This is an AutoGeneratedTextVersion of BlackThursday

Title: Black Thursday
Version Number: 0.3.0?
Version Date: August 21, 2003
Copyright © 2003 by Clark D. Rodeffer,
Number of Players: 3 or 4
Duration: Approximately 40 minutes
Equipment Needed: one standard piecepack, opaque bag or similar, flat playing

Black ThursdayA piecepack game in which History Repeats Itself
IntroductionOn your way to work at one of New York’s most prestigious investment
firms, you consider the successesof the past fiscal year:
“I have been blessed,” you reflect. “My portfolio is diverse, yet strong in all
areas. SickleMoon Steel is having record sales in the midwest where those new
tractors are pulling largerand heavier plows. A bumper cotton crop has made Sun
Textiles a real winner in theCarolinas. Clean Arms Chemical just built that new
plant in California. And who would haveguessed that Crown Petroleum would find so
much oil in Oklahoma? Yes, I have beenblessed. However, since summer the market
seems to be a bit bearish. Perhaps I should justtake profits on a few shares and
treat the family to a nice Florida vacation for the winter?”
Thursday, October 24, 1929. You are a New York investor floating an economic
bubble that’sabout to burst. Suddenly caught in the market panic, you use shrewd
trading (and a bit ofluck) to get rid of as much stock as possible and avoid
jumping out any windows.
SetupEach player takes a pawn and the matching die. Shuffle all twenty-four tiles
face down, thenarrange them into a two tile by twelve tile vertical rectangle as
shown. Shake all twenty-fourcoins in an opaque bag, from which each player then
randomly draws five coins. Each playermay look at his or her own coins, but they
should be kept face-down so other players won’tknow their values.
ExplanationsThe tile layout represents the Wall Street skyscraper where your
investment firm has its offices. Each ofthe four grid spaces of face-down tiles
represent brokerage offices. Each of the four corner areas of face-up tiles
represent windows of opportunity, with the pip corners representing windows of
great opportunity.The pawns represent the individual investors as they move
through the building. Coins represent stockcertificates worth various numbers of
shares. Ace through five represent one through five shares ofcommon stock,
respectively; and null represents one share of preferred stock. Stock
certificates areavailable from four different companies represented by the
piecepack suits: moons represent SickleMoon Steel, suns represent Sun Textiles,
arms represent Clean Arms Chemical, and crowns representCrown Petroleum. The five
stock certificates each player starts with represent his or her initial
investmentportfolio, and those remaining in the bag represent additional stock
certificates available in the market.The dice are used to determine what type and
how many action points an investor will get on his or herturn. Neither the pips
on the coins nor the values of the tiles have any meaning in Black Thursday.
PlayTo begin, everyone rolls his or her die. Lowest roll goes first (ace is one),
re-rolling any nulls or ties.Thereafter turns progress clockwise. The first
player places his or her pawn on one of the spaces at the

