Teaching Kids Modern Values

(But What Values?)

       The Buckeye Game is a financial/political game for secondary school students.

       It's designed to motivate the players to study harder and pay more attention to their schoolwork, in order to improve the quality of the graduates the school turns out. If the standardized test scores go up, the game is judged as having gotten results.

       It's an overlay. It doesn't change anything. Everything remains the same. But something new gets added.

       Buckeyegaming organizes the school's student body into a miniature economy which the players themselves control and regulate, then turns them loose to make money in their own economy. At graduation, each player's bank balance is turned into real money, the gift of the state to each new graduate upon completion of his education.

       A financial endowment for every child, even poor kids.  A new kind of world where all kids routinely begin life with a portion of capital.


       Then teach them what an estate is, and how to make one grow. No part of an educationcould be more critical.

       No one loses. Everyone wins, but some win more than others.


       There are four different versions of the Buckeye Game: the Capitalist Version, the Marxist Version, the Laissez-faire Version and the Deist Version.

       With the whole world watching, these four compete to see which does the best job of raising the standardized test scores.






A Game to Raise Students' Standardized Test Scores 



    1 - Overview
    2 - Alternative Buckeye Games
    3 - The Marxist Buckeye Game
    4 - The Laissez-Faire Buckeye Game
    5 - The Deist Buckeye Game


    6 - The Object of the Game
    7 - Politics & Strategy
    8 - Introduction to the Departments


    9 - The Bank
   10 - Kitchens A & B
   11 - Stores A & B   
   12 - Housekeeping A, B & C
   13 - Print Shops A & B 
   14 - The College of Tutors
   15 - The Library
   16 - The Stock Exchange
   17 - Entrepreneurs
   18 - The Secretariat
   19 - The Board of Directors
   20 - The Court
   21 - The Tax Office
   22 - The Unemployment Pool
   23 - The Band, Chorus & School Teams


   24 - Salaries, Salary Changes & Bonuses
   25 - Hiring, Quitting, Rehiring, Firing
   26 - Promotion, Retention, Demotion, Lay-Off
   27 - Pensions & The Productivity Index


Chapter 1 - Overview

       The Buckeye Game is a financial/political game for students, and any number can play.  It's designed to motivate the players to study harder and pay more attention to their school work, in order to improve the quality of the graduates the school turns out.

       If the standardized test scores go up, the game is judged as having gotten results.

       The game organizes a student body into a toy economy which the students themselves control and regulate.  The intended playing field is a large public secondary school but the game can be adapted to fit any school situation anywhere, just so there are enough kids to create a miniature economy.

       Studying is part of game strategy: the better a player's grades are, the better he'll do in the game, the higher a position he'll hold, the more money he'll make, the more political power he'll have and the more he personally will be able to shape policy in the school economy the way he wants it, rather than have to settle for the way someone more politically adept wants it.

       The game begins in September when school opens and is played out over the course of the school year until the following summer, when vacation begins.  If a large enough number of students stay on for summer school, then the game goes on perpetually.

       Players drop in and out of the game as they please, participating whenever they don't have classes, or not participating if they'd rather use their free time for studying or other activities.

       The individual player's position in the game, that is, in the school economy, begins when he enrolls at the school and ends when he graduates.  Throughout the time between his position advances according to how good a player he is.

       Again, on Graduation Day, the seniors' Bank balances turn into real money, the gift of the state to each new graduate upon completion of his education.

       There are no losers in The Buckeye Game.  Everybody wins something.

Chapter 2 - Alternative Buckeye Games

       The Buckeye Game described in this book is a democratic capitalist Buckeye Game, built around democratic capitalist values and incentives.  But there can be other kinds of Buckeye Games besides the democratic capitalist kind.  Specifically:

       1] The Marxist Buckeye Game,
       2] The Laissez-Faire Buckeye Game, and
       3] The Deist Buckeye Game.

       Our discussion of alternate Buckeye Games begins with the Marxist and Laissez-Faire Games, after which we conclude with a Deist Buckeye Game in which the Divinity is seen as a participant in the game, and then see which version does the best job of raising the standardized test scores.

       The ultimate test of each of these alternate Buckeye Games will be its ability to produce better standardized test scores than the democratic capitalist version of the game.  If it does, it’ll be judged the best.

Chapter 3 - The Marxist Buckeye Game

       The first thing we notice about a Marxist Buckeye game is that it has no Entrepreneurs, no Stock Exchange, no dividends and no profit.  Nor does it have an Unemployment Pool.  It runs totally counter to the spirit of a centrally planned economy to have people sitting around unemployed and idle, therefore the Unemployed work.  If they can find the jobs they want in the Departments they want, so much the better, but if not, they work anyway at assigned jobs.

       This means there's no Income Tax, since there are no longer any Unemployed to support.  The only remaining drains on the Treasury are trivial, and easily accommodated by the wholesale revenues that the Stores and Kitchens pay into the Treasury for their merchandise and foodstuffs.

       Therefore it would seem at first glance that the Marxist Buckeye Game is already an improved version since the players are allowed to keep all their earnings and don't have to surrender any to the Tax Office.

       But it goes deeper than that.  With the Marxist Buckeye Game the question isn't taxes or the Unemployed, but rather the much larger question of the Graduation Day payoff.  In all the other versions of the Buckeye Game the players' Bank balances get turned into real dollars at graduation.  But can we do this in a Marxist Buckeye game?  The Graduation Day payoff is a materialist incentive and materialist incentives run counter to the idea of Marxism.  In a Marxist Buckeye game the players are supposed to be motivated by love of their fellow players and their school community, and a desire to serve the common good for the sake of the well-being of all.  If the idea of motivating people with money is un-Marxist, then we must ask, should a Marxist Buckeye game include a Graduation Day payoff? 

       If it doesn't, then there's no longer any motive for saving.  Why save?  There's nothing to be gained from it.  You're not going to take it with you.  The only logical move is to spend every penny until you've bought every item of interest in the Stores.  This is the same situation observed in the mature Marxist economies of the former Eastern Bloc, where the stores were quickly cleaned out of everything desirable that was available for mere money.  In the Eastern Bloc too there was no point in saving.  There was nothing to save for.  You didn't have to worry about providing for your future because the state was going to provide for you.

       But motivation was poor.  Would it be poor in a Marxist Buckeye Game? 

       Motivation aside, the Marxist Buckeye Game is splendidly non-competitive.  People who hate competition will find it very much to their liking.  But will it motivate the players to study harder in order to improve the quality of the graduates the school turns out? 

       The real question as always is: how good a job does the game do of raising the standardized test scores?  That, in every version of the Buckeye Game, is the measure of it.

Chapter 4 - The Laissez-Faire Buckeye Game

        Just as we can create a Marxist Buckeye Game, likewise we can create a Laissez-Faire Buckeye Game.  Here the philosophy is that there are no longer any restraints on economic freedom, not even for the sake of the common good.  Talented kids are now free to go all out and become tycoons if they can.  They're allowed to form monopolies, cartels, vertical and horizontal trusts or anything else.  Likewise, the Departments which formerly served as marketplace buffers for the school economy are now no longer sacred.  If Departments can't compete, they fold, leaving everything in the hands of Entrepreneurs.

       Now that monopolies and oligopolies become possible, exploitation and victimization become possible too, but will that motivate the players to study harder and thereby improve the quality of the graduates the school turns out? 

