The world of stock trading is a little more complex than simply buy low and sell high – though that is a large part of it. In Stockpile, the goal is to use the totally-not-illegal act of insider trading to your advantage and walk away with the biggest pile of cash at the end. To do that, you have to both play the stock market for bigger gains while also trying to ensure your opponents don’t get as big of a return on their own investments. We’re no experts on this, so we’ve called in some consultants to teach you how to be the best shady financier you can be. Please give a round of applause for designer Brett Sobol as he offers up some strategy tips for the game.
Stockpile’s strategies can be a little nuanced for new players, but at the end of the day, what you want to do is have the largest pile of cash possible. Everything after that is all about how you get there. To maximize your own profits at the expense of others, you’ll want to know our five easy (and trademarked) Tips to Triumph process. Follow these and you’ll be well on your way to a more glamorous and successful career!
Tip Number One
Most players tend not to be aggressive enough during bidding in their first few games of Stockpile. Stockpiles that contain more cards in them can often be worth surprisingly more than other stockpiles with fewer cards. While it is possible to pay too much or be caught by trading fees, the typical new player tends to give up on bidding too easily. As an example, each stock in a stockpile starts the game worth $5K. If a player is going to get a pile with 3 cards on the first turn, they should be paying at least $6K or $10K (possibly more depending on insider information).
TIP: The winner of Stockpile is the one who cumulatively made the greatest return on investment each turn. You can improve your chances of winning by making sure that other players are paying close to market value for the cards they are acquiring.
Tip Number Two
One of the biggest parts of Stockpile’s learning curve is where and how to place your two cards. Although I can’t cover every example, there are two common mistakes that you can avoid:
Not paying attention to other player’s portfolios – There are many facets to consider here, but I’d like to focus on one point – being aware of player’s portfolios when action cards are present. Let’s pretend I already own 3 Epic Electric shares, and I see a stockpile with an Action card (Boom or Bust) in the pile. I’m now dealt my two cards, and one of my cards is an Epic Electric share. It’s a good idea to place that card in the pile with the Action card because whoever wins that stockpile will have a vested reason to share my same interests in Epic Electric’s success.
TIP: When building stockpiles that contain action cards, try to align your portfolio with other players.
Not paying attention to other player’s cash – Money advantage is critical to your decision of how to place your cards. If you have less cash on hand than other players, try to make the piles as even as possible, so you can’t really be wallet checked into a pile full of junk. If you are the cash leader, then consider stacking one pile with great cards to turn your liquid assets into extremely profitable stock. But, be careful if you aren’t the only with $25K because someone earlier in turn order can buy that pile outright before you get a chance!
TIP: Watch other player’s cash levels. Stack onto the same stockpile if you’re ahead on cash, and even them out if you’re behind.
Tip Number Three
It’s easy to overlook or even forget that the majority shareholder of each company’s stock earns a bonus of $10K at the end of the game. If a company’s stock goes bankrupt in the last couple of rounds, try to remember which stock that was and keep an eye out for any remaining shares in the last round or two. This can be an easy way to sneakily capture $10K.
TIP: Capitalize on majority shareholder bonuses, especially on companies that went bankrupt.
Tip Number Four
Selling stock is a very important aspect of the game. Not only do you need money to win the game, but you also need money to fuel your future investments. When you’re deciding whether or not to sell a share, consider your cash on hand.
Do you have enough to bid the going rate for most stockpiles next turn? Will you be the cash leader if you sell? Is next round more likely to more stock cards than trading fees so you can get a better bang for your buck? Additionally, the exact amount you have on hand is important. If you have $9K, then that doesn’t help you more than $6K does for bidding.
TIP: Sell stock to gain cash advantage, a better return on investment, or enough money to pay at the pre-determined levels on the bidding tracks.
Tip Number Five
Investors add a lot of elements into the game, and as in most games with asymmetrical abilities, it can take a lot of time to fully understand how they (hopefully) balance out. We took a lot of time to carefully calibrate the abilities of each investor with their starting amount of money, and many times when over/under-powered scenarios arise, it’s due to player behavior (or in rare cases, a streak of benign luck). Now, we aren’t saying that Stockpile’s investors are perfectly balanced, but there’s a few tricks to playing as and against certain investors that might help to prevent an escalation of the initial asymmetry:
TIP: In Stockpile, information and money are on two sides of the same coin.
Playing As: Use your cash to your advantage in the early rounds of the game by muscling other players into taking less desirable stockpiles for more than they want to pay.
Playing Against: Billionaire Bill can easily snatch a fantastic pile for $20K or $25K. Be careful about putting lots of cards into the same stockpile that allows him to effectively use his cash advantage. If possible, bluff him into overpaying for a seemingly ‘good’ stockpile when he is at an information disadvantage.
Playing As: Be careful not to seek out trading fees too much. While trading fees to help you to obtain cash, you will need stock to win. Remember trading fees are a detriment to all other players except you. When possible, consider placing trading fee cards face-up on stockpiles as a deterrent.
Playing Against: Try to lure Broker Bernie into piles with face-up trading fees.
Playing As: The more stocks of one kind your own, the better your ability gets. Although you need to be careful if you are the only one invested in a certain stock because players may use action cards to bankrupt that company. Ideally, you gain many shares of one stock that others have some investment in so they are motivated not to hurt its price.
Playing Against: If you can invest in the stocks that Crazy Cramer invests in, you can also benefit from his power. Use a Stock Bust card to set back the gains from his power.
Playing As: Remember you get the most bang for your buck on piles that are more expensive. Use other’s information against them. If a pile is worth it for them, you can out bid them for the same price, and it will be worth it for you.
Playing Against: With such an oppressive power, many players struggle to fend off a meddlesome Discount Donald. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of his low starting money. If all the piles are fairly even in worth, he won’t be able to use his power as effectively.
Playing As: The more stocks of one kind your own, the better your ability gets. Similar to Crazy Cramer, you will ideally aim to invest a ton in one stock early, but you need to be careful that the stock doesn’t tank. It may be less beneficial to sell stock in a company that is going down because you are able to ride the downs by giving yourself dividends.
Playing Against: If you can invest in the stocks that Dividend Deborah invests in you can also benefit from her power.
Playing As: Golden Graham wants tons of stock even if they are worth little. However, letting your stock go bankrupt is even more harmful to you since you could have sold it for more.
Playing Against: Look for opportunities to bankrupt his stocks. It’s especially painful for Golden Graham.
Playing As: Use your higher starting money to your advantage from the beginning. Try to stack a
really nice stockpile. Try to keep your money advantage in future rounds, so you can continue to
stack stockpiles with your power.
Playing Against: Try to make the piles as even as possible, or gain a money advantage on Maverick Mark.
Playing As: If people start paying special attention to you, as they should in a game where information is power, this gives you a great opportunity to bluff and misdirect your opponents.
Playing Against: Pay special attention to how Mayknow Martha bids and sells based on the information she looked at. She knows more than you about the market, and reading her decision-making can reveal what stockpiles are going to be valuable.
Playing As: Don’t be afraid to place both your face-down cards in the same pile, especially if they are both trading fees. Bid on those fees, and then leave them when you’re outbid. Next time put two really nice stocks face-down and get them for cheap since the other players are scared.
Playing Against: Try not to let him get away with cheap stockpiles that contain his own facedown cards.
Playing As: You have a lot of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to fake others out with it, especially Discount Donald, who often tries to bully others off of good piles.
Playing Against: Try to spread out the facedown cards in different piles if possible, especially if you’re Secretive Stuart. Pay attention to how he bids.
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