The new Cargo Mat trait looks like an extremely nifty feature with lots of versatility.
I was previously planning to use Map Windows for company charters in a module for an 18xx prototype, but now I’m considering using Cargo Mats for company charters.
What is your experience with Cargo Mats?
Do Cargo Mats stack when loaded?
If so, does the cargo get “confused” as to which mat it is on when stacked with other loaded mats?
If loaded Cargo Mats stack, can they be stacked in order of their names?
Can Cargo Mats start a game Pre-loaded with pieces?
Can a Cargo Mat hold a deck as cargo?
Can pieces or decks starting on the Cargo Mat be “assigned” a particular spot like an At Start Stack on a Map Window?
How difficult is it to unload a piece of cargo and directly move that former cargo to another Map Window? Could this be done in a single drag action like moving a piece from one Map Window to another?
How difficult is it to load a piece of cargo?
Physical 18xx games have company charters which function like a player board for a company. Each company that is active in a game has a director, or president, who is one of the players who makes all the decisions for the company, and manipulates the company’s pieces. The company charter is usually located in the player area of its director. Items that are commonly kept on company charters include: the cash in the company’s treasury, cards or pieces representing trains currently owned by the company, station tokens which are pieces representing train stations that may be placed on the map board, and cards representing stock certificates owned by the company. Generally, a company’s director is the player with the most shares of that company’s stock. Since stock is bought and sold during the game the directorship of a company can change, and if it does, the charter with its contents is usually moved to the new director’s play area.
Before Cargo Mats were introduced I was planning to use Map Windows for company charters, but now I’m wondering if Cargo Mats might be more appropriate. Either way, I’m planning to: abstract the company cash as explained in https://forum.vassalengine.org/t/financial-transactions-in-vassal/73431, use cards for the trains and stock certificates, and use pieces for the station tokens with the station tokens and possibly the company’s stock certificates starting on the charter (the specific prototype starts with incremental capitalization). If I use Map Windows, I’m planning on having At Start Stacks for the station tokens and a deck for the stock certificates. I’m not sure how this would be handled using Cargo Mats.
Map Windows are easy to display or hide, but this prototype has 48 companies needing charters. So that would be a whole lot of Map Windows (the module will also have a Map Window for the board, stock market price chart, the bank, the box (out of play area), and each of seven potential players). Most likely there would be less than 30 companies active at any one time. So if Cargo Mats were used, charters for companies not currently in play could be kept in “the box”, a Map or Chart Window for storing components not in play, and not clutter the play area. Also, using Cargo Mats and keeping inactive ones in “the box” would reduce confusion about about which companies are active.
A charter as a Cargo Mat in the director’s Map Window would likely provide a stronger visual association with the director than the director’s name displayed in the company’s Map Window, if that were used as a charter.
“A penny for your thoughts.”