Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mongoose Traveller Review of Ops Cost

So this GM has finally got the time to study Mongoose Traveller. I think the numbers as a business are ad-hoc and not really playtested. This has a pro and a con - con: F*CK i have to home brew it, pro- When I come up with an Open RPG that has Entrepreneurship simulation I am offering something new and will give various gamer mnemonics to allow better mastery of the principles.

Looking at the Hazards of a traveller ship and looking at other businesses with the same hazards, the margins are incredibly thin.

Speculative Trade vs Logistics Services
Note, speculative Trade and Logistics should be separate. To give some perspective, Finance entities are the ones typically backing such a business, two sources of RISK (these are finding buyers, commodities, and goods while maximizing the cargo space and passage of the ship) are a terrible way to make a living. Its like being middle class, burdened with termendous debt and going into TWO different businesses at the same time. In the Gamer Dev World - its being a Gamer Writer/Publisher and Printer. A Printer (who has a lot of infra) may dabble in Publishing or Producing Games but needs a stable and reliable biz to keep his crocodile farm* afloat. 

A Broker typically specializes in Speculative Trade, may buy a limited amount of Leased Dton space and a Stateroom on a ship. This space is negotiated down from the usual "freight space" lease margins.

Example (see Spreadsheet)
Wealthy Broker, buying a stateroom for 3 years for a Far Trader (6000*36 months) + (4500*72 jumps) = 345,000Cr or 28,800 Cr a month (typically 3 months advance payment and 2 months security deposite). The broker calculates these as his expenses; and has network plan. 

The Lowest Risk and Highest Gain is capturing contracts for 3-5 years of freight lease in regions with poor infra. Developed Worlds/Systems have contracts lasting 10-20 years.

Here is the Spreadsheet that looks at Expenses vs Revenue in a year.
Assumptions
Contemporary Economic Benchmarks
  • Interest Rates: 4d6% (average is 14%; statistically very unlikely for the extreemes but are known to happen)
  • Inflation: 2d6% (exploding die)
  • Economic Growth Rates (after inflation): 1-3% (1d6/2 rounded up)
  • 20 years is not so long in paying of a morgage when I've seen building owners and banks have such deals. 
  • That the Interest Rate are factored in the Ship Price, there is already several Financial Margins inclusive of  the price. If there is a Cash down purchase of the ship the price can go down as much as 20% (80% of the price is made up of the "interest" the bank would have earned in 20 years). It is possible to posses a ship that has depreciated more; but i would recommend x2-x10 the maintenance cost. 
  • Note on the Prices - Prices are subject to fluctuation; if a bunch of free traders are saturating the market you will be working harder by lowering your margins. The margins given are in a fairly competitive area (in modern comparison South East Asia markets presently); margins are greater in more dangerous frontier area - think about doing business in Africa or SEA 13 years ago. 

Home Brew Rules
* No Stealth in Space - i have enough notes how to modify the system and doctrine for this.
* Market Forces at work on Prices - i can clean up the doctrine for this, and assume only 10% are doing best practice.
* (Death &) Taxes - These rules are free for players to ignore and complicate their lives. Regardless of political belief, there are worlds and entities that require taxes. in a high trade setting, I assume there will be a customs or sales tax on the goods, and income tax and various tax rules by various home worlds and states, not to mention the Imperium has a cut of the action to keep their strength up.

*a Philippine business metaphor for a business that has an expensive overhead. You have to keep feeding hungry dangerous animals. Used to describe factories, aging buildings, and heavy machinery. Cant google a good reference, so I assume its a term used in the Philippines.
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