Offworld Trading Company from Mohawk Games

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.

Yeah, I can’t heap enough praise onto OTC. It takes the RTS genre and imaginatively reinterprets it into a boardgame-esque economic game. Then it wraps it in a tight, thematic, package and even has a great AI. It’s not super wide (which can lead to it feeling a bit repetitive - I couldn’t play it endlessly) but it’s very deep.

And the ‘wideness’ is exactly what the expansions are addressing.

Thanks for this, it’s helpful. I’d largely come to the idea of running on cash and not trying to supply all my own needs on my own, but this helps crystalize why that’s a sound idea and might cause me to lean into it more.

Are you aware of any good help resources for the game? I feel like if I could just get a handle on the fundamentals I could find my own way from there, but it’s so unique that I haven’t got a good foothold.

There used to be classes on the OTC discord channel. A bunch of the top players there were ultra helpful. One of them, Blues, is the guy who did the amazing advanced tutorial DLC.
I wonder if that’s still a thing, but I bet you’d be very welcome there if you dropped by.
Also the game comes bundled with a super helpful PDF. I’ve read it a few times over my learning period.

It’s a sad statement that it doesn’t even occur to me to look for a manual anymore. I’m off to RTFM.

Way back in this thread somewhere Soren posted a stream where he talks through some of the strategic concepts as he plays.

There also are a number of them that have put YouTube videos up explaining the game and giving commentary on matches.