What would you do if you knew what the next winning lottery numbers were going to be? Would you quietly sit on that information and do nothing, or would you run down to the corner store and cash in as quickly as you could?
With the sheer volume of information that passes through the stock market every day, that’s a scenario some people must occasionally face. Technically there is only one answer with what to do with insider information – knowing what’s going to happen to a company before the market does – since making money off such intel is illegal.
Of course, it’s only an issue if you get caught.
That’s the world players were privy to in 2015’s Stockpile, a wonderful little economic Gateway Game about using that sweet sweet insider trading knowledge to make giant piles of quick cash. In this game, everyone is a day trader with questionable ethics looking to get in on the action. Each round, every player has information on how a stock is to behave that only they know, and the goal is to leverage that information to make as much profit as possible without tipping your hand to the competition.
Since the game is all about getting the inside scoop ahead of time, then, it’s only fitting that we do the exact same thing today with regards to its upcoming expansion, Stockpile: Continuing Corruption.
Speaking with Stockpile co-designer Brett Sobol, he explains the idea behind the four module expansion: “Each of them add their own unique peculiarities to the game causing greater depth, more variation, a lot of replayability, and a lot of fun. Ultimately we’re trying to increase the risk you can take and the amount of rewards you can earn.”
Continuing Corruption expands on the idea of Wall Street behaving badly by adding in more gameplay variety and moderate strategic depth to the game. Players will be able to either mix and match modules to tailor their brokerage experience to their group’s preferences, or they can add all four at once for a more robust Stockpile experience. The four modules are:
The base game of Stockpile came with an optional set of Investor Cards for players to use. Flavorfully designed as an homage to notable real-life industry titans, each of those cards alters a player’s starting funds but provides a special ability to use throughout the game.
Continuing Corruption expands on this by adding several new Investors into the mix, which, according to Sobol, are slightly more complex than their predecessors. These Investors also bring a more diverse and global presence to the game as power players from around the world join in on the game’s highly lucrative illegal activities. Investors such as Chanda here, who will let you discard one stock to split another.
Stockpile: Continuing Corruption will come with six custom engraved dice which will significantly increase the variation and volatility of the market each round. Although randomized between each round, in Stockpile proper there is a fixed slate of behavior for each of the game’s stocks. The Forecast Dice increases not only the range of how much a stock can rise or drop, but it can significantly alter planning strategies from round to round by adding more unpredictability to the marketplace. One round could see every stock go up, whereas the next one could see very meager returns on investment. “We want to encourage people to have more activity during the Selling Phase, because that’s that this is all about,” says Sobol. “It’s about riding the waves and momentum within the stock market industry. So we decided to add a bit of strength to those waves.”
As any financial adviser will tell you, the global investment world is a lot more than just stocks. Stockpile initially only focused on this one aspect, but with this expansion, you’ll be able to diversify your portfolio by adding Bonds to the mix. Unlike stocks, which have the potential for quick financial returns at the risk of losing it all, bonds are a far less chancy bet. The catch is that they generally have a much lower yield and take much longer to accrue money than their high energy investment cousins.
In the game, players will have the ability to use their cash on hand to buy bonds if they so choose. These bonds will provide extra income at the end of all subsequent rounds, and cashing them in at the end of the game will hand you your money back. However, opting in to bonds forces you to split your capital between them and the stock market itself. The goal here is to increase a player’s focus on their cash on hand while also injecting more money into the game for players to use for bidding on stock as the game progresses. Bonds may be more low-key than stocks, but their impact in Continuing Corruption isn’t as sedate, providing new opportunities for using Investor abilities and adding extra bidding tension overall. Invest wisely.
Commodities & Taxes
It appears that insider knowledge has spread to the commodities markets as well, for the final expansion further diversifies gameplay by introducing the idea of purchasable commodities such as gold, oil, or cattle. Commodities provide another set collection element to the game by way of the Commerce Deck. These introduce a long-term strategic aspect to the game, as they are scored at the end based on how many different types of commodity cards you have on hand. They also scale in value quickly depending on how many a player has, making them highly desirable to attain.
To do so, naturally, players must bid for them. During each round of Stockpile, players take turns allocating stocks to piles which are then bid upon. The same is true with commodities. After all stocks have been placed, each player will then draw a card from the Commerce Deck and add it whichever stock pile they wish. These cards could be the sought-after commodities, or they could be tax cards, which also stack but will cost the player money at the end of the game instead.
The impact of these commodities can significantly alter the frequency and behavior how players bid during any given round. As Sobol excitedly states, “the fun part is because you can see every commodity that other people have already collected, you can really mess with people by putting commodity cards on piles they may not want to go after.” This further fosters the incentive to get players to engage in the bidding phase more voraciously, as the payoffs for these cards may be well worth the effort in the end.
Stockpile: Continuing Corruption expands on creative ideas and player feedback as a means of adding more variety, depth, player engagement, and strategic decision-making to the world of insider trading. It will be published by Nauvoo Games via a Kickstarter to be launched on or around March 29th, 2016 with an intended release date of Gen Con 2016. It will have an anticipated MSRP of $25, though it will be available to Kickstarter backers for $19 plus shipping. That will include the game, any stretch goals, and a pair of promo Investor cards.
Update 3/30/16: The Kickstarter has now gone live. Check it out!
Now, since this is a game about getting information ahead of time after all, we’re going to go and exclusively show you one of those promo cards right now. Just don’t tell the SEC on us.
Photo Credits: Stockpile cover and artwork by Nauvoo Games.