So last week I wrote a small blurb reflecting on why a certificate limit exists in 18xx games which got me to thinking, how many certs do you lose to the game as a result of the certificate limit?
For a handful of games, I looked up the total certs available and subtracted from that the certs players could hold based on player count. The certificate limit or total certificates available might vary throughout a game, so I tried to show that as well.
The results for 1832, 1880, and 18MEX are... surprising.
(Keep in mind which games have yellow areas of the stock market that allow certain shares to not count against cert limit. I've highlighted these games in yellow below)
(NB: This is assuming all 10 companies are still available to start)
When looking at games like 18MEX and 1832, if you have no companies in yellow, a tremendous amount of value is lost to the game. In 18MEX, you have 8 companies you could start, but almost 2 companies worth of shares cannot be held. In 1832, you have 10 companies you could start, but almost 3 companies worth of shares cannot be held if no systems have been formed! Imagine if all of these companies were floated and there are over 20 shares in the bank pool that no one has space to buy.
This probably helps to explain how strategies began to develop to run companies into the yellow area of the stock market. Otherwise, all that value stays with the game and not with the players.
Perhaps even more staggering is 1880. This game has 14 companies to start which would normally mean there are 126 company certificates (9 certs for each company), but there is an option for the president certificate to be set at 20%, 30%, or 40%. Even if all company presidencies are set at 40% at the most optimistic player count, more than 2 companies worth of shares still cannot be held by players. If we look at the flip side of that and look at a lower player count of 4 with only 20% presidencies being set, a whopping 62 shares cannot be held. That is almost half of the shares in the game.
What I interpret this to mean in 1880 is how hugely important it is to have good share density as well as to make sure you are holding high-value shares.