What Do the Simulation's ACTIONS Really Mean?
Another key fact about OFMOS is that its mechanics were developed not by mix-and-matching some popular game mechanics, but by distilling a theoretical model that explains how corporations evolve over long periods of time. In other words, what we really have here is a mechanical business simulation, where its actions and events are simple representations of the real world.
So what are we simulating?
LAUNCH = Launch a new product in an existing geographic market, launch an existing product in a new geographic market, or launch a new product in a new geographic market. In any case, the required payment represents the product development and launch costs.
LAUNCH WITH PUSH = Launch a product that is in direct competition with one of your opponent’s products, causing it to lose some of its perceived value in that market. As a special type of launch, the action requires the same payment.
OPERATE, MOVE DOWN = Operate the business around a product in a particular market, focusing on go-to-market and operational efficiency. With revenues that exceed costs, the action generates a profit. Yet, as more customers are buying the product, its perceived value and the profit gradually declines in the long run (a.k.a. commoditization).
OPERATE, MOVE DOWN WITH KILL = Operate the business around a product, squeezing out of the market one of your opponent’s products. Deliberately bring your product in direct competition, profitably making it a more attractive alternative for all potential customers.
OPERATE, MOVE LATERALLY = Operate the business around a product, while changing the product’s complexity. Whether a simplification or an increase in functionality (a.k.a. product innovation), the additional costs required will cancel out the revenue, generating no profit or loss.
OPERATE, MOVE LATERALLY WITH KILL = Operate the business around a product, while changing the product’s complexity (a.k.a. product innovation) to directly challenge and squeeze out of the market one of your opponent’s products. The additional costs exceed the revenue, so the action requires a payment.
OPERATE, MOVE UP = Operate the business around a product, while altering the business environment or the nature of the demand for the product to increase its perceived value (a.k.a. value innovation). The additional costs exceed the revenue, so the action requires a payment.
EXIT FROM THE BOTTOM ROW = Retire a product at the end of its life cycle, when it becomes obsolete. Collect the operational profit one last time.
EXIT FROM ANYWHERE (EXCEPT THE BOTTOM ROW) = Retire a product early, before the entire market opportunity has been capitalized upon. This lost stream of income translates into a required payment.
ALIGN, NEW ALIGNMENT = Share resources among some of your products (a.k.a. synergy) creating increased efficiencies or higher productivity, and thus higher profitability. This translates into a bonus.
ALIGN, ADDITION TO EXISTING ALIGNMENT = Share resources among some of your products (a.k.a. synergy) creating increased efficiencies or higher productivity, and thus higher profitability. This translates into a bonus.
CONVERSIONS = Divest some of the products and the associated businesses, while acquiring the capabilities new products that have the potential of bringing in more cash. The income generated by the divestiture is offset by the cost of acquiring new capabilities, which leads to no profit or loss.
ROLL AGAIN = Take an earned new chance. After making preparations to launch a new product, something changes at the last minute and the launch is cancelled. And while those preparation costs translate into a required payment, the experience gained earns you another chance of launching a product.
Nevertheless, OFMOS was designed to also be enjoyed for its simple abstract play. The image above, which is the fourth and last page from the instructions document, shows the reduced amount of business knowledge that the players need to really start enjoying it.
And once they start seeing the world though this lens, things will only get more interesting and there will be not going back! :)