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Check out these tips and tricks for Big$hot, courtesy of Rusty Axe Games CEO Lennard Feddersen.

Q: What properties will help my business grow?

A: Players will start to enjoy higher profits and sharing of costs whenever they own more than one property of a type. Additionally they can purchase properties like media companies, construction businesses and realty companies that will further reduce their costs as they advertise, build and sell any of their properties.

Q: Why is the cash offer in Build A Deal allowed to exceed the amount of cash I have available?

A: Every player has a credit line with their cap. being based upon their equity and their credit rating. The cash offer can go up to the max of their line of credit.

Q: Under my players avatar it says cash: $4,733 / $39,205, which is it?

A: In this case your player has $4,733 – the second number refers to your available credit line, in this case $39,205.

Q: Is it better to conserve cash or spend it?

A: Big$hot has an economic model that causes property values to increase as time goes by – due to this it is better to invest whenever good deals are available than to have your money remain idle. Additionally, if you spend $5,000 to increase your efficiency in a business by $1,000 a month then, in 5 months time, you will be $1,000 ahead every month.

Q: Why does my monthly profit not match the projection that I see when I go to my portfolio?

A: Projections are estimates – in a given month when all factors (quality, efficiency, economic condtions) are equal you will still see some variance in actual earnings. Profits can vary, up or down, by as much as 20% depending upon your property type and bills can vary by as much as 10%.

Q: What is a super brand?

A: Any business that has a 5 star quality rating and 90% or better traffic will become a super brand. Super brands will cause competitors that are not also super brands to lose traffic every turn as they struggle to compete. Super brand properties will also be more profitable as they are able to command better prices for their highly sought after products. Super brands do not hurt other properties of the same type owned by the same owner.

Q: I haven’t ordered any advertising and yet my long term traffic rating is higher than it is right now – how can this be?

A: This is because you have enough current traffic and a high enough quality rating that your traffic can be expected to inch upwards in the current economy even without further advertising. You may still decide to advertise to accelerate this process and, in fact, if one or more of your competitors has a super brand then you will need to advertise to become a super brand or they will, over time, steal all of your customers.

Q: I notice that my advertising costs go down if I advertise all properties in a chain. Why is this?

A: Once you own multiple properties of a type the game implicitly creates a chain for you so that you can advertise the entire brand or just a single property. Advertising the whole brand at once is less expensive, the only reason you might choose not to do this is if you don’t have enough money or if some of your stores in the chain are already near or at 100% traffic already.

Q: If I buy a distressed property will I inherit its bills as well?

A: No, all bills will revert to the previous owner. Creditors will immediately seize any cash proceeds from the sale to pay their debts, any remaining cash after they are paid will go to the original owner.

Q: How do I decide when it is a good time to advertise?

A: Advertising gives you two benefits. In the first month after you run a campaign your traffic will spike, giving you the return the game tells you about plus about half of the traffic increase will stick with your business long term. For example, if a media blitz is going to cost you $7500 and you will earn an additional $3500 the next month then your long term traffic increase (usually about half of the spike) will have cost you $3500.

Q: I have noticed that sometimes the computer controlled players will pay more than face value for a property. Under what circumstances might this be a good idea?

A: There are a number of reasons why one might consider over paying for a property. For example if a property is profitable then you might weigh the down payment against the monthly profit and decide, on that basis alone, that a property is worth paying more than face value. A property might also complement a current property you own so the decrease in upgrade costs and the extra profitability across the chain will enter into your decision making process. Lastly, if you can afford to acquire and hold on to a property then doing so is also a strategic move because then the other players won’t be able control the property.

Q: Why does my net worth sometimes slip even though I didn’t acquire any bad properties, fail to pay a bill and all I did was improve my properties last turn.

A: Look at the lower left corner of your game screen where you will see the state of the economy and what is projected for the following month. If you are in a poor or recessionary economy and the outlook is for things to further decline towards depression then you can easily lose net worth. Smart players will take notice of a downturn in the economy and not buy properties that are losing more money than they are earning. On the other hand, a rising economy will mean that all of the properties in your portfolio will be increasing in value – this is an opportunity to grow your portfolio with companies that might even put you at a slight negative in earnings as the growing economy will mean that all of your properties will earn more in the months ahead – just be careful to not overextend. Any distressed properties purchased during an economic upturn will need to be stabilized before the economy inevitably heads south again or you will find yourself unable to pay your bills and losing your new properties to foreclosure.

Q: Is bill juggling ever a useful strategy in Big$hot?

A: In certain cases it will make sense for you to juggle your bills to avoid losing properties to foreclosure. This will happen primarily when you are in a poor economy and you expect that rising revenues will allow you to pay off all debts if you can just hang on. For example, you may have 150K in debt at months end and 105K in cash. In this scenario you have an expensive gas station property that is two months in arrears and has 90K in debt and a few less expensive properties that are up to date with their bills.

Remembering that properties that are in arrears for three months will get foreclosed upon, you might choose to pay the gas station’s bills so that it is up to date and then allow some or all of the lesser properties to fall into arrears with the expectation that rising revenues will allow you to save them in the coming months as well. This strategy can work especially if the next economic upswing allows you to upgrade your gas station so that it will be profitable next time the economy heads south. You will take credit rating hits for not paying your bills on time but this is typically preferable to actually losing an expensive property.

One more thing to think about – if you can’t pay all of your bills and the economy is heading south then you will need to sell off, deal away or choose a property to let go of as you won’t typically be able to hang onto all of your properties under these circumstances.

Q: I’ve got a property that I think I’m going to lose to foreclosure. Help!

A: There are a few strategies you can use with upside down properties. First, is the economy improving? If it is then you should consider bill juggling, ie. paying bills only on properties in danger of being foreclosured upon as you will have more income in the coming months as the economy improves. If you think that there is no way that you will be able to hold on then the best thing to do is to put the company up for sale if it has more equity than debt and to stop paying its bills. The reason for this is that all of your companies are treated as LLC’s and therefore your bills are compartmentalized – if you sell a property then you have to pay its bills before the transaction goes through but if you lose a company to foreclosure then its bills disappear with the title deed.

Q: I have a good company, 5 stars in both quality and efficiency and my traffic is at 70% – why then am I losing traffic every month?

A: As touched on briefly above, if one of your competitors has a super brand then it will steal traffic from all competitor companies of the same kind that are not super brands. Advertising a company that is competing with a super brand will reduce the effectiveness of a super brand and also help to push the company under attack to become a super brand. Super brands are safe from other super brands.

Q: What advanced strategies will give me the edge when playing for high scores on Pro level?

A: Big$hot experts will learn several important techniques to give them the edge. The first is to simply do their homework – when you have limited funds then spend on the set of upgrades that is going to give you the most return for your money in the short run. The second is to get a feel for how much you can stretch your resources – buying another property that loses more than your net income but that will add to a chain you already own in a growing economy is a risk reward situation that you will need to learn when to go for and when to avoid.

Balancing your bills will cost you a little bit of credit rating if you decide to not pay a few bills but can give you the cash on hand advantage to pay for unexpected repairs, to upgrade a property that needs it before the next economic downturn or to win an auction that gives you another important property.

Lastly, notice that you can not only review your portfolio but you can also look over your competitors books. It’s OK to lose an auction today if that competitor is not going to be able to hold onto that property long term anyhow – also, gauging when a competitor is in trouble will help you decide when to make an offer for a property and… when to let them dangle for a little bit longer, letting your funds build while they spend another month underwater. Don’t wait too long though – the property you want might just be scooped up by another competitor who is looking to expand their portfolio with that same prize property!