       Let's look at the idea of a Laissez-Faire Buckeye Game.  The first question that arises is whether we're going to provide for the Unemployed or not.  If we're going to be true to the spirit of the game we have to let the players themselves decide, therefore in the Laissez-Faire Buckeye Game it's the Board of Directors which decides if the Unemployed will be paid Unemployment Compensation in the following contract period or not.  If they decide against the Unemployed then there's that much less drain on the Treasury and therefore that much less Income Tax, but of course some of the Unemployed might literally go hungry.  Will that, in turn, motivate the players to study harder, or will it diminish motivation? 

       What about the power of the Board?  In the Democratic Capitalist Buckeye Game the power is in the hands of the Board, who are supposed to work together for the good of the entire school.  Should it be the same in a Laissez-Faire Buckeye Game?  Laissez-faire means "leave alone," the exact opposite of forcing people to work together.  The spirit of Laissez-faire would put the power in the hands of the individual Directors.  No more voting on everything.  What, in turn, would that do for motivation and the quality of the graduates the school turns out? 

       Imagine the Board no longer decides things like interest rates, etc.  Suppose now it's the Bank President alone who decides changes in interest rates  In the Laissez-Faire game the individual Directors decide instead of the Board.   Would this improve the quality of the graduates the school turns out, as measured by the test scores? 

Chapter 5 - The Deist Buckeye Game

       Believers says the recognition of the reality of God is the profoundest realization in life.  If, as we said in the Preface (not included in this condensed Internet version), part of the idea of the game is to teach kids about real life, then many would say this must include teaching them to recognize the reality of the Almighty, and to make this recognition the core of their personal reality.

       In many countries this kind of Deist Buckeye Game collides with the Constitutional separation of church and state, therefore the Deist Buckeye Game is for private schools only.

       In the Deist Buckeye Game, God participates as the player's partner.  Events are seen as messages from Him, not mere random happenings as in the other Buckeye games.  In the Deist Buckeye Game, God is constantly sending the player messages.  Events are the language He speaks in, not human words, and the player is taught to recognize events as Divine statements throughout his life, and be constantly mindful of what God appears to be trying to say.

       Likewise the Graduation Day payoff: in the other Buckeye games that had a payoff it was a gift of the state.  Now it's a gift of God, stewardship over money which is seen as belonging not to them but to the Owner of the world.  Like the earth and the rest of its contents, the money too belongs to the Almighty, Who gives stewardship over it to whomever can be relied on to serve His purpose.  Will this perspective improve test scores? 

       Everything in the Deist Buckeye Game is geared toward elevating the player to a higher level of spiritual awareness, and the higher standard of personal conduct that reputedly flows from having such a higher level of spiritual awareness.  The game still teaches the player about real life, but now it's a kind of real life that centers around the reality of God.

       Again we judge by results: how good a job does the Deist Buckeye Game do of motivating the players to study harder, in order to improve the quality of the graduates the school turns out?  Will an awareness of God's presence and partnership, once imbued, result in higher test scores? 




Chapter 6 - The Object of the Game

Broadly speaking, the object of The Buckeye Game is to make money.

But the rules of the game are designed so a player can make money by political know-how instead of hard work and thrift, to give the game some zip.

Within this larger object of making money there are three smaller objects:

1] the object for the players as Individuals;
2] the object for the players as Executives of a department; and,
3] the object for the players as Directors serving on the Board, who are all players who've worked their way up to the top and who run the game (the school economy) during the contract period they serve on the Board, typically a month or so.

Each of these three smaller objects needs a separate explanation so we'll take them one at a time.

1] The Object For The Players As Individuals

Seen through the eyes of the individual player, the Capitalist Buckeye Game organizes the school economy into eighteen different Departments:

The Bank;
Kitchens A & B (competitive);
Stores A & B (competitive);
Housekeeping A, B & C (competitive);
The Stock Exchange;
The College of Tutors;
The Library;
The Secretariat;
The Board of Directors;
The Court (by election);
The Unemployment Pool;
The Tax Office;
Print Shops A & B (competitive);
Plus the bands and school teams, athletic and otherwise.

In addition (and very importantly), student private enterprise is encouraged and entrepreneurs are rewarded potentially more generously than any other players in the game, both in money and prestige.  Student entrepreneurs can set up Enterprises, issue stock, and sell goods and services in the student marketplace.  They're equal in protocol to Directors and wear gold Badges of Office like Directors.

They can grow rich if they have the brains and guts to make it happen.  No doubt some will.

Lastly, and of key importance, each Department and enterprise gets an advertising subsidy equal to its sales volume, to finance its advertising in whichever of the school media they choose.  This subsidy promotes profitable and lively student media.  (See Part III, The Departments.)

This student economy provides many of the services needed to keep the school running, as we will see, and a variety of other services as well.  In exchange for their labor, the students get paid in notes called Buckeyes, the school currency, which is where the name of The Buckeye Game comes from.  Players can either spend their Buckeyes in the school economy, invest in the Stock Exchange or save in The Bank at interest, their choice.

As mentioned, at graduation each graduate's bank balance is turned into real money.  The exact amount this costs the public treasury is regulated by how large or small the game's salaries, pensions and bonuses are.  The total can be set anywhere from a mere token to thousands per graduate.  It will presumably vary from district to district, according to how rich the district is.

(Does this amount to giving every child an inheritance from the public treasury?  Will Buckeyegaming end the injustice of unendowed children?  These are questions which voters will have to judge.)

The object of the game for the player as individual, therefore, is to make money and more importantly, to learn what money is, how it's made, where it comes from and what can be done with it after it's made, besides just spending it.  The difference between spending money and capital.  No part of an education could be more critical.

Since it's a game, there's no financial privacy.  All transactions and holdings are public.  Everybody gets to see how everybody else is doing.

2] The Object For The Players As Executives

For the players as executives of a Department the game has two goals (don't trouble yourself to memorize all these things now, this is just an overview):

1 - The first goal is to rise to the top of his Department, become its Director, then retire, which entitles him personally to a Director's Pension, one of the two Grand Prizes of the game;

2 - The second goal is to help his Department win the Productivity Championship, which is awarded once in each contract period (usually three, four or five weeks) to the Department with the highest gain in its Productivity Index, which then entitles ALL the Employees in that Department to a Departmental Pension, the other Grand Prize of the game.

All these details will be spelled out later in context.  If you try to memorize them now you'll get a headache.

3] The Object For The Players as Directors Serving on The Board

The Directors, during the contract period they serve, all sit on the Board of Directors, which by majority vote runs the school economy.

Kids who can't find a job in the school economy are assigned to the Unemployment Pool and get paid with the proceeds of the game's Income Tax.  The amount of tax therefore depends on the number of Unemployed.  The more Unemployed, the more tax.

The object of the game for the Board of Directors is to reduce the number of Unemployed in order to reduce the tax.

They do this by expanding production, either in the Departments under their control or by facilitating the work of Entrepreneurs (see Chapter  17, Entrepreneurs), in order to provide a job for every player in the Unemployment Pool, thus eliminating the Income Tax and allowing everyone to keep all their game winnings.

This isn't as easy as it sounds because there's a built-in conflict here: anytime a Department adds an Employee its Productivity Index drops (assuming production stays constant).  When the time comes to make room for the Unemployed, none of the Departments want them for fear of losing the Productivity Championship and Departmental Pension for that contract period because of the extra personnel they took on.

At the same time, if the Directors can't find places for the unemployed then everyone is taxed, the Directors themselves most heavily, since they're the most highly paid.

