Beat Japan: Players Handbook

Short Term Moves: Improve Product or Lower Prices

The following graphic illustrates how the system works. You want to get some of those "Spending $$$" the public has. How?

In the short term, you may lower your prices (and lower the profit margin on cars sold, but perhaps sell so many cars that it cancels out), or you may improve your product (which requires an investment in research and re-tooling, raising the cost to you - and the consumer) of each car. If you do that, you should spend some money on advertising to let folks know why it costs more.

Indirect Market Leverage: Coordinated Planning

You can increase your capacity to lower prices or improve products by the all sorts of ways. The most obvious way is through an advertising campaign (product or deal promotion). Psychologists have found that you can directly influence the buying habits of people through well-designed advertisign.

Here are three other ways you can increase profits. They may be much riskier than the short term strategies, but have much bigger payoffs if you plan them right.

  1. improving productivity (raising wages, improving working conditions, educating your workers, hire a production consultant, improving quality control)
  2. controlling the market buying out another company (mergers), lobbying for trade restrictions, getting government contracts for a guaranteed market, breaking a union).
  3. long term strategy: this requires a particular vision, where you forego the chance of short-term profits by banking on your ability to predict the future, or see more deeply into the market than your competitors.

Rules of the Game

a. Structure of one 10-minute "Business Cycle"

  1. Status Report: Trends of the Current Decade (1 minute)
  2. Consider Moves & "hire consultants" (5 minutes)
  3. Make Move (Allocate Funds to Various Strategies - 1 minutes)
  4. Results Calculated (depending on rate of return and chance of success, calculated from tables with percentile dice) (1 minute)
  5. Results Given with brief explanation. 2 minutes)

b. Possible Moves

  1. Short Term Tactic: PPP (Product Improvement/Change, Price Reduction, Promotional Campaign) You must invest $1M additionally in Promotion when you invest in any other area.
  2. Productivity Increase (Raise Wages, Improve Working Conditions, Educate Workers, Streamline Production, Improve Quality Control)
  3. Control Market (Merge with competitors, Lobby for Trade Restrictions on Japan, Get Government Contracts, Break Unions)
  4. Long Term Strategy: (R&D for New Production Techniques, R&D for New Materials & Products, Invest in Overseas Production)
  5. Hire Consultant (Specify area where advice is sought; one per move. Areas: Economic Outlook, R&D, Advertising, etc. Consulting advice may improve your chances of success.)

c. Minimum Investments

You must spend at least this much in any "box" if you attempt one of these choices. You begin the game with $10 Million.

  1. Short Term Tactic: $2 Million
  2. Productivity Increase: $1 Million
  3. Market Control Attempt: $10 Million
  4. Long Term Strategy: $5 Million
  5. Hire Consultant: $500,000

d. Suggested Team Strategy

  1. Take notes during "Trends of the Decade" briefing.
  2. Make a "Strategy Board" and place it on a desk to use with your chips.

  1. Place Chips on areas you will invest in. Discuss "example strategies" for each area. Offering a realistic strategy for your investment (per the teacher's assessment) raises your chance for success by 25%.
  2. Try to discover patterns. The probability of success, and the rate of return (how much you get back depending on how much you invest) are set down on a secret chart which the teachers uses to determine your success. By playing a number of rounds, you can learn these relationships, which were established by a stock market analyst and reflect a degree of reality about the relative costs and benefits of different kinds of moves.