Hi, I’ve just tried a few versions of a way of playing the start of the game which feels weird, but seems to make financial sense (unless I’m missing something).
The high level is to start a game, place down a number of research stations, then do absolutely nothing until you’ve researched the initial 5 specialisation techs. At that point, jump directly to the second tier of factory slots and skip all the tier 1 all-in-one slots completely.
It sounds mad, but the numbers seem to work out.
I placed 5 research stations at the start of my game, and by 05:42 I’d researched the 5 root slot specialisations. The research stations cost me $245k in capital investment, but I’d have needed those anyway.
Running the factory and the research stations for that time cost me only $8394 per hour, so about $43,000 in total.
Why do this? Well, I avoid a complete round of retooling, which is actually really expensive. Placing all the tier 1 slots then destroying them will cost $243120 in lost money, so doing absolutely nothing for nearly 6 game hours and jumping directly to tier 2 actually saves you about $200k at the start of the game.
The other element that makes this work is that the tier 1 slots aren’t much cheaper than placing a full line of tier 2 slots. Chassis Assembly costs $67200, while the much more efficient Fit Axles, Fit Undercarriage and Fit Fuel Tank will cost $73920 in total. That’s $6720 more, but if you never build Chassis Assembly in the first place, you’re saving $33600 in retooling costs.
You can take this further, too. Running the factory for 07:43 hours with 5 research stations will unlock Bodyframe Specialisation for an extra $18000 in overheads, but would save $60480 in retooling away from Fit Bodyframe, plus you’re then a long way to having the fully expanded production line.
The last thing I thought was that maybe losing out on early income from selling cars would offset this, but I just tried a full tier 1 slot factory for 05:42 hours, and I brought 4 cars to market in that time. I’m somehow losing more money per hour building and selling cars (25% premium!) than I was just doing research and paying rent.
It feels like actually playing the early game might be a financial trap vs. just doing nothing except research in an otherwise empty factory.
Some not very well though through suggestions for possible tweaks that would at least make me think differently about how to play the early game:
- Increase factory rent quite a lot, and rebalance by reducing some car production costs, e.g. wages, components, raw materials. Make “doing something” comparatively more profitable than “doing nothing”.
- Have the tier 2 slot total cost to do an operation a lot more expensive than tier 1 version, possibly by both reducing the cost of tier 1 and increasing tier 2. Cheaper tier 1 would mean tier 1 was cheaper to retool from, and it would be cheaper to run multiple tier 1 in parallel as an early game way to increase production while saving up for a tier 2 layout. Tier 1 still suffers from poor resource management and doesn’t allow fitting advanced components, so player still need to migrate away from it over time. More expensive tier 2 would make it less financially viable to use it from the start of the game and feel like more of a goal.
- Somehow be more generous with retooling costs, maybe especially if you are retooling from tier 1 to tier 2 of the same process. Like, you already have these parts from destroying Chassis Assembly, so your next Fit Axles, Fit Undercarriage and Fit Fuel Tank are cheaper to place. Lots of edge cases with that, though! Again, the idea would be to reduce the effective cost of actually using the tier 1 slots.
Hope that’s all of some use, and curious to see if others have tried this opening!