The solution to this illusory dilemma, as we have said, is to create a fertile field for private enterprise, in order to facilitate the work of the Entrepreneurs, the wild cards of the game.  The creativity and ingenuity with which this is done is the essence of the Buckeye Game's economics, namely, the ability of succeeding generations of Boards of Directors to draw up and implement successful long-range plans while the whole school watches and either thrives or suffers with the results.

Chapter 7 - Politics & Strategy

That's the economics of it.  Now the politics.  The politics is what gives the Buckeye Game its sizzle.

Politics is built around issues.  In the Buckeye Game the issue is promotion.  Which player gets promoted?  How is it decided?  By 1) grades, 2) seniority, or 3) a combination of both? 

Under the game's rules, there are five different Promotion Formulas, all involving varying degrees of grades and/or seniority.  The decision which of the five will be in effect in the next contract period is made politically, not by ballot but by intrigue.  (See THE SILVER HOLDOUT below.)

The Promotion Formula changes anytime the Board changes the length of the contract period.

The Board can change the length of the contract period by one-week increments to a maximum of six weeks and a minimum of two weeks.

This is the game's major event.


The length of the contract period is four weeks at the start of play.

Every time the Board lengthens the contract period the students with the A grades abruptly have an easier time getting promoted, while the students with the average grades find themselves waiting that much longer for their promotions.

Every time the Board shortens the contract period the advantage of high grades diminishes, and seniority becomes that much more important in determining who gets the promotion, and higher pay and authority.

This divides the student body into interest groups and thus creates politics.

Kids with super grades want the contract period kept long to make their super grades count for as much as possible.  Kids with minimal grades want the contract period kept short to make their seniority count for as much as possible.  Kids with average grades each have a point somewhere in between at which they'd like to see the length stabilized.

A serious change takes place every time the contract period is lengthened or shortened.  People suddenly feel the ground open beneath their feet.  Everyone is affected by it and therefore everyone has an opinion on which way the length of the contract period ought to go.

The question is: How is the matter decided?  On a superficial level it’s decided by the Board, but who decides the composition of the Board?  How is THAT decided?

By political intrigue, planned and implemented by student political parties.

The rules of promotion intentionally make it possible for the kids to rig the composition of the Board of Directors by conspiracy.  (The Silver Holdout, to be explained momentarily.)  This invites student political parties to form, each seeking to load the Board with a solid majority of students of its own persuasion concerning what the length of the contract period ought to be.

The scholars form a six-week party, which is forever trying to hold the length of the contract period in the 5-6 week range.  The unscholarly form a two-week party which is forever trying to hold the length of the contract period in the 2-3 week range.  The students in between form three-week, four-week and five-week parties, each seeking to hold the contract period at the length most favorable to its constituents.

To prevent a political stranglehold, the game also includes a maneuver called a Miracle.  This occurs any time a coalition of players succeeds in holding the length of the contract period at either two or six weeks for two contract periods in a row.  The Miracle then resets the game at the opposite extreme for the following contract period.  Like ju-jitsu, it uses the opposition's own strength against them.

Anytime the scholars manage to stretch the contract period out to a full six weeks, the two-week party & their allies can switch strategies and ju-jitsu the scholars, using their resources not to shorten the contract period but merely to keep it at six weeks for a second contract period in a row, knowing this will cause a Miracle and reset the game at two weeks, including all the favorable (to the two-week party) changes in the Promotion Formula.

Conversely, if the length of the contract period is held at two weeks for two contract periods in a row, regardless of who's responsible for it, this too causes a Miracle, and the length of the contract period then jumps to six weeks in the following contract period, favorable to the scholars.

THE SILVER HOLDOUT:  The way to load the Board of Directors is the silver holdout.  This is a student who's ranked #1 in his Department for promotion's sake but who, for political reasons, has declined to accept the Director's job in his Department and chosen to stay at silver salary level instead.  There are personal as well as political reasons why a player might want to stay at silver instead of being promoted to gold (Director).  All Directors are automatically retired after one contract period, for example, to insure a steady turnover at the top, a built-in feature of the game.  Accepting a promotion to Director therefore means being retired back out into the job market after a single contract period (albeit with a Director’s Pension), and having to start all over again in another Department at green, the lowest salary level, or languish in the Unemployment Pool with no hope of bonus, pension or promotion.  For a laid-back, unambitious student who isn't trying to become the richest kid in his class, but merely trying to find a secure and comfortable place to settle in, there's a great deal that can be said for the idea of rising only to silver and no further.  It's an enviable place where the workload is light and the pay and prestige high.

Politically, however, a silver holdout can change his mind and become Director of his Department anytime he pleases, assuming there are no other silver holdouts ahead of him in rank.  Thus, it becomes possible to stack the deck, so to speak, to arrange to load the Board of Directors in advance with a solid majority of players of a given political point-of-view, just by having them wait it out at silver in their respective Departments then all go for Director at once.

Indeed, it becomes possible to arrange for successive waves of such majorities, and this is the heart of Buckeye Game political strategy and intrigue.

The scholars, being brighter, are the first to get organized.  Before anyone realizes what's happened the contract period is already stretched out to five weeks, with six weeks threatened at any moment.

If the average students don't organize an opposition, the scholars can bounce the contract period back and forth endlessly between five and six weeks, leaving promotion all-but-impossible for average students while the scholars whiz up the ranks and collect Director's Pensions right and left.

Fortunately, what the less-scholarly students lack in grades and foresight they more than make up for in numbers.  Eventually they get themselves together.  They either pull off a Miracle or slowly roll the contract period back to a more tolerable (for them) length, four weeks, three weeks, etc.

But once the length of the contract period gets too short, a new coalition begins to build in favor of lengthening it again.  The four-week party begins to side with the scholars instead of the two-week party.  The political equilibrium is never permanent and nothing is certain except a new Board of Directors in each new contract period.

Politically then, the game is an eternal tug-of-war, an endless struggle to change the Promotion Formula and change it back again.


Chapter 8 - Introduction to the Departments

Eighteen official Departments form the foundation of the school economy.  Each offers the youngsters a chance at a practice career while they're still in high school.  For a student with a brain and good study habits, it may be possible to get through two, three, or even four full careers (and collect that many Director's Pensions simultaneously) during his high school years, but even a slow student has a reasonable chance of reaching Director and winning a Director's Pension at least once before graduation, if only by joining a small Department and waiting it out until he's piled up enough seniority to clobber all competitors.  If the game becomes highly political, with so many silver holdouts that red holdouts begin appearing, then non-political students begin speeding up to Director that much faster.

The choice of careers is a wide one, but a student who's dissatisfied even with a choice of eighteen is free to become an Entrepreneur if he likes, start his own enterprise and sell his stock on the Stock Exchange for whatever his classmates will pay.  If he can pay a good dividend he can sell his shares for a bundle, and all the while he and his employees are subsidized by an Entrepreneurial Subsidy.  He can even get his capital gains deducted from his taxable income, and his capital expenditure deducted directly from his tax bill.  In the real-world capitalist economies nobody gets a package this sweet, but in the Buckeye Game the kids get every possible break.

But the Entrepreneurs aren't part of the power structure of the game.  They can create employment opportunities and help reduce the tax load, but by and large the Entrepreneurs are in it for the money, not the political power.  The political power is in the hands of the Directors, who each have one vote on the Board of Directors.

The Board, through its power to change the length of the contract period, decides changes in the Promotion Formula, as we have seen, but it also decides many other changes in the game as well, including changes which directly affect the size of the dividends each of the stock-issuing Departments is paying to its shareholders.

The essence of an individual Director's political power is his ability to trade his Board vote on any given item in exchange for other Directors' votes on items dear to him personally, or to his political party, or to any Department he owns shares of and wants to collect fatter dividends on.

