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outofmage

I have trouble claiming gold on MadKing

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I recently played a map in Platinum Edition which is called Mad King. It's a pretty interesting map, the only requirement for gold is to be the only  company left. You were given a company at the beginning and are forced to be stick on that one, and the initial personal cash is huge. Since computers have equal amount of cash, they buy up their stocks quickly and that means they will get a lot of money after you merge them. The  most ANNOYING part is they will keep restarting empty companies after you merge one, and I can't win gold. Any suggestions?

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On a map I was playing last night,  I took control of an AI RR when I couldn't meet the merge costs.  I stopped all of it's trains.  

Then,  I built a large station next to  each of the AI stations and hauled away it' cargo to keep its chairman from buying more locos.

When I merged the RR I didn't want him to be able to build another RR.

 

The AI didn't buy more locos and started a steep decline.  When is was broke enough and couldn't build another RR, I merged it.

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Thank you for your advice Gwizz. But this map doesn't allow resign,assign or be fired as chairman.

However, to destroy computers' companies don't require so much work. When you assign into a computer's company, just sell all your stock of this company then issue as much bonds as possible, then retire every train and bulldoze all the stations and tracks, waste all the cash and leave. Since the stock is over sold, computer players will flow in this stock and end up bankrupt.

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The reason I only stopped the AI trains, were to cut off all the money supplied to him, yet save his locos for my use after I merge him.

I wanted to merge his railroad as it was very profitable and yet too expensive to merge.

 

But if you can't resign:

You can't leave your RR to stop the AI trains and destroy track and stations, etc.

But, as you state, you can play with his stock and still take a bite out of his revenue by building your own stations and track next to his.  

When my normal trackage is too far away, I will also build a small station close to my big station and drop ship his cargo and passengers there. 

I never travel on his track.  When possible I will buy 2 or 3 fast locos each waiting to hauling different cargoes and run them in a small loop so no train turns around.

If by chance there is a demand industry close by I will use it to increase my revenue a bit.   Of course single trackage is also cheaper.

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Although you can steal cargo from computers, but you can't BANKRUPT them, which means you will still have trouble dealing with new empty companies after you merge them.

 

In Mad King map, players start with a lot of cash, after some years, computers will buy up all the stock on the market, and their companies are quite rich with cash. Some computers will pay dividend which means even you destroy their companies, computer players will still have a lot to restart. Some computers don't pay dividend, then their company will be almost impossible to be destroyed even by blocking their track or stealing all their cargoes because the interest alone will keep him alive.

 

By the way I tend to destroy all their companies by bulldozing instead of merging because their track structure is so bad, high grade, a lot of turnings and oversea bridge for no appear reasons. The stations are poorly placed, some times only cover 70% of the whole city and you need to bulldoze to build a larger station. The only valuable assets are trains, however, I prefer electric locos and computers never buy one unless the map doesn't allow diesel or steam, and the locos alone will not be enough to cover the merging money. 

 

On Mad King, you can't build any track unconnected to YOUR company, and the computers and players start from different territories. It's kind of late when human players finally have access to computers' territories, no matter which strategy you choose, computers already have cash in their pockets, I suggest you play this map.

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I seldom play maps with no unconnected track, But I will give it a try.

 

By the way, I believe a merged RR becomes part of your RR,  Track, Locos, stations, cash and debt, etc. are all given to your RR.   

When I merge a RR, the costs I pay are normally  well below the value of what I received by merging.   There are exception when this is not true.  Then I just don't merge. 

 

Sometimes the AI will produce cargo that is before its' time, not dated as being in the game yet.   I used this in one of my maps where a player had to set the AI train to drop ship cargo.

I would then use my locos to pick up this pre-dated cargo and deliver it to a city for a good profit.

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Mind telling how you did it? Stock manipulation?

I am getting quite fond of stock manipulation. It makes me think I am in control of the stock market also. Pump and dump and endless short-selling are great strategies!

