I wanted to make a separate post about Blogshares because it's a fun addictive game, especially for anyone who owns a blog.
The real goal of Blogshares is to create an index of blogs, hand-sorted into very specific categories for easy perusal. The game is the reward system surrounding the index; for every blog you sort into a category or remove from the index because it's "dead," you get chips which are worth millions of blogshares dollars (B$) which you can then use to purchase various commodities and increase your wealth. Thus, the more you time you put into the game, the wealthier you become.
Of course, this all means that as long as you keep working the index, there's no real way to lose - your wealth will keep increasing over time. However, to truly advance up the overall game rankings, you will have to play the system intelligently and, this is the truly addicting part to me, collect all the different artifacts and ideas in the game.
It's also great to see your blog in the index and all the links going to and from it. As an owner, you get 1,000 free shares in your own blog and any shares in your blog that you own cannot be stolen from you. I find it a lot of fun to watch your blog expand and grow over time.
Here's a brief overview of the important aspects of the game and some things to do when you're starting out. For a more thorough explanation of everything here, check out the complete rules on the website.
The basis for everything in the game are the blogs themselves, which are valued on the number of incoming and outgoing links they have. Blogs with large numbers of incoming links will be very valuable and, as a result, their outgoing links will be valuable as well. One incoming link from a big blog can be worth much more than several incoming links from smaller blogs. This is the backbone of the game.
Your overall ranking is determined by your individual ranking in six major categories: Wealth, Chips, Ideas, Artifacts, Karma, and Sigma. I'll briefly go through each one:
Plain and simple, your B$, your liquid assets. Gained by selling shares and...
Primarily gained by 1) Voting on blogs 2) Finding dead blogs and 3) Adding new blogs to the index. Currently worth between 25-30 million in B$, you need them to gain the cash to buy shares, ideas, and artifacts. I find it's really hard to gain rankings in this in the beginning because you need the money. But after a while you may want to starting building up your stock to increase your ranking.
Ideas are produced by blogs that have been voted into their respective categories. They can be kept as investments or used to build artifacts. Ideas can't be stolen so they're pretty safe in that regard, but their price fluctuates over time so you do need to keep and eye on their indicators.
Aside from being collectible fun, artifacts are critical tools in the game, used to take over blogs, drive their prices up and down, and get free ideas if they're available on the market. They're made from using 10,000 ideas in their respective industry. Obviously the money these various ideas are worth is lost when you create an artifact, meaning certain artifacts could cost you tens of billions of B$. While some players view these artifacts as unnecessary, you can reap back quite a bit of your investment by raiding the market of free (expensive) ideas and then reselling them. I tend to view artifacts as a sunk cost - you need them to increase your overall ranking anyway and anything you recoup from your investment later on from raiding blogs for free ideas is just gravy. Yes, this will take you much longer to increase your net worth, but it will be much easier for you to maintain it in the long run.
I also love writing new artifact descriptions. New artifacts are randomly released by game moderators from time to time and they pick new ones out of suggestions written in the forum. So far, I've written the descriptions for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television (Captain James T. Kirk), the New England Patriots (Bill Belichick), and the New York Mets (Tom Terrific).
Karma is earned by voting blogs into correctly voting blogs their respective categories, correctly being the key word here; you lost karma with sloppy voting, maybe even garnering a censure or a fine if it's a continuing problem. The key threshold for karma is 750, which gets your double daily artifact usage. One of your initial goals in the game should be reaching that level ASAP.
Sigma is earned by both adding new blogs to the index and reporting dead ones for deletion. Sigma is much, much easier to earn than karma because of one key recent addition to the game: The Dead Blog Finder. Once you reach 100 sigma, you can use the DBF, which then lets you easily gain up to 400 sigma every 24hrs (not to mention 4,000 chips too). Reaching 100 sigma should be another early goal (try using the random blog link to quickly find dead blogs, you net more chips/blog with that method too) .
There are two ways to play the game: passively or aggressively. I prefer the former, but I'll go over both here.
To me, since wealth is pretty much unlimited given the fact you can always earn and sell chips by attending to the index, I've found that passively increasing your wealth is fun and kind of a "safe play" because you're not pissing people off by raiding their portfolios.
Playing passively you should keep earning and selling chips, find, add, and subsequently buy blogs (once they're in the index) that have a lot of links and will become very valuable over time. There are a TON of very popular blogs out there that aren't in the index yet. Finding them and buying them cheaply can greatly increase your wealth over time (this is long-term profit we're talking about here, not short term).
Of course, you've still got to defend yourself from players who will try and steal your blogs. This is where your artifacts and karma come in. Artifacts are your trump card; they're used to both steal blogs and to get them back. The more artifacts you have, the more likely you are to be able to recover a blog from someone. However, you can only use each artifact once every 24hrs... that is, unless you have over 750 karma. Once you reach that level, you can use each artifact twice per day, a huge advantage. You only gain karma by voting blogs into their correct categories in the index, a very slow and tedious process. But you really can't be a top player until you reach that level.
I find passive play enjoyable because it's relatively stress-free and I really enjoy finding valuable blogs that haven't made it into the index (or are owned by someone who hasn't played in a couple years - those blogs are fair game). Plus collecting artifacts is like Pokemon on crack.
Well, to some addictive personality types anyway. :-)
Aggressive players act by making huge, short-term profits off stealing the most valuable blogs in the game at a low price, driving the price up using their artifacts, then selling it at an immense profit.
You can make a lot of money over a very short period of time using this method and it has the added advantage of being exciting and fun - think of it like playing the Zerg in "Starcraft"; speedy, deadly, reckless. Many of the aspects of passive play still apply: you still need artifacts and karma, you still need to earn chips and sigma, but you'll likely make some enemies within the game and need to find allies by joining or creating a corporation (something you can do anyways, but in aggressive play it's almost mandatory).
Aggressive play is probably the closest the game gets to a video game, one of the reasons it's so alluring to many. To have to plan out (and coordinate) your raids and be vigilant at protecting your assets, always be on guard. My schedule isn't really conducive to this round-the-clock alertness, one of the reasons I prefer the former style. But to those who have the time, energy, and stratgery, it can be exceptionally thrilling and rewarding.
Lastly a bit of advice on what to do if you're starting out.
1. I recommend getting a premium membership. It's only $15 for a year and it offers you huge benefits towards playing the game. Of course, playing WITHOUT premium is a tremendous challenge and some people may prefer that.
2. Introduce yourself in the forum. Players will often welcome you with free shares and chips. Booyah!
3. Buy some shares, make some profit. Full instructions on how to do this can be found here.
4. Build up your karma and sigma by voting on blogs and deleting and adding them to the index. Remember 750 karma gives you double artifact usage and 100 sigma allows you use of the Dead Blog Finder. Reaching both levels is critical.
5. Buy all the cheap, common artifacts. Many of the most common artifacts like the Oxford Dictionary (for English language blogs) and the Stud and Morrighan (blogs written by males and females respectively) only cost B$1,700 because their ideas are so plentiful.
6. Lastly, think about joining (or starting if you're a premium member) a corporation. The biggest corporations get a terrific interest rate on the money invested in them and are well worth joining. Ask around to find one that fits your style of play.
Well, that's my plug. I reiterate my offer that if anyone has a Lost blog and I own the shares to it, I'll gift them away if they join (well, except for DarkUFO. His shares I'm keepin'). :-)