The Bank, one of the simplest Departments, provides a clear illustration of this.

The Bank takes in deposits then lends them out again to borrowers, usually Entrepreneurs looking for capital or speculators who want to buy stock during a bear market, but also students wanting to finance a major purchase at one of the Stores.

Interest from the loans goes into the Bank's Dividend Fund and gets paid out to shareholders once each contract period.  Interest rates, however, are decided by the Board of Directors, not the Bank.

If demand for loans is low, the President of the Bank will want interest rates to come down, to encourage people to borrow money.  If demand for loans is so high that the Bank is in danger of running out of deposits to lend out, the President will want interest rates to go up, not only to milk the borrowers for as much as he can get, but also to encourage more savings deposits, so the Bank will have more funds available for lending.  In either case he must persuade a majority of the other Directors to vote the way he wants on changes in interest rates, and he does this by trading off his ability to vote for or against the items they want.

So it is with all the Directors.  Each of them has a personal or political interest somewhere in the school economy, and he advances that interest by political horse trading.

To take a more complex example: Kitchens A & B compete with each other for the school lunch trade and one of the principal instruments in this competition is retail pricing, in which the Grand Chefs of the Kitchens try to undercut each other without cutting prices so low their dividend is squeezed.  Since the Kitchens have to compete with each other, retail prices in each Kitchen are left for the Grand Chef to decide, but wholesale prices, the prices the Kitchens must pay into the Treasury for their raw materials, are decided by the Board of Directors.

Thus the Board can lower the Income Tax by raising wholesale prices instead of expanding production.  The Unemployed still get paid their Unemployment Compensation only now at the expense of stockholders in the two Kitchens rather than the student body in general.  (This is the price the Kitchen stockholders must pay for serious political ineptitude on the part of the Grand Chefs.) The Grand Chefs can strike back by raising retail prices for the entire student body's lunches, but if one of them doesn't raise retail prices then he will undercut the competition and begin drawing clientele at the expense of the other Kitchen.  In any case, who wants to see retail prices creeping up? 

As it is with the Kitchens, so it is with Stores A & B, which sell real-world merchandise for Buckeyes.  The General Managers set the retail prices for their respective Stores, but the Board sets the wholesale prices the Stores pay into the Treasury for their merchandise.  This gives the Board yet another chance to lighten the tax load at the expense of a select group of shareholders, if the General Managers of the Stores are too inept, politically, to prevent it.

The Directors of the three Housekeeping Departments don't have to worry about wholesale prices since their Departments are selling services, not products, but if any of them can figure a way to get a majority of the Directors on his side he can get his Department the contract for handling any of the corridors or public rooms (auditorium, gym, etc.) without having to submit the lowest bid, a very profitable maneuver for any Housekeeping Director who can line up the votes.  The Governor of the Stock Exchange, in turn, may want Brokerage commissions raised, to increase revenue per sale, or lowered, to encourage greater sales volume, but either way he’ll need a majority of the Board to do it.  He’ll certainly want the Capital Gains tax decreased and the Capital Loss deduction increased, regardless of what may be happening with the size of the Brokerage commissions, but in this too he will need a majority of the Board.  Like all the rest of the Directors he has his one vote to trade off as adroitly as he can.

The Tax Office, the College of Tutors and the Library are non-stock-issuing Departments.  They render vital services but they make no profits, therefore they have nothing to distribute as dividends.  Their Directors do sit on the Board, however, and get one vote each, just like any other Director.

So we see that the Board does technically run the school economy, but in actual practice the Board is seldom of one mind.  It's actually sixteen different students (not all eighteen departments are represented on the Board) with sixteen different agendas.  If they can co-operate and are ingenious then they can both fulfill their agendas and also cut the tax burden.  But if they can't co-operate, or worse yet, if there's strife or vindictiveness, then it could be a catastrophe for everyone in the school.  Not only might taxes rise, but wholesale prices as well, leading inevitably to upward pressure on retail prices.  Strife on the Board is the worst thing that can happen to the school economy.  To prevent it there is the strongest political instrument in the Buckeye Game: the power of the Chairman to decide the agenda of the Board of Directors.  The Chairman alone decides what is or isn't brought up for discussion and what is or isn't brought up for a vote.  If, for example, a majority of the Directors wants to lengthen the contract period and he doesn't, he can stymie the whole bunch of them just by not entering the item on the agenda.  Likewise a proposed change in interest rates, wholesale prices, Brokerage commissions, a Department's salaries (political mayhem!), a proposed firing of an upper-level employee in a Department, or any of the other items the Board has the power to decide.

If the game is being played graciously the Chairman functions as a diplomat.  He tries his best to see to it that every Director's needs are accommodated, and if he ever does step on anyone's toes it's only because it's for the unmistakable good of the school economy.  But, of course, in this game as in any other there's no guarantee the game will be played graciously.  The Chairman may be ruthlessly political, the kind who'll stop at nothing to shorten or lengthen the contract period during his one opportunity to change this all-important item.  If he's a member of a political party this becomes all the more likely.

But whatever happens, students can at least take comfort from the knowledge that the entire power structure changes in each new contract period, a new Board with new faces and new opinions.  If they can't figure out a way to reduce the Income Tax today, then at least there's hope for tomorrow.



Chapter 9 - The Bank


President (gold)
Vice-President (silver)
Examiner (red)
Teller (green)


At the start of play the Bank offers only savings accounts but in times of high Unemployment the Board of Directors can ask the President of the Bank to start offering checking accounts and credit cards as well, to create more work for the student labor force.

Besides offering student accounts, the Bank has Departmental payroll and dividend accounts.  But the Bank doesn't dispense the money into the school economy, it merely administers it.  The Secretariat dispenses the money.  More on this in Chapter 19, The Secretariat.

The Bank takes in savings deposits and then lends them out again at interest to anyone who wants to borrow money.  Interest from loans goes into the Bank's own dividend account and gets paid out once each contract period as dividends to players who own Bank stock, but the Bank doesn't have to worry about paying out savings interest, the Secretariat does that.  Profits from the loans are pure gravy for Bank stockholders.

Interest rates are set by the Board.  At the start of play savings interest is 5% and loan interest is 10% but the Board can raise or lower them side-by-side in one-percent increments at the rate of one-percent per contract period.  

There are various reasons why the Board might want to raise or lower interest rates.  Raising rates would encourage saving at the expense of consumption and probably lower the dividends of the Stores and the Kitchens.  Lowering savings interest would do the exact opposite, push money out of the Bank and into the school economy.  This would reduce the amount of money the Bank has available for lending, and therefore probably reduce the Bank's dividend.  Whether the Board should raise or lower interest rates depends on what's actually happening in the school economy.  If interest rates are too high the Bank would tend to fill with money but no one will borrow.  Worse yet, the Stock Market might drift down as savings accounts become more profitable than dividends.  Also, sales volume would decline everywhere.  The Stores would tend to do less business as players save more and more, so the Stores' dividends would tend to fall, and possibly the Kitchens' dividends as well.  Not to mention the Entrepreneurs.  So we already see a solid coalition of interests favoring low interest rates.

Countering this, however, is the abstruse-but-important fact that savings interest, dispensed every week by the Secretariat, enters the system as new money added to the game.  A wise Chairman will realize that the more money that gets dispensed into the game, the more there'll be for everybody.  But this can only go so far before the zeal for saving starts to hurt the school economy by diverting too much of the cash into the Bank and out of circulation.  (Advertising revenues, discussed in detail in the next chapter, also enter the school economy as new money added to the game, but they're always limited to a Department or enterprise's sales volume.  If saving goes up and sales volume goes down, then advertising revenues also will go down, which may result in less new money dispensed into the game than if savings interest was lower.  

