Small or Far Away, Father Dougal on Cows
Things are working out for good or for ill in cow-land. Soon it will be time to start in with the projection numbers (Yay Numbers!) but for this week there is a bit more, possibly useful, theory stuff. Last season I was asked the very good question “when should we sell cows?” Back then, I could only give some general answers. Now I can do better. I present to you “Father Dougal’s Two Stages of Cow Growth” and “Father Dougal’s Three Guidelines for Selling Cows.”
The two stages are simple, Raw and Ripe. A cow is Ripe when it’s current price is high enough that a high score results in a high price. A cow is Raw when it’s current price is too low for a high sore to result in a high price. Examples below:
Assume a Spherical Cow….
Well, not really, but please do assume a baseline cow who scores 70 every week. While a real player will vary some week to week, long term there is not a practical difference for this purpose.
Our baseline cow averaging 70 a round will hit about $343,000 at R13. It will probably be worth selling sooner, as the growth slows down rapidly after about R7-8.
Nobby the Cow does the same as the baseline cow R1 and a great R2 of 110 and back to normal after that. He gets a faster start, and is about a week ahead. He did score more points after all. But his price rises a lot after he goes back to scoring 70s. He is still Raw at R2.
Fred the cow scores his 110 on round 5. He shoots right up in price, but even after three rounds of that 110 in his price cycle, his price is still rising after it leaves. He is still Raw at R5.
Sam the cow scores his 110 on R6. When the 110 leaves his three round average, his price drops. Sam is (barely) Ripe as of R6.
Carrot the Cow scores his 110 on R7. He goes up to about $369,000 at his peak. That’s about $35,000 more than our baseline cow ever manages.
Each later round will result in a slightly higher peak, but the increase shrinks each extra round.
If you look at the chart below, you can see the effects of being Ripe; not only on the maximum price, but when that maximum happens. The 110s at R2-4 means a trivial increase in maximum value on the same R16 as the baseline cow. On R5 the cow is close to Ripe, and the max value moves up by three rounds, but is still eight rounds past the high score. But, as soon as the cows is Ripe on R6, the max value happens three round after the high score, every time, because the cow is getting the full benefit of that score for three price cycles.
|Round of 110||Price at max||On Round|
Of course the above examples are all for a cow starting at a normal low price for a cow. Do high priced cows have an advantage because they get Ripe faster? Yes, it turns out they do. They make less money, but they are ripe about two rounds sooner. Since fast cash is good, an expensive cow that has a high score at the right time can hit their peak faster than a cheap cow. Of course if they don’t have a high score, you get a lot less cash just as slow. Anyways, below is the chart of a more expensive cow with an initial price of $202,800.
|Round of 110||Price at max||On Round|
* ( The price at R8 is only about $1,000 lower, so really this could be 8 as well. )
Now that we understand the stages of cow growth, I can reveal “Father Dougal’s Three Guidelines for Selling Cows.”
Guideline #1 – “Sell when you need the money.” Our goal is points, not cash. If selling today means you get the cash you need to do something important, than by all means sell before the cow hits full growth. An classic example is if you want to buy a fallen premium and they are going to go up in price more than the cow will. You would not only end up with less money, you would also miss out of the points. We already know you want to be full-premo as fast as possible, so if selling a cow now helps with that, then sell!
Guideline #2 – “Sell when you have a downgrade target worth the cash you will miss by selling early.” As the season goes on there will be fewer and fewer good downgrade targets. When one shows up, it may be worth it to give up some growth on a cow you have in order to get a fancy new cow that will make you a lot of cash later, especially if they also are scoring well and can provide good backup. A cow on the bubble could go up $50-$80,000 while the cow you have goes up $20,000. You’d get less cash a round later if that happened!
Guideline #3 – “Sell at the start of the third round after a ripe cow has a high score, unless the cow has another high score during the intervening rounds.” So, if a ripe cow has a high score during R7, you would sell at the start of R10, since the cow would benefit from all three price changes with that high score in the price change calculation. But, if the cow has another high score on R9, then you would wait and sell at the start of R12, so you get the benefit of the R9 high score as well. If you need the money and the cow has an easily achievable break even at the start of the third round after, you can risk keeping and hoping for more growth, but that won’t be the case most of the time.
What is a high score is a bit of a judgement call of course. A ton or more is, and for cows struggling along with a 50 average even a 75-80 might qualify.
Next week I’ll go though last season’s cows and we can see how #3 would have worked out in practice.
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