top of the building then rolls for action points (null is opportunity, ace is
On a roll of opportunity, a player must either open or close a window of
opportunity somewhere in the
building. This is done by flipping any one unoccupied tile and rotating it to any
facing the player desires.
On a roll of one through five, a player must use every action point to do any
combination of the followingactions, in any order he or she wishes. Each action
requires one action point. Players who have troublekeeping track of their
remaining action points may use their dice to count them down.
? Move one space. Movement is always down the building and may be either
orthogonal or diagonal, but never onto a space occupied by another pawn.Only one
action point may be spent moving. If a player moves his or herpawn off the bottom
(ground floor) of the building, he or she leaves themarket and may no longer buy,
sell or trade stock. However, he or she stillrolls for action points on every
turn and may still trade information, actionpoints, turns or future privileges,
may still influence windows of opportunity,and may still be penalized for failure
to fulfill trade agreements.
? Buy one stock certificate from the market. There are usually plenty ofinvestors
trying to sell their stock certificates, so cost is negligible; just drawone from
the bag. If no stock certificates remain in the bag, action points cannot bespent
buying from the market. More than one action point per turn may be spent
buyingstock certificates from the market as long as stock certificates are
? Trade stock certificates in the market. Place one or more of your own stock
into the bag, shake, and draw an equal number of replacement stock certificates.
If thereare no stock certificates already in the bag, an action point cannot be
spent trading in themarket. In any case, a maximum of one action point per turn
may be spent trading stockcertificates in the market.
? Offer to trade any amount of stock, information, action points, turns, or
future privileges
with any other players. Trading is the heart of Black Thursday, and trade
sessions may
take many forms including two-way, three-way and four-way deals. Any players who
areinvolved in a given trading session are allowed to make or withdraw offers and
counter-offers, either until a trade agreement is reached or until any one player
withdraws fromthe trading session. On a given turn, a player may use any number
of action points toinitiate trading sessions, but each trading session must
include a different group ofplayers. In other words, at least one player must be
different in each trading session.Also, a player may not waste or delay action
points by trading with himself or herself. Ifany player fails to fulfill his or
her trade agreement, he or she must accept two randompenalty stock certificates
from the injured player’s portfolio. Sometimes it becomesadvantageous to accept
this penalty! Some examples of legal trade offers include:
? I’ll trade one of my Sickle Moon Steel stock certificates for any of your
preferredstock certificates.? I’ll trade all of my Clean Arms Chemical stock
certificates for all of your SunTextiles stock certificates.? I’ll buy one of
your Crown Petroleum stock certificates for nothing.? I’ll trade one stock
certificate worth five shares for any two of your stockcertificates.? I’ll buy
one stock certificate from the market if you’ll buy two shares of mycommon
stock.? I’ll trade you nothing for nothing.? I’ll buy all of your Sun Textiles
stock certificates for nothing if you can convinceso-and-so to buy all of my
Crown Petroleum stock certificates.? I’ll tell you the values of all of my Clean
Arms Chemical stock certificates in

return for three action points from your next turn(s).? I’ll trade one of my
action points for use on your next turn if you’ll tell me thevalues of all of
your Sun Textiles stock certificates.? I’ll tell you everything I know about so-
and-so’s portfolio if you’ll tell me thevalues of all of your stock
certificates.? I’ll buy all of your Sickle Moon Steel stock certificates for the
privilege ofcontrolling your next window of opportunity action.? I’ll buy all of
your Clean Arms Chemical stock certificates if you’ll move yourpawn directly in
front of so-and-so’s pawn on your next turn.? I’ll buy any two of your common
stock certificates for the privilege of controllingyour entire next turn.? I’ll
buy one stock certificate from the market if you’ll move your pawn diagonallyon
your next turn.? I’ll sell you the privilege of controlling my entire next turn
if you’ll buy all of mySickle Moon Steel stock certificates.
? Sell one stock certificate from a window of opportunity. After moving onto or
within a
window of opportunity, you must immediately spend one more action point to place
oneof your stock certificates that matches the suit of the window of opportunity
tile uponwhich your pawn rests into the bag. If you have no matching stock
certificates oravailable action points, your investor becomes depressed over the
missed window ofopportunity and jumps out of the skyscraper window to his or her
demise. He or she mustaccept one randomly chosen stock certificate from every
other player who is still in thebuilding, then he or she may no longer buy, sell
or trade anything for the rest of thegame.
? Sell several of your stock certificates from a window of great opportunity.
After moving
onto a window of great opportunity, you must immediately spend one more action
pointto place one or more of your stock certificates that match the suit of the
window of greatopportunity pip upon which your pawn rests into the bag. If you
have no matching stockcertificates or available action points, your investor
becomes depressed over the missedwindow of great opportunity and jumps out of the
skyscraper window to his or herdemise. He or she must accept two randomly chosen
stock certificates from every otherplayer who is still in the building, then he
or she may no longer buy, sell or trade anythingfor the rest of the game.
Ending & WinningThe game ends when the penultimate player’spawn leaves the
building, whether by exiting offthe ground floor or by jumping from a window
ofmissed opportunity. At that time, the player withthe least number of common
shares in his orher portfolio (aces are one, preferred shares arezero) wins. Ties
are decided by whoever hasthe fewest number of stock certificates. If two ormore
players still tie, then the game is a draw.Note that it is possible (albeit
unlikely) for aplayer to win even if they jumped from awindow of missed
VariantsThe default two by twelve tile vertical rectangleseems to give the most
player interaction, aswell as provides ample opportunity for playersto sell their
stock certificates. For a faster and