It can be very complicated figuring out which is best.  The youngsters will get a definite feel for the problems the adults face trying to run the national economy.

So the political pressure on interest rates is solid and ever-present in both directions, creating a more-or-less permanent skirmish line on this issue any time the question of interest rates is brought before the Board.  It remains for the Chairman to rise above the squabbling and use his power over the Board's agenda to try to change the interest rates in whatever direction he thinks will best serve the needs of the school economy.

Loans are issued on whatever terms the President of the Bank decides.  There is no collateral but if a student doesn't repay his loan the Bank can take the matter to the Court and ask for an Attachment.  Both sides plead their case and if the Court sides with the Bank it can attach up to 50% of the player's income until the loan is repaid.  If the Court sides with the player, however, for whatever reason, the loan must then be repaid from the Bank's Dividend Account and the dividend per share is reduced accordingly.  Or the Court may order the loan repaid partly by Attachment and partly by the Bank's Dividend Fund but in every case the savers' deposits must be protected.

If the Bank lends out too much money and doesn't have enough left to meet the demand for cash the Secretariat advances the Bank an interest-free loan to keep it from failing, but the loan must be repaid as soon as possible, and to insure the Bank's fullest cooperation in this the Bank is forbidden to pay dividends until the Secretariat is repaid.  The cash in the Bank's Dividend Account continues to earn interest, however, even when the dividend is frozen.

Interest is reckoned by the year and paid by the week.  The contract period is not used here in order to avoid windfall profits and losses every time the contract period is lengthened or shortened.  At the beginning of each week the Bank tells the Secretariat how many buckeyes worth of savings deposits it had on its books as of the end of the previous week and the Secretariat sends along the savings interest, to be posted to all the savers' accounts.  Weekly compounding, in other words.

At the beginning of each contract period, the Bank publicly posts everyone's account balance as of the end of the previous contract period.  This is so everyone can see how everyone else is doing.  It's a game, remember, and there's no financial privacy.  (The Stock Exchange does the same thing once each contract period, posting everyone's portfolio, again for the same reason, so everyone can see how everyone else is doing.)


Stock option.

Productivity Index:

Number of transactions (deposits, withdrawals, checks cleared, etc.) per contract period divided by the number of employees.

Chapter 10 - Kitchens A & B


Grand Chef (gold)
Chef (silver)
Waiter/Waitress (red)
Dishwasher (green)


The Kitchens require the assumption that the kids are mature and responsible enough to be entrusted with hot stoves, hot skillets, etc.  If the adults in any given district feel their own kids aren't, then this chapter is doesn't apply.

The names A and B aren't real names, they're only letter designations to explain the game.  In real life Kitchens A & B do business under trade names, chosen by the Grand Chef and changeable by any subsequent Grand Chef, either a name which conjures an attractive image in the mind of the prospective customer, or one that's actually descriptive of that particular Kitchen or its specialties.

Since the school probably has only one cafeteria A & B share the same facilities but they are otherwise entirely separate.  Students do everything in the Kitchens, including cooking, cleaning and planning menus (subject to the advise and consent of the school dietician).  In times of high Unemployment the Board can request them to provide waiter/waitress service.  The Grand Chef of each Kitchen makes the final decision concerning menus and retail prices, seeking to undercut the competition on price while maximizing the dividend on his Kitchen's stock.  Retail price changes are always made for the following contract period but need not be incremental in the Kitchens: the Grand Chefs can set them wherever they please.  This amounts to a many-sided guessing game and a Grand Chef can win in one part of the menu and lose in another.  If the game is being played by wise players the prices are likely to stabilize somewhere, a kind of armistice between competitors, and the competition shift to the quality of the taste and service.

Wholesale prices are the prices the Kitchens must pay the Treasury for their unprocessed foodstuffs and other raw materials.  At the start of play faculty sets the wholesale prices.  Thereafter the Board of Directors, by majority vote, can raise or lower the wholesale price of any item by five percent, limited, as always, to one change per contract period.

Wholesale revenues from both the Kitchens and the Stores, which we'll get into in the next chapter, all go into the Treasury, which pays the Unemployment Compensation.  The primary source of revenue for the Treasury is the school Income Tax, as we discussed in Chapter 2, but note that the Board can relieve upward pressure on the Income Tax by raising wholesale prices instead, as we mentioned.  This would inevitably lead to higher retail prices and possibly a corresponding decline in consumption, making sales sluggish and causing the Bank to start filling with money as consumption falls off.  This would tend to dispense more new money into the game in the form of savings interest and therefore increase the size of the overall pie, but it would do so at the expense of economic vitality.  How high can wholesale prices be raised before they cut into the vitality of the school economy?  That's the point at which the Board should seek to stabilize them, the better to rid the school economy of the universally unwelcome Income Tax.

Chow is a fertile field for private enterprise and the game encourages this.  If some enterprising youngster comes up with a dynamite recipe for blueberry muffins and wants to open a breakfast shop, or a group of Entrepreneurs decides that what School really needs is a World-Class hamburger, they're free to compete with the established Kitchens and pay the same wholesale prices for flour, eggs, ground beef, etc.

The Kitchens, like any other Department or enterprise, can advertise for free in any or all of the school newspapers or magazines.  The Secretariat covers the cost of the advertising, not the Department or enterprise itself, but only up to the amount of the Department's or enterprise's sales volume in the previous contract period.  Advertising is subsidized this way because the school economy needs ads to communicate economic information.  It also promotes and subsidizes lively school media.

The payment for advertising goes directly from the Secretariat to the newspaper or magazine involved and enters the game as new money, the same as stock options or savings interest.


Stock option:

Productivity Index:

Sales volume divided by the number of employees.

Chapter 11 - Stores A & B


General Manager (gold)
Buyer (silver)
Salesperson (red)
Stockperson (green)


The Stores are the entry point of real-world merchandise and raw materials into the game.  Accordingly, they have buyers and stockpersons to attend to this.

The Stores compete with each other the same way the Kitchens compete with each other: they both have access to the same list of merchandise at the same wholesale prices, but from then on it's pure competition.  The General Manager decides what merchandise his store will order, in what quantity and what the retail price will be, always for the following contract period, after he retires.  As in the Kitchens, retail price changes need not be incremental, the General Managers can set them wherever they please.  The struggle, as always, is to maximize the dividend, but whether this is best accomplished by raising retail prices or lowering them is never clear.  It's always a guessing game.  Then too, the Stores can compete on quality of service as well as retail price.  When the Stores get this sophisticated the danger arises of a tacit agreement to keep retail prices satisfyingly high, to keep the dividends of both Stores satisfyingly plump.

The remedy for this kind of price-fixing is Entrepreneurial competition.  If the Stores ever do form a cartel, then Entrepreneurs can organize a discount house, and should be encouraged to do so.

The Stores serve another important function in the school economy by providing Entrepreneurs with the raw materials to operate their enterprises.  Dressmakers order fabric and thread, bicycle repairers order bicycle parts, etc.  In addition, the Stores stock the soaps and cleaning equipment that the Housekeeping Departments need for their housekeeping, and the paper and ink the Print Shops need for their printing.  

