fill. Once started, games normally run with two-weekly deadlines (fourteen days between turns).
Turnfees are 2.50 for one, 10.00 for four, 20.00 for ten or 36.00 for twenty. We welcome players from outside the UK. We charge extra for overseas postage, but not for turns sent by email.

FREEMAILERS

Alternatively, if you play as a Trader and entirely by email, then you can play Speculate as a "Freemailer", entirely for free. Visit our website at
www.sidetracks.co.uk for more details.

NEW IN THIS VERSION

This version is a complete rewrite of the game and software. It's based on Speculate I, and at first sight it will look quite similar, but it works in completely different ways. We think it should work a lot better, and be a lot more responsive. We've added lots of responses that tell you why things happened as they did, rather than expecting you to guess.

The game is a lot bigger. We've expanded it from fifteen companies to forty. Thirty of the companies can deal in shares (previously there were ten) and thirty can deal in commodities (up from fifteen). Twenty-five have shares that can be traded (instead of fifteen).

The trading companies are the same fifteen as in the old version, but in this game they can also buy and sell shares. The same limit on buying shares applies (twenty per company per turn) so the more companies you control the greater your buying power on the stock market.

Competing bids are resolved by price, which you decide for yourself. Trades are direct between buyers and sellers instead of being limited by the contents of the market pool or the expected demand in the market simulation.

An essential change in this version is in the order things happen in the turn. The buys and sells of commodities are done together, late in the turn after production. If you're going to obtain your supplies on the open market then you need to do so the turn before you need them.

That's important, so the point in the sequence where you get to stare at your game report and decide what to do is after the most critical and variable part of the process.

In this version, when you don't get what you want from the commodities market, as you often don't, you get to do something about it (because gives and gets, and imports, are still at the start if the turn order). In the old version you'd see the rest of your turn in chaos and your production disrupted due to the lack of supplies.

Under the new system you can search for alternative supplies from other companies, and talk to other players to see if they've got some to spare. If that fails, then you can still get what you need (expensively) from imports.

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