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MaglevForever, I like to play the stock market, if you also like manipulate stock market, I suggest you to play Mad King. This map is a great challenge for me. The gold requirement is simple: be the last company standing in 100 years, however, it's not as simple as I thought. This map is very big and profitable, but has a lot of restrictions. The most interesting thing is that players start with 370K cash which allow computers quickly buy all their stocks. This means you cannot short sell, since short selling means you have to borrow some from the market, but there will be no stocks available soon. Computers and human are separated with territory access events which means you cannot steal cargo or mess up computers' companies. Also, you can't resign or assign chairman, which means you can't take control of a computer and just destroy it.Ultimately, you can't even merge normally, because computers can restart empty companies with 100% control of them, that will prevent you from winning the gold.

 

My strategy is a bit like cheating, however, I can't find another way around.

First I take 100% control of my company, with a lot of cash in the pocket at the beginning, it's not hard. Then just develop my company quickly and become more rich than all the computers combined. At some point, my shares outstanding reaches 1600K, and I began to dump my stocks into the market, just a few sell can drive the price down like two thirds. Computers thought the stock was oversold and began to buy into my company, since the price is very attractive and I have so much more stock value than the buying power of computers, after a few months of dumping, they all leveraged to max. My company now became computers' company but still under my management. Next, I just retire all the engines, bulldoze all the stations, sell all industries and bulldoze most of the tracks. The book value suffers a great loss and the profit even hit less than -10,000K. No need to say, the stock price drops like crazy, when one computer got a phone call from his broker, he had to sell all this companies' stocks and drove the price even lower, this triggered another computer to bankrupt, like a financial crisis which eventually bankrupted all computer players. What's left is me, with a lot of cash from the dumping a few months ago, and a lot of cheap companies, since they were also forced to be dumped by computers' broker. I bought over 51% of every company including my initial company, and merge everyone at a ridiculously low price. Next is the sound of applause.

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Much applause, good work.

I just played through it as well. I feel that I must have completed the scenario recently before commenting.

My strategy was similar. I was able to manage to run an electric line to Hannum from the start. Then I bought heavily into the AI companies while maintaining a 50% share in mine. By the end of the third year I had majority ownership in all companies. Then I let the AI pay me dividends while I built up my rail network. I used all the dividend cash to buy back all the shares I could issue.

Then around year 20 I laid the bait, selling everything I could. I sold down to 1/3 of the original price and then the AI brought it back up for me to repeat. Then I stopped all my trains for 3 years. After merging, I was able to get down to two AI who would start new companies with a small ownership stake. I merged those, making sure to reduce their cash. They started two more, I merged again, and the gold was mine. I ended up with around 50 million cash at the end.

One thing I noticed with this map is boom times never seem to end. This is good, but it ensures a high share price for mergers. One trick is to try to get the AI to start companies late in the year. The absence of profit at year end will drive their new companies share prices down. I exploit the explosion in book value as the surest way to make money on the stock market. All good fun!

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I enjoy playing the Stock Market as well.    Yesterday I stopped my normal play style and didn't use the AI railroads except to gain control of them and have the AI send only basic cargo to my demand companies to keep AI profitable.   The map still lacks good balance and the method didn't work very well; as some the AIl trains got in my way and I was missing required Industry.  

 

Without controlling the AI stock, I wasn't able to merge the AIs as I normally do.   I will try your method of merging.  Some how it does not seem possible.

If the no merging restriction was removed by an event then it should be possible.  I've never used an event to do this. Should be interesting to try.

 

By the way II prefer the money I get by using the AI trains  deliver short line cargo to my railroad. 

When I don't play for a win, I will remove many restrictions from maps such as:  Connected track,  No merging,  anything that restricts the Stock Market.  

I often change the managers to those that give the best discounts, speeds and I also level the terrain by 50% or more, 

 

Your methods of manipulating the Stock Market to push the value of the AI stock to the edge of bankruptcy is interesting.  