Outside suppliers are paid by the adult world in dollars, not by students in buckeyes.  The wholesale cost to the Stores in buckeyes is decided by the Board, not the outside supplier, and buckeye proceeds go into the Treasury to pay the Unemployed.  The outside supplier is totally irrelevant to the students playing the game: he's something the adult world deals with, not them.

Like all other Departments and enterprises, the Stores can advertise for free in any or all of the school media, but only up to an amount equal to their previous contract period's sales volume.


Stock option plus 25% discount on all merchandise.

Productivity Index:

Sales volume divided by the number of employees.

Chapter 12 - Housekeeping A, B & C


Marketing Manager (gold)
Sales Representative (silver)
Senior Housekeeper (red)
Housekeeper (green)


Housekeeping A, B & C compete with each other in providing the school's janitorial services.  They differ from all the other Departments in that they each have a sales staff to maintain liaison with all the homerooms.  Each homeroom is required to contract for its own custodial service with its choice of the three housekeeping Departments.  The students in the homeroom split the cost evenly.  They're free to shop around and work out any kind of deal they like.  If the homeroom, by and large, doesn't care about surgical cleanliness and wants to save money, they can specifically contract for the minimum the faculty will tolerate.  Or they can offer to pay extra to any Housekeeping Department that will deliver superior work, if that's what they want.

The stairways, corridors and special rooms like the gym, auditorium, etc., are the responsibility of the Board of Directors which, through its Secretariat, contracts out each of them to one or another of the Housekeeping Departments by sealed bid every contract period.  If the lowest bidder doesn't do an adequate job the Board, by majority vote, can accept the next highest bid next time.

The Housekeeping Departments, like the Stores and the Kitchens, are open to Entrepreneurial competition.  If the cost of housekeeping turns out to have a way of rising endlessly a cartel should be suspected, and enterprising players should be encouraged to open their own Housekeeping enterprises and compete with the established Housekeeping Departments.

Like the Stores and the Kitchens, Housekeeping A, B & C do business under whatever trade name the Director chooses.


Stock option.

Productivity Index:

Sales volume divided by the number of employees.

Chapter 13 - Print Shops A & B


Director (gold)
Master Printer (silver)
Printer (red)
Apprentice (green)


The Print Shops issue stock and compete with one another mainly to print the school's magazines and newspapers, but also to produce all the various forms and paperwork required to play the Buckeye Game.  This consists largely of checks, deposit slips, stationery and tax forms, but it also includes a large number of smaller items as well.  Print Shop profits go to Print Shop Dividend Funds, and get paid out to Print Shop shareholders.

When Entrepreneurs want to publish a magazine or newspaper, they have the Print Shops bid competitively for the job of printing it.  These Entrepreneurial magazines and newspapers sell advertising to the game's Departments and Enterprises.

When the day comes that Entrepreneurs open an ad agency, the game will have reached a new level of sophistication.


Stock option.

Productivity Index:

Sales volume divided by the number of Print Shop employees.

Chapter 14 - The College of Tutors


President (gold) (salary plus Sabbatical)
Dean (silver) (salary plus Sabbatical)
Tutor (red) (salary plus Sabbatical)
Freelance Tutor (green) (salary only)


Any student who feels he needs a tutor can apply for one at the College of Tutors.  Tutoring service is free for the student, and the Tutor's salary is new money dispensed into the game by the Secretariat.

Any student making an A in a course qualifies as, and can register as, a Freelance Tutor for that course.  Students qualified in five or more courses can join the College at the rank of Tutor (red) and are thereafter entitled to one contract period of Sabbatical leave for every two spent tutoring.  During Sabbatical tutors receive full pay and the Departmental Pension, if the College wins it, but their time is entirely their own and they have no obligations to the College.

Tutors can't take Sabbatical if they're in the middle of tutoring a fellow student whose need for tutoring extends beyond the contract period.  For this reason Tutors can accumulate Sabbatical and use it in whatever way they can fit it into their tutorial schedules, including taking it all at one time.

The regular Promotion Formula doesn’t apply at the College.  Instead, each tutor's academic average, for promotion's sake, is considered to be the average of all the students he tutored, in the courses he tutored them in, during the previous grading period.  This makes it possible for unusually effective tutors to rise very quickly after joining the College.

Retired Presidents of the College automatically re-enter at Tutor (red) if they choose to rejoin the College.


Sabbatical.  This is a particularly lucrative bonus because it allows students to pursue two careers at once.

Productivity Index:

Average grade of all tutees in the previous grading period, in the courses they were tutored in, irrespective of the number of Tutors in the College.  This figure is constant throughout the following grading period no matter how many contract periods the grading period is divided into.  If the College has a spectacular improvement from one grading period to the next it's conceivable it could sweep the Productivity Championship in every contract period of the following grading period, which would be a brilliant coup.

Chapter 15 - The Library


Director (gold)
Librarian (silver)
Assistant Librarian (red)
Clerk (green)


The Library staff tends the school Library.

The Library has the same bonus as the College of Tutors, one contract period of paid Sabbatical for every two spent on the job.  Anyone can apply to join the Library, however.  No A grades are required, and new hiring comes from the hiring list, like any other Department.



Productivity Index:

Number of items checked out divided by number of Library employees.  (Items checked out by Library employees don't count in the Library's Productivity Index.)

Chapter 16 - The Stock Exchange


Governor (gold)
Lt.  Governor (silver)
Senior Broker (red)
Broker (green)


The Stock Exchange is actually a silent auction.  Shares for sale are posted publicly at the Exchange on bidding sheets every Monday.  Anyone who wants to bid has his Broker enter his name and bid price on the sheet.  Anyone who wants to top that bid has his Broker enter a better bid on the bidding sheet.  At the end of five days the highest bidder gets the share.

At the start of play there's a 10% tax on capital gains and a 90% deduction on capital loss, but the Board, by majority vote, can raise or lower either of them in 5% increments, independently of one another.  They're separate items.  The Governor of the Exchange always wants less capital gains tax and more capital loss deduction.  The President of the Bank always wants the exact opposite.

Every autumn there's a bull market as incoming freshman rush to join the game.  Every spring there's a bear market as graduating seniors liquidate their shares.  Farseeing investors can profit handsomely from this.  Only Exchange members can post bidding sheets or enter bids.  To buy or sell shares, therefore, a student must have a Broker, and he is free to choose any member of the Exchange he pleases, or divide his business among several Brokers.  The Brokers get paid a commission on every share sold, paid by the seller and split between the Brokers.  If buyer and seller have the same Broker, he gets both ends of the commission.  At the start of play the commission rate is three percent of the purchase price but the Board of Directors can raise or lower it in one percent increments, one incremental change per contract period.

If a shareowner has a minimum price that he's willing to accept for his share he can post it at the Exchange and enter his own bid on it at the minimum price.  If no one tops his bid after five days the share is his again.  Since there was no transfer, there is no commission.

Once each contract period, whenever the Governor decides, all the members of the Exchange post all their clients' portfolios for public inspection, the same way the Bank posts everyone's checking and/or savings balances.

Besides its other services to investors, the Stock Exchange maintains and posts the dividend and price histories for each stock.



Productivity Index:

Trading volume divided by the number of members of the Exchange.  (Shares offered at a minimum price that revert to the owner for lack of a higher bid don't count in the trading volume.  There must be a transfer for it to count as a trade.)

Chapter 17 - Entrepreneurs


Entrepreneur (gold badge/green subsidy)
Employee (silver, red, green badges/green subsidy)


Retired Directors and other talented students, alone or in partnership, can register at the Secretariat and become Entrepreneurs.  This entitles them and any students they designate as employees to an Entrepreneurial Subsidy, fixed at the average green salary level for all Departments.  This subsidy makes it possible for them to open a business in the school marketplace.  If they need physical space to operate their enterprise they can rent it from the Secretariat by entering the highest bid for that space on the Secretariat's bidding sheet during the previous contract period.

