Make a profit with your micro
THE Business Games cassette from Acornsoft contains two business
games, Stokmark and Telemark.
Stokmark allows one to eight players to deal in the shares of
four different companies on the Stock Exchange. The aim is to
make as much money as possible.
As in real life, a player's wealth is increased through the
receipt of dividends — a share of a company's profits - or through
making a capital gain if the share price rises.
Of course the share price could fall, so that a player could
make a loss.
The guide accompanying the tape explains some of the terms used
in investment analysis.
Using these the program produces regular reports on each player's
wealth and on each share's performance so that they can plan their
The main influence on the value of the shares is whether they
are being bought or sold. If there is heavy selling then this
depresses the share price. If a share is sought after, however,
then the price will be forced up.
As in real life, there are also random economic factors, such
as strikes, which affect a share's performance and make planning
The game is a well-presented and useful introduction to some
investment terms, but I thought that it became rather repetitive
after only a short time.
Telemark is a game for four players or teams involving the manufacturing
and marketing of TV sets.
Players start with the same amount of cash and are then asked
to make capital investment decisions, such as the size of the
factory, which will determine the production and storage capacity
of the businesses.
The larger the factory the more can be made, stored and potentially
sold but the factory overheads or expenses will also rise.
The players are then asked to make production, marketing and
pricing decisions, all of which can influence the profits which
will be made.
For example, if your prices are set too high then other suppliers
may win part of your market share.
If your prices are pitched too low then, although you may gain
a large share of the market, you may not be charging enough to
make a profit.
Certain random effects are also built in to make decision making
a little more difficult - and realistic.
At each stage the program checks to see if a player's decisions
are feasible. There may not be enough production capacity, market
share or cash to enable the plans to be fulfilled.
To help, each player is given frequent opportunities to have
information vital to decision-making displayed on screen.
At the end of each round financial and market share reports
are produced so that the players can see how they are getting
This is a good game and to be properly appreciated must be played
Rather than making decisions by blind guesswork, which will
teach little and quickly becomes dull, players should carefully
plan the development of their businesses.
They must ensure, for example, that they will have enough cash
for future operations and that they will charge a price that will
return them a profit. A pencil and paper are indispensable.
Acornsoft have obviously realised that this is an important
aspect of the game and they have provided some blank charts in
the program guide to help players work out their cash flows and
to estimate suitable selling prices.
As a small point, I think that many people would appreciate
a worked example in the program guide showing how the profits
and, in particular, the balance sheets are calculated. This would
help make a good game even better.