I've never taken the methods that far.   It must require a very profitable Railroad to do it.  I seldom run a profitable Railroad, as I expand rail into debt too often. 

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MeglevForever, glad to hear you use the similar strategy too. I checked the map editor finding out that in 1965 04, there is an event to add 3 economy levels for 10 years, maybe that's your always-booming-feeling comes from. I finished this scenario in 1965, so I just missed that.

 

How much computer income modifier you were playing? I found that even the losing money computer company worth several millions dollars, the book value alone will prevent the stock from falling too low. That means after I merge them, they can restart a company with about 4,000K, and 100% control, they kept voting for disagree of my merging attempt. 100% failure feels hopeless.

 

By the way, I finished with 50 million cash too!

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Gwizz, I appreciate your patience trying to control the AI. They are really frustrating for me. I have given up on some maps where controlling a couple of companies is a requirement.

The Oodnadatta map was one. For me, I have enough work trying to control my own railroad.

outofmage, I finished around 1970, and, yes, I did see the event saying "boom times for the next 10 years." However, the computer didn't give me a medal until 1972. Did you have to wait until you got your medal?

I played with 270% difficulty. Expert models, 8 computer players, -25% human revenue, +25% computer revenue. I started slowly, using all electric track. After the original connection to Hannum, I only laid full-cost double electric track.

How many computer players did you have? How many companies did they start? On my map, the three richest AI's (starting with 900K, 1M, and 1.3M) didn't start companies. My stock was attractive enough that they invested in mine and other AIs. Maybe I need to replay when they all start companies. That would be a tougher task.

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MaglevForever, I noticed the rich computers just now. The first computer got 500K, no wonder they expand faster than usual.

 

My difficulty level was 270% too. I didn't wait years to get the gold. The event is checked at the end of the year, so I only waited for a few months.

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Did you notice that when you start in 1950 you have access rights in Island Nation? You lose them at the end of January that year.

Did you have some companies that started with chairmen having majority ownership? If so, extra applause for you.

Did you exploit the ports? I sure did.

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Meglev, yes one computer start with 75% ownership with his company. I remember his name was Hudson, end up with the richest guy after me before I bankrupted him.

 

I do noticed the weird behavior of the Island Nation. I checked the map editor and found out the map designer made two mistakes. His plan was to make the computers territories allowing everyone to access. Then use events to remove those territories' right of access from company Id = 5, that's the company we are given. There are 6 pieces of these kind of territories, which means 6 removing events, all of them are checked at the beginning of the month and were set as one time event, except for Island Nation (id is 3), it's checked at the end of the month. This means all the other territories will be removed access at the beginning of the game, but we will have the first month having access to Island Nation. This is one mistake. The other is the opening event, all territories can be opened while we succeed some requirement, such as industry investments, number of cargoes shipping and lifetime revenue. Two of these both require 250,000,000 lifetime revenue. However, for Island Nation, again, it require 2,500,000,000 lifetime revenue, I think the map designer mistyped one more 0, it should be the same 250 Mill. More dramatic thing is, it happens to exceed the capable number in event trigger. The numbers in event trigger are programmed for 2 bytes signed number. It has a boundary of - 2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647 but 2.5 trill just across the boundary. In signed number, 2,500,000,000 is -1,794,967,296, you can calculate this by Windows Calculator programmer mode. This means the event trigger CompanyRevenueLiftTime>=2500000000 will be always true. The event is checked at the end of the year, so after 11 months of losing access of Island Nation, we can get it back at the end of 1950. That's the other mistake.

 

Edit: The ports, yes the ports, haha. I have to admit the designer is so creative. Infinite pax and mail!

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...for Island Nation... it requires 2,500,000,000 lifetime revenue. I think the map designer mistyped one more 0; it should be the same 250 Mil. More dramatic thing is, it happens to [cause integer overflow]. The numbers in event triggers are programmed for 2 bytes signed number. It has a bounds of -2,147,483,648 to +2,147,483,647 but 2.5 Bn is just across the boundary. In a signed number, 2,500,000,000 overflows to become -1,794,967,296... This means the event trigger CompanyRevenueLiftTime>=2500000000 will be always be true.