The registration procedure at the Secretariat requires that shares of stock be created and registered with the Stock Exchange even if the Entrepreneur(s) have no plan to sell shares in the foreseeable future.  Once this is done, the person or persons who own 51% of the stock are designated Entrepreneurs, given gold badges with that title on them, and allowed to designate any number of students as Employees, thereby entitling them all to a green level Employee subsidy and whatever color badges the Entrepreneur tells the Secretariat to issue.  

Whoever owns 51% of the enterprise is in control.  The Secretariat dispenses or withholds the subsidies according to the instructions of the Entrepreneurs listed on its records as owning 51%.  If the original Entrepreneurs sell the enterprise's stock on the Exchange, or pass it out to Employees as stock options and another group of students comes to own 51%, then the new group is in control as soon as they present 51% of the shares to the Secretary-General: from that point on, they wear the gold badges and tell the Secretariat who to pay Employee subsidies to.

The school media are potentially very rewarding enterprises, since every Department and enterprise is allowed free advertising up to the amount of its previous contract period's sales volume.  The advertising isn't really free, since the Secretariat picks up the tab and pays the newspaper or magazine directly; but it might as well be free since, from the Department's or enterprise's perspective, the cost of advertising never reduces the size of profits or dividends.  Entrepreneurs with an editorial bent can make money starting a magazine or newspaper.

Entrepreneurs are allowed very wide latitude in designating employees as long as the arrangements are sincere and in good faith.  An Entrepreneur could open an art gallery, for example, and sell student art and designate all the artists as employees, who would then be subsidized to paint pictures, besides whatever income the gallery provided from selling their work.  Or if Entrepreneurs rented the school auditorium part-time and turned it into a movie theater, they could designate the ushers as employees, who would then be paid to stand around and watch movies in their spare time.

Profits from the enterprise are divided among the employees and stockholders in whatever way the Entrepreneurs decide.  No matter how profitable the enterprise becomes, the green-level subsidies continue in every contract period to the officially listed Entrepreneurs and any students they designate as Employees.  An Entrepreneur starting an enterprise (e.g., dressmaking, bicycle repair) can ask either or both of the Stores to stock whatever raw materials (e.g., fabric, bicycle parts) he/she needs to run the business and sell them for buckeyes.  The retail prices, as always, are set by the Managers of the Stores who, if the Entrepreneur is an employer, will no doubt be as pressured by the Board to keep prices low as by the stockholders to keep prices high.

Entrepreneurs are the bravest players in the game and as a reward for their bravery they get a special tax deduction called Capital Expenditure.  Any buckeyes an Entrepreneur spends building up his business qualify as Capital Expenditure and are fully deductible directly from his tax bill, making it possible for him to shelter much and possibly all of his income from taxes.  He can invest his buckeyes building up his inventory, for example, and the whole investment is deductible from his tax bill even though it reappears as an appreciation of the value of his stock.  He can even invest his buckeyes in extending credit to his clientele, and this too is directly deductible as Capital Expenditure.

An Entrepreneur, in effect, is the only player in the game who can avoid taxes completely and serenely pile up money in the Bank even if the Board of Directors is running the school economy into the ground.


A chance to graduate from high school rich.

Productivity Index:

None.  Entrepreneurs win from the Departmental Pensions all the time because they increase the amount of student spending money.

Chapter 18 - The Secretariat (Board of Directors)


[The Board (gold)]
Secretary-General (silver)
Under-Secretary (red)
Attache (green)


Politically speaking, the Secretariat is the most sought-after Department because of its bonus: universally-applicable seniority.

The Secretariat is the administrative and secretarial arm of the Board of Directors.  Its job is to carry out and coordinate whatever plans the Board of Directors comes up with, following the personal instructions of the Chairman.  It's also the entry and exit point of money into and out of the school economy, "into" in the form of salaries, pensions, stock options, advertising costs and savings interest, and "out of" in the form of graduating seniors going out into the real world equipped with their game winnings turned into real dollars.

The Secretariat has no Director of its own, since it serves the entire Board jointly but the Chairman handles all its Director's chores, including paying its staff, deciding its next personnel chart, administering its job applications and Departmental ranking, and deciding how it will handle its assigned tasks during his tenure.

The Secretariat is a busy place.  Its public bulletin board is the central information point for the entire school economy.  The most carefully watched item is the minutes of the Board meetings, which the Secretariat records and posts, but the Secretariat also posts all the personnel charts for all the Departments side-by-side with the previous charts, to provide everyone with a central location to assess the opportunities coming in the next contract period.  When the charts come in, the Secretariat also calculates each Department's next payroll budget according to the size and shape of its new pyramid, and according to whether the Board has raised or lowered its salaries.  When the next contract period begins the Secretariat will then dispense precisely that amount of money to the that Department’s Director each week to pay his staff.

The Secretariat keeps track of the total sales volume of all Departments and enterprises, and pays the costs of their advertising in the school media, but only up to an amount equal to the total sales volume for the previous contract period, and no more.  The Departments and enterprises design the ads and choose which media.  The Secretariat just pays the bills.

The Secretariat also monitors the Productivity Indexes from all the Departments.  At the start of the contract period, when the new Directors submit their Productivity Index figures from the previous contract period, the Secretariat is the first to know who won the Productivity Championship.  After verifying the winning figures, the Secretary-General tells the Chairman, who announces the Champion to the school.  The Secretariat then posts the Departmental Pensions on the pension cards of all the students in the winning Department.  The Secretariat also posts the pensions of retiring Directors.  In addition, the Secretariat administers the Treasury, all wholesale distribution, the Unemployment Pool and Unemployment Compensation, the bidding sheets for Entrepreneurial spaces (only Secretariat staff may enter the bids), collects the Entrepreneurial rents and pays out the Entrepreneurial subsidies. 

The Unemployed register at the Secretariat as soon as they become Unemployed and collect their Unemployment Compensation every Friday.  Entrepreneurs register as soon as they register their stock at the Exchange and collect their subsidies (and, if applicable, pay their rents) every Friday as well.

The Secretariat also administers the public housekeeping on behalf of the student body, receiving bids on each of the corridors and public rooms from any of the housekeeping Departments that care to bid on them and awarding the contract to the lowest bidder.  (Except when directed otherwise by a majority vote of the Board.)

Last of all, the Secretariat maintains and posts the Court's docket, calculates the Court's Productivity Index and administers the school-wide elections every contract period to choose the Justices.  


The Secretariat is the only Department that students can't rise all the way to the top of, since the top is all Directors of other Departments, but seniority time at the Secretariat is universally applicable to all other Departments for promotion's sake, making it possible for students to jump from the Secretariat to senior positions in other Departments even if they have never worked in those Departments at all.  Time spent at the Secretariat is considered time spent in all Departments simultaneously since the Secretariat's work consists of seeing all the other Departments as an organic whole and trying to figure out what’s actually happening in the school economy.


Universally applicable seniority.  Very potent, politically.

Productivity Index:

The change in the number of Unemployed, inversely.  (The number of Unemployed must go down for the Secretariat to win the Productivity Championship.

