I posted my final decisions last night with a sense of relief and anticipation.
The manuals tell you to decide on a strategy and stick to it and helpfully offer six to choose from. Presumably you could devise one of your own if you had the time and the inclination. I chose the one which suits my temperament best and was fascinated to find that most of the others rubbed me up the wrong way one way or another. Left to myself I wouldn’t have thought of them or else would have dismissed them out of hand. I have decided to sell the customers what they want and to hang on to ageing product lines so that they drift into the low tech end of the market. Other strategies focus on price, or on keeping internal costs low, or on servicing one specific market sector. You have no idea how glad I am that they provided pro-forma strategies to work from!
I don’t appear to have done badly but I am playing one hand in a six hand game but “the others” are just dummy hands being played by the computer. I’ve no idea how well I’ve done in comparison with the other 3879 actual players, or even how many of the other 3879 started. The Times today is noticeably silent on that.
So my products have sold well – more than anyone else’s. In fact I could have sold more if I’d made them which is not so good. Not only is it an opportunity wasted that won’t come again, I could have spent less on advertising and marketing to make the same number of sales and more profit. I’m also cash-rich at the moment which sounds nice but I’ve borrowed more than it turns out that I need, so I’m paying interest unnecessarily. All in all, I’ve wasted money, and it doesn’t feel so good when I put it like that. I was afraid of the sales not coming in, so I borrowed money and limited my manufacturing runs based on pessimistic forecasts. If I’d not borrowed money and I’d over stocked the product and the sales hadn’t come through, I’d have been deep in the doodoo.
Interestingly, though I sold the most, I’m not the most profitable. “Digby” made more money and spent less cash doing it. Not surprisingly, “Digby’s” share price is better than mine, though I am a strong second in the field of six; I issued shares to raise money and he didn’t, and I’ve got the highest total value in the stock market (market cap).
But those lost sales and that over-borrowing is annoying me. I was too cautious this round. Let’s hope I don’t let it go to my head.
(PS – sorry for the ruthless self-promotion with the Digg doo-dad, but I am trying it out to see how it works. Nothing attempted, nothing learned).
I am playing this too and had no idea that I was in with computer run opponents. My Digby is doing the same as yours and so I now assume that each computer player is forced to follow a strategy. Probably one of the defined ones offered in the training manual, which I am about to re-read
I don’t know for certain sure that the other five hands are dummies, but somewhere in the depths of the documentation was the comment that “your professor” might arrange for you to play against the computer rather than against other people, and it seemed to me that it would be insane for the Times to set it up any other way. So it’s an assumption on my part, but one I’d bet money on.
How’s it going? Did you find it as hard to gear up to as I did?
I’ll be interested in how it progresses; I might even have done it myself if I’d read your post about it in time to sign up. I’ll be especially interested in how you do if you go on being fairly cautious. I’ve done a couple of these simulations on management courses and done well by being in cautious teams – as opposed to the ultra-competitive teams that went with some radical strategy and ended up blowing up spectacularly.
My only other suggestion, for what it’s worth, is not to get too hung up on a strategy such that it turns into a religion.
I’m in this too and finding it a bit tricky. I got badly done over in the first round by an emergency loan (instructions were not that clear about the timing of the stock rollover cost). I’ve gone for a completely gung-ho strategy that I expect to leave me struggling in rounds 1-3 but them hopefully powering ahead from there on in. Time will tell.
Anyone any idea how to find out how you’re doing in comparison with the other 3,800 or so competitors?
I plan on boring my blog-readers silly with the whole thing, Potentilla, so I’ll certainly keep you posted. I’m naturally fairly cautious anyway – I’m more likely to be let down by missing the point about something though.
I don’t think it is possible to find out how we’re doing AJN, or even how many of the 3880 are still around, unless we can bribe an employee of The Times or hack the necessary internet site, I guess. 😉
I must admit, I’d like to know the numbers of players still in the game.
Is it predictable that in my travian spreadsheet I have a graph depicting my current position in the field?
You can find out stats on the game @
and if you log in there you can see each individuals results to date 🙂
It took me some searching to find it, the Times has been very obscure about this!!
Good luck in the game ;p
I just found it myself about 20 minutes ago! Thanks for posting the link though; if I wasn’t an obsessive googler I’d have missed it.
I think that they are being fairly obscure about quite a bit of the game, such as whether or not the HR and TQM modules should be played. I suspect each of these things is a way to sort sheep from goats.
Interesting that there only appear to be about 650 players out of the original field of almost 4000. That makes me feel slightly smug right there.
Good luck yourself!
I’m currently ranked 301
how r u doin’? 🙂
I have played a strategy so far of r&d investment in new products for future rollouts, combined with production investment. Keeping on top of current sales, and ploughing back profits to date. And not being too concerned about borrowing to fund the future.
Certain amount of risk involved, will my products that I have invested in sell etc.
Also The Times states that the person on top at the end of the simulation is the winner, is that on top on points or profits?
The ranking seems to be based on profits!
‘Keep it unreal’ 🙂
Thanks for the link to the ranking table. I am currently ranked 103rd although my round 2 didn’t go as well. I had to correct a financial error from round one. Fingers crossed round 3 should see me clawing my way back up a bit, but I am still struggling with knowing how to improve things. I have taken on less debt than my rivals but that doesn’t but that is the only area I can identify as being the “wrong” way to do things at the moment.
Thanks for the link, but I still can’t access the damn results! When I enter my CEO username and password it refuses to give me access and just flips me back to the password request. Bah. This isn’t a separate Times Online password that is needed to access the site is it? Round 2 was way more successful than round 1 so feeling a bit happier now. Next stop world domination.
Thanks for the spreadsheets Shane, I’ll be writing about the results as I do each “Annual Report”.
You are welcome fettling – I read somewhere in the material that one of the things students learn is that debt is a good thing used wisely to make a profit and that a lot of students tend to avoid it in the exercise in the same way one tries to avoid it personally.
AJN – I used my Fantasy CEO username and password. Send an email asking for help – I’ve found the support teams to be incredibly helpful. 🙂 If you end up ruling the world, can I have a seat on the board?
I’m not saying where I am in the tables exactly because I’m shy!
Good luck, everyone
AJN, like Shane mentioned earlier, username is case-sensitive as well. I was having the same issue because first letter of my username was uppercase. Devil in the deails, no doubt 😉
A word of warning about the Times rankings and the Spreadsheets:
The results for Round 1 were ranked in order of profit, which was simple enough – simplistic even.
The results for Round 2 weren’t ranked the same way. In fact I’ve not been able to sort the table to match the rankings at all, so I have no idea how the Times have ranked the results in Round 2. It’s not the scorecard and it’s not profit.
On top of that there are major inconsistencies in the Times’s Round 2 rankings. The figures they published after Round 2 for the score card appear to be cumulative (ie Round 1 plus Round 2), BUT the figures in the other columns aren’t cumulative. Worse than that – it’s impossible to tell what they do mean! The profit the Times rankings gave me for Round 1 is the same as my Round 1 profit in FastTrack, which is what you’d expect. But the profit the Times rankings show me making for Round 2 is not what Fast Track shows me making in Round 2, nor is it the profit for the two years added together, nor the 3 years if you include everyone’s starting profit of $2,485,186 from Round 0. Heaven knows what it is, but I don’t.
I’ve therefore decided not to distract myself any more with the supposed rankings, but to concentrate on what I’m doing. I will email the Times and ask them to revisit what they are publishing on that page, and to make it more current and more transparent, but unless they do, I’m going to ignore them.