Offworld Trading Company from Mohawk Games

We had a tourney on here and the first game I played, I got rolled. I kept at the AI until I understood the strategy and then never lost a game after that. It wasn’t enough to win the tourney at that point, but I did better than I expected.

The long and short of the basic strategy, if I recall, is to run on cash and not on raw materials.

IE, let’s say your upgrade needs 300 Dirt Bars and 200 Blue Bars. You might be tempted to build the infrastructure and mine those bars. Maybe, in some circumstances, that’s the right strategy. For me most of the time I ran strictly on a cash economy only - ie, autoselling all my production. Also you can make decent money early on if you keep a positive energy balance and sell the difference, since for whatever reason both the AI and players tend to like running negative energy balance.

In other words, I built whatever commodity was most profitable, and cared very little for whatever my faction specific commodity demanded.

Late game is a bit different, with Research and ect.

I think the real tipping of the scales toward cash and not raw materials is that if you build a raw material economy early and then run out of cash for whatever reason you’re literally dead in the water because you won’t have the cash to change your economy. OTOH, if you’re cash flush and buying what you need, it’s not particularly hard to just throw cash at the problem and redirect your economy to the next profitable thing. It doesn’t help that many - not all - of the early raw materials are pretty dead end as far as late game economic value goes.

Smiles mightily :)

I’ll buy the new expansion, even though I suuuuhuuuhuuuck at the game and rarely play it because the AI wipes the walls with me. But I love the game so I’ll buy it. Because more games like this need to exist.

Depends on the map. My experience is that power is either the most profitable, or least profitable, item to build. By mid game it either balloons (on a poor power producing map) or drops to 1. Taking a cautious approach to power, building at most one, until level 4 tends to be the smart play.

“Who sucks the worst” competition and I wipe the floor with you all. I’m embarrassed the whole time I play, apologizing to my computer for being so bad.

The reason everybody loves to run negative energy balance is that you can have a huge debt that way but still have all the cash handy that didn’t get used to pay it. In other words, you can have both a lot of cash and a lot of debt by not paying your electricity bills. It’s a risky proposition, and can be suicide if the energy really spikes forver (which will be the case in a two player game if one of them don’t do anything about it), but I remember some players were really, really good at surfing the debt wave. Personally, winning with a lot of debt felt always that little extra special. May the AI feels it too.

As you say, it depends heavily. You are absolutely right that cash is the correct unit to be thinking in, not resources.

The real trick is developing some judgment about what the future cash value of all those resources are.

If you’re trying to get an upgrade, it might seem more sensible to make a little cash and but the resources based on current prices. But when you’re buying hundreds of a resource - and other players are also buying that resource for their upgrades! - the prices will frequently tip into making it way better to produce your own upgrade resources. Of course, it depends - but this is why it’s quite rare to not manufacturer your own building materials early on, and often for most of the game. There is just so much upcoming demand for that stuff, and starting prices don’t reflect it.

This is especially true when you can take on some debt for even earlier access to those resources (steel mills burn power, for instance). Debt is very powerful, as long as you can convert it to cash (or victory!) faster than its interest rate!

You can pause and give orders in single player, right? If so, is that what you guys do if you don’t have plans to so multiplayer?

Maybe. But a standard opening game build for me is water-food-power and selling all the food and just buying what I need. As a consequence I tend to have 0 debt during the early game, not because I’m avoiding debt but because I just never need to accumulate it.

A big big big reason I like food-water-power builds is no transport costs.

Also never build raw materials if you can avoid it - too often high end things like electronics have values in the upper 400s but the raw materials cost like 40. Shrugs. One thing I almost always have to do is switch my economy around a few times, say from food to fuel. Raw materials also make you transport them - unless you ha e teleportation, let some other sucker ship your Carbon via Mars Prime for you.

But never never go for a steel economy. Oh man that is always a dead end.

In OTC I think in terms of time, not cash or resources. If I’m making 2k a second in cash the cost to upgrade my main is like 25 seconds, The time to produce the raw materials to upgrade for close to free is going to be much longer - usually - than 25 seconds.

I should say that I like this way of playing because my biggest annoyance about debt in OTC is that I can’t buy resources or buildings on debt, only operating costs. So if I’m desperate for cash to change my economy I can’t finance this change with debt, all I can do with debt is run my economy. This makes me extremely averse to being cash poor at any point in the game.

Should I give this game another try? I bounced off it after just a few hours of play time when something felt unfair or frustrating, but I can’t even remember what it was. It was right around release and another game had my attention.

As an alternate, I’ve been playing a bit of Surviving Mars this week. It seems like a pretty good supply-chain game. Anyone try both?

I’ve played both. Surviving Mars is definitely a more leisurely pace. I was able to beat the learning scenarios in OTC (some tool multiple tries) and did OK in one campaign game I played at a lower difficulty level. I didn’t find it unfair. It’s just hard to keep my eye on everything, especially what my competitor is building. I tend to focus a lot of just my area.

I don’t think it had the ability to pause and give orders when I played, but I think it did have that added afterwards - not sure though.

They really aren’t the same kind of game. It may be worth giving OTC another try and start with those learning scenarios. I think it was the 4th or 5th one that was very hard for me.

They’re very different games. Wouldn’t even consider them to be in the same genre.

OTC is very hard to pin down but it’s not a city builder or supply chain game. In fact, playing it like a supply chain game is one of the best ways to get flattened instantly, as noted up thread. Trying to produce all the things you need is not good strategy here.

Ha! I’m so bad at OTC that the computer sometimes just lets me win and says “Well done, champ”, then encourages me to play something else…

I think it has always had the pause ability in single player.

I’ve enjoyed OTC a lot more than Surviving Mars, but I haven’t really tried SM since around release so they may have improved it quite a bit.

I wish all games had AI this competitive. Soren needs to do some work on a crapload of my other favorite franchises.

OTC is a total gem of a game that seems criminally underrated imho. It’s one of a kind.

Surviving Mars is great too - less unique in that it’s a city builder with a mars skin. The latest terraforming DLC adds quite a lot to that and as a science geek I do enjoy it. But OTC has a special place in my heart as something off the beaten track.

Hmm thanks for the replies. I’ll have to give OTC a fair chance and read some of the tips here.

My tip is don’t feel bad about losing.