somewhat easier game, try a three tile by eight tile vertical rectangle, a three
tile by seven tile verticalrectangle topped by a three tile pyramid, or some
other vaguely skyscraper shaped arrangement. For aslower and much more
treacherous game, try a one tile by fifteen tile vertical rectangle.
Another variant worth noting is to begin with a different number of stock
certificates. Increasing the initialnumber of stock certificates tends to put
more emphasis on trading, whereas decreasing the initialnumber of stock
certificates puts more emphasis on chance. Different initial numbers of stock
certificatescan also serve as a means for handicapping players of unequal skill.
Historical BackgroundAlthough few living people still remember the 1929 stock
market crash, thousands of historical accountsexamine the events leading up to
and following those fateful autumn days. A few references are given inthe next
section for those who are interested in learning more.
To summarize, the “roaring” 1920s saw great growth in the United States economy.
Unfortunately, thatgrowth wasn’t stable. The instability was due, at least in
part, to a vicious cycle of extravagance whichled to increased credit use, which
led to overvalued stock prices which led to widespread speculativeinvestment,
which led to greedy profit taking, which fed back into still more extravagance.
Investing inthe stock market had become the new American pass-time, at least as
exciting as baseball, and morelegitimate than gambling. Eventually, stock prices
peaked in late summer 1929 when banks no longerwanted to risk extending more
credit. With the loss of credit as a capital source, sales alone were unableto
support the growth necessary to keep speculative investors interested. Stock
prices fell, and investorshurried to get out of the market while the getting was
good. It was Black Thursday. On Friday, there wasa brief turn-around as richer
investors hunted for bargains among the prior day’s rubble, but it was toolittle,
too late. The downward momentum had begun, and by Monday and Tuesday the market
was infree fall. Low stock prices scared creditors, who demanded repayment.
Companies cut both jobs andprices, even selling existing inventory at a loss,
just to placate their creditors. But the steadily decliningprices only encouraged
newly out-of-work consumers to wait for better jobs and better deals. For
many,those hopes were never realized. The roaring 1920s were nothing but a fond
BibliographyBierman, Harold Jr., “The Causes of the 1929 Stock Market Crash: A
Speculative Orgy or a New Era?”
Contributions in Economics and Economic History no. 195, 1998.
Chase, Stuart, Prosperity: Fact or Myth, 1929.Geisst, Charles R., Wall Street: A
History, 1999.
Liebovich, Louis W., Bylines in Despair: Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression,
and the U.S. News
Media, 1994.
Revision History0.0.1, April 14, 2003: initial concept, title, headers, license,
introduction, background research0.0.2, April 15, 2003: updated introduction,
setup, explanations, play, ending & winning, variants0.0.3, April 16, 2003:
historical background, bibliography, graphics, style editing, converted to
PDF0.0.4, April 17, 2003: graphic updates, grammar and style editing,
typesetting0.1.0?, April 18, 2003: action point rules clarification, first
internal play test version0.2.0?, April 21, 2003: revised trading session rules,
limit market trades to one per turn0.2.1?, April 22, 2003: minor corrections,
rewording and clarification, first external play test version0.3.0?, Aug. 21,
2003: limited movement to one space per turn, strengthened windows of opportunity
LicenseCopyright © 2003 by Clark D. Rodeffer. Permission is granted to copy,
distribute and/ormodify this document under the terms of the GNU Free
Documentation License, Version1.1 or any later version published by the Free
Software Foundation; with no InvariantSections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no
Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license can befound at