Classic Game Review: Speculator
“At 6:49 am CST, Hong Kong Gold reports indicate that gold is weaker against the US dollar.” You quickly phone your broker and place an order to sell gold “short” (that is, sell gold you don’t currently have assuming you can buy it at a lower price before you have to “deliver”). In SPECULATOR, you have the opportunity to interpret news reports and estimate their effect on market conditions. Unlike many simulations that reflect price changes over weekly or monthly periods, SPECULATOR pretty much puts you in the pot. Simulates trading in “real time” with a scale of 1 minute of game time equal to 6 minutes of “real time”. The charts even allow you the privilege of watching your broker answer the phone and seeing the floor broker moving to the appropriate position to execute your order on the exchange floor.
The realism used in this simulation is remarkable. It can be bought at the current market value; buy below market value using an MIT. (Market if touched: it becomes an active market order when a certain price is reached). sell at a preset MIT. order; sell at a certain price OB (or better, will sell at a certain price or a higher price); sell shorts; use a spread order (simultaneous buying and selling of related contracts that are related to each other); using GTC (Good till Canceled – the order remains with the specialist on the exchange floor until a certain price or contingency is reached), OCO (One cancels Other – a compensation mechanism in which if a part of the order is completed, the other party is canceled) orders; and have the flexibility to execute orders at the immediate beginning of the trading session (when opening) or at the end of the session (when closing).
The effect of all of these options (although not all are immediately available to the first-level or “newbie” player and should be earned as a performance bonus as the player improves to “Profiteer” and “Floor Trader”) is give the player a more intimate understanding of the mechanics of futures markets. It also seems to allow the player to feel more “in charge” of the situation because he is able to communicate the EXACT conditions for the investment.
It is also a multiplayer simulation and one of the few “realistic” simulations based on real market conditions that allow it. TYCOON reflects actual market conditions and an excellent degree of realism, but only 1 investor can compete in the same market environment. In SPECULATOR, up to 6 players can compete at the same time. However, this feature also presents a problem. It is very difficult for more than one player to use the keyboard at the same time. When the market is about to open, there is only 1 minute to enter “On Open” orders, whether there is 1 player or 6. Also, since the market keeps moving, even when 1 player is in trade mode, there is an inherent advantage in entering one’s orders first. The scaled “real time” is a vital ingredient for the feeling of being there within the simulation, but either there must be some other way to provide information from the players other than from the keyboard or there must be a function that allows the “freeze “from” real time “until all players can enter their orders.
Another important factor is the data disk. Because events, contingencies, and price fluctuations are geared toward a 45-day actual profile of market conditions on three different exchanges (Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and New York Commodity Exchange), there is a significant correlation between what you can consume orange juice. what she does the first time you play and what May’s orange juice does every other time you play. To circumvent this trend towards equality.
The software plans to market several different data discs to reflect different market histories. These will be a welcome addition to the game as it will keep the game fresh and playable. Despite the fact that SPECULATOR allows the investor to play much closer to the market than its closest competitor, TYCOON.
However, it is more difficult to be a fundamentalist at SPECULATOR, as you only have a 30-day history chart to work from where TYCOON offered yearly stories for each product in chart form. It’s easier to be a SPECULATOR technician; However, since one can place a buy-sell order immediately after the news that will affect the basic supply and demand for the basic product hits the ticker symbol. For example, you read that meteorologists predict a severe east coast winter (not an actual event). This indicates that there could be a freeze in Florida that would reduce the supply of orange juice. Reduced supply means higher demand, which means higher future prices. Therefore, you want to buy orange juice futures before anyone else. At TYCOON, there is a clear advantage to following the news, but the price fluctuation has already started when the player reads about it. In SPECULATOR, the player has to move in a hurry before losing the advantage that the news gives him.
SPECULATOR is the first investment program I have seen that overshadows the fine line of investment simulations from Blue Chip Software in tutorial value. The two documentation books that are included with the program (the Game Manual, which explains everything from starting the program to how to place an order, and the Market Reference Guide, which explains everything from the size of a contract even factors that influence prices) are understandable and a valuable resource for perusing the financial pages and / or publications distributed by brokerages. Between the two brochures, almost every imaginable order is defined from both a real trading and gaming perspective.
SPECULATOR compares favorably with any other investment simulation on the market to date. It’s competitively priced for the entry-level game and should be an especially worthwhile investment with the addition of new data discs. I look forward to the projected release of a stock market simulation in the near future.