For computer techies: Full-sized integer storage is four bytes. A short int (2-bytes) would be 0 to 65535 unsigned or -32768 to +32767 signed.

To avoid some monetary overflows, the game is storing some money in some other form. My bet is that big money (like company cash and player net worth) is stored as thousands, and there's an implicit 1000x whenever you use one in a trigger.

That's why you sometimes see a number written out as very negative on the same annual report page where it graphs as very positive. It's also why I warn players to not exceed 2 Bn player cash before the test for Gold-win in my US History scenario. It's possible to overflow the gold trigger and miss out on a much deserved victory after playing 178 game-years on one map!

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jeffryfisher, on 06 May 2013 - 09:23 AM, said:

For computer techies: Full-sized integer storage is four bytes. A short int (2-bytes) would be 0 to 65535 unsigned or -32768 to +32767 signed.

To avoid some monetary overflows, the game is storing some money in some other form. My bet is that big money (like company cash and player net worth) is stored as thousands, and there's an implicit 1000x whenever you use one in a trigger.

That's why you sometimes see a number written out as very negative on the same annual report page where it graphs as very positive. It's also why I warn players to not exceed 2 Bn player cash before the test for Gold-win in my US History scenario. It's possible to overflow the gold trigger and miss out on a much deserved victory after playing 178 game-years on one map!

What I meant was 2 words, 4 bytes. I also mistype the 2.5 billion, too many zeros :blush:

Talking about overflow, big number is definitely not stored in 1000s. I did some tests and have my own theory of how big numbers are stored.

If you use the Editor the set up player cash or company cash, you will find out you can accurately set a player cash like: 2,000,200,123, although it will show 2,000,200 K on the screen, when you click on set cash again, the small number 123 is still there.

I think big numbers are stored in multiple integers added together. When the program try to use them, they do the calculation directly from these integers and show them in decimal format on screen. When number becomes bigger and about to overflow, the program will create a new integer to put extra number in it. This can be proved by cash setting too. When you try to set 4 billion dollar as player cash, you can't set it directly, since 4,000,000,000 is -294,967,296 in ONE integer. But if you set 2,000,000,000 first, then change it into 4,000,000,000, it's perfectly done. For company cash, you can't do that, it's been restricted in one Integer in the Editor, but you may get over one Integer in real games.

I also do a interest-only game test, since profits won't hit those numbers, I found that around 520 billion player cash is the max. That's approximately 256 times as the capable number for an integer. However, after going up and down around 500 billion for a long time, the player cash could go up to 1.5 trillion and began to decent back to 200 billion, I still can't explain this though. The company cash has much much high limit, actually I haven't been to the limit. Although the company cash will show as ERRORK on screen when it hits one quadrillion, the actually number is still going up by multiplying shares outstanding and book value per share.

As for event trigger, they simply add those Integers up and do comparison. That means possibility of overflow. In your US history map, if someone managed to get over 2.2 billion cash, he might be able to get 5.3 billion cash, which will represent as 1 billion as well because he just overflowed an entire integer.

If so, he should be rewarded to an overflowing special gold metal!

Edited by outofmage

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outofmage, have you tried the US History map?

I would recommend you play it at least once. It requires a slightly different style of play, but it is a good challenge nonetheless. I have played all the way through as a Mexican company, and I would take my hat off to you if you can get more than 5.3 billion in personal cash! Maybe as a Northern USA company, it would be possible. Jeffry has done a lot of work to add taxes into this game and they include some pretty decent sized Personal Net Worth taxes too.

Interesting what you found in the editor. Personally, I prefer to be told if certain conditions will unlock territories. Then I can work toward those "goals". I don't understand very much about programming and integer overflow, but good to know a bit more about what is happening.

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