Pressing an object with a blade’s edge does more than the same force used to press with the flat. In much the same way, and in many games, concentrated value has greater impact than distributed value. We’ve seen this rule of thumb crop up before and we will no doubt see it again. Today’s post on distributed vs concentrated value is the third and final in a series that looks at cross-game strategic ideas raised in coverage of an Offworld Trading Company match.
(14:57-15:21) Player Portia earns a moment of critique by commentator philothanic as he spots her buying a little bit of stock in each of the other players, rather than buying a lot into one player or using the money on buying production efficiency upgrades at her Optimization Center. Focusing on threatening one player can create actual windows for a buyout on the target which in turn results in income from a subsidiary. Investing in optimization upgrades increases the rate of resource production and therefore would also result in greater income.
(18:41-19:05) Philothanic later revisits the pitfalls of Portia’s earlier distributed stock purchasing as opposed to focusing on a single person. The distributed stocks still paint something of a target on Portia’s head, as anybody who acquires them as a subsidiary will also pick up their stock holdings. Fortunately for Portia they went largely unnoticed, underestimated, and unpunished this game. Strong player Rhahi noted in the video’s comments, “Portia’s play was suboptimal, but the suboptimal play seems to have dissuaded others from attacking them. The market also was in favor of the things Portia was in: water, power, electronics. If those market died, Portia would have stalled out (which didn’t happen).” Well put. Portia ended up taking this game, but made plays that in some ways deserved a punish that never came.