Chapter 19 - The Board of Directors


The Chairman of the Board (gold)
Director (gold)


[The Secretariat]


Fifteen students sit on the Board of Directors.  They are the President of the Bank, the Grand Chefs of both Kitchens, the Managers of both Stores, the Directors of all three housekeeping Departments, the Directors of both print shops, the President of the College of Tutors, the Director of the Library, the Governor of the Stock Exchange and the Director of Revenue and the Chairman of the Board.  The Chairman has one vote like any other Director.

Each Director is the absolute monarch of his Department.  He spends a long time working his way up, and he gets to enjoy only one contract period at the top once he gets there, but while he's there, he's the Boss.  During his tenure the Department runs according to his management theories and no one else's.  He decides how the work will be done, who is responsible for what and who will report to whom.  He decides everything and he’s free to experiment in any way he likes, no matter how original.  He also decides whether his Department's personnel roster will grow, shrink or stay the same size and, above all, he decides policy.

The Director's agenda is a busy one.  He starts the contract period by calculating the Productivity Index for the previous contract period and sending the figures along to the Secretariat.  By the time he finishes that, the job applications are starting to pour in and he must rank them all according to the Promotion Formula in effect at that time in order to fill the new personnel chart for the next contract period, which he must also decide, whether to shrink the Department, expand it or leave it alone.  If he's the Director of a store or Kitchen then somewhere along the way he must also decide if there are going to be any changes in his Department's retail prices, as well.  Presumably he’ll want to decide this after the competition does, which leads to all retail price changes being kept secret until the start of the next contract period if competition is fierce.  And while doing all this he must also find time to keep absolutely accurate records of the ownership of each share of his Department's stock, if he's the Director of a stock-issuing Department, and calculate and pay the dividend to the ravenous shareholders.

Now strictly speaking, the Director doesn't do any of this.  All the Director does is direct.  Everyone else does the actual work.  The Director's hands never touch anything except a pen or pencil, and even then it's only to sign his name.

The Director's real work takes place not in his Department but at Board meetings.  One of the rewards of finally getting to the top, remember, is sitting on the all-powerful Board and, for one contract period at least, getting to be one of those supposedly all-powerful people in charge.

The powers of the Board are many.  First and foremost is: 1] the power to change the length of the contract period, with all the disruption of personal interests which inevitably occur when the Promotion Formula shifts.

After this, the most significant power of the Board is: 2] the power to change salaries, always a major event for the players in the Departments involved.  (See Part IV, The Rules.)

In addition, the Board: 3] changes wholesale prices, item by item, always in three percent increments.

And finally, the Board: 4] decides changes in interest rates, capital gains tax, capital loss deduction, and stock commissions.

All these changes are always made for the following contract period, never the present one.  They are always limited to a specified increment, up or down, and there can never be more than one incremental change voted in per contract period.  Therefore changes in the school economy always come slowly, one small step at a time.

The grandest power, as we have said, belongs to the Chairman, namely, the power to set the Board's agenda, hopefully for the common good.  At the end of the contract period, the highest ranking Director under the current Promotion Formula becomes the new Chairman and all the others retire and begin collecting their Director's Pensions, the grandest prizes of the game.  Seniority in the competition for Chairman is measured by the number of contract periods the Director spent in his Department, not the total number spent in the game.  The Chairman gets the same salary as the highest-paid Director and begins collecting his Director's Pension after his term as Chairman.


A Director's Pension, the Grand Prize of the game.

Productivity Index:

None.  The Directors win the Departmental Pension if their Departments win.  The Chairman wins if the Secretariat wins.

Chapter 20 - The Court


Chief Justice (gold)
Justice (silver)


Chosen by election, the Court is the Department that gives the Buckeye Game its democratic character.  Its purpose is to protect students from the absolute monarchy of their Director.  

It's the supreme authority in the Game.

The school is divided into eight election districts.  Each district elects its own Justice and the eight Justices plus the Chief Justice make up the nine-member Court.  A Court majority can overrule any operating decision made by any Director with a simple ruling of Unfair.  

The Buckeye Game has no Constitution for the Justices to interpret.  Instead it relies on their own gut feeling and innate sense of right and wrong to decide what's fair and unfair.

Any player who thinks a Director has been unfair can take his case before the Court.  He does this by telling any Justice, who then tells the Secretariat to enter the case on the docket.

When the Court meets, both sides plead their case and the Justices decide the matter with a simple majority vote.

The Chief Justice schedules the court sessions as often as is necessary to keep the docket clear.  To promote swift justice the Justices don't get paid on Friday if there's a backlog, but they do get their back pay once the docket is cleared.

There's no fee for bringing a case before the Court.

Besides overruling Directors and reversing firings the Court also decides promotion disputes both in Departmental ranking and on the school teams, where the salary grade is decided by the coach.  If, for example, the coach assigns a player to one salary grade and the player thinks he's worth another, the Court decides.  Finally, the Court decides Attachment cases brought by creditors.

At the end of the contract period the Justice most eligible for promotion under the current Promotion Formula becomes the new Chief Justice without having to face reelection, and gets a Director's Pension after his contract period as Chief Justice.  Seniority in the Court is measured by the number of terms (contract periods) a Justice has served, consecutive or not.  The Chief Justice can be reelected to the Court after retirement but his seniority begins again at zero, like any other retired Director.

Salaries for Justices are fixed at the average silver salary for all Departments.  The Chief Justice's salary is the average gold.


Instant silver salary.

Productivity Index:

The change in the net gain in the value of all Bank deposits and stock holdings in the school economy over the previous contract period's net gain.  (Stock prices measured by the final sale of the contract period.) If the value of all deposits and stock holdings declines during a contract period the Court's Productivity Index could jump mightily in the following contract period.

The Court's Productivity Index is calculated by the Secretariat.  None of the Justices need bother with it.

Chapter 21 - The Tax Office


Director of Revenue (gold)
Deputy Director of Revenue (silver)
Senior Auditor (red)
Auditor (green)


The Unemployed get paid their Unemployment Compensation every Friday out of the Treasury, which is maintained by the Secretariat and funded primarily by the proceeds of the Income Tax.  (Also by wholesale revenues from the Stores and Kitchens, and rents paid by Entrepreneurs.) The Treasury also pays the incidental expenses of the non-profit Departments, stationery, postage, etc.  The Secretariat doesn't pay this.  Incidental expenses are not new money entering the game, they're an addition to the tax burden, and waste costs the players money.

At the start of play the tax rate is 17%.  It doesn't stay there long.  Every time the Treasury runs out of money the Income Tax is raised by seven percent in the following contract period.  Every time the Treasury doesn't run out of money for two contract periods in a row the Income Tax is lowered by three percent in the following contract period.  In the Buckeye Game as in real life, taxes are always more easily raised than lowered.

The Secretariat advances the Treasury an interest-free loan to pay the Unemployed any time the Treasury is in deficit but the loan must be repaid from future taxes or other revenues.

The Income Tax is flat-rate and everyone pays it except the Unemployed.

Two kinds of deductions are allowed: 1] Capital Expenditure (for Entrepreneurs only, see Chapter 18) which is directly deductible from the player's tax bill, and 2] Capital Loss on the Stock Exchange, which is deductible from the player's taxable income.  The deduction rate for Capital Loss, like the tax rate for Capital Gain, also is raised and lowered by the Board in 5% increments, as always, according to the politics of the day.

At the end of each contract period the Secretary-General announces what the tax rate will be for the following contract period, based on the financial condition of the Treasury.  At the start of the following contract period each player files an Income Tax return with the Tax Office, listing his name, his income and all his sources of income, his deductions and his tax bill.  Along with his tax return he pays his tax.

When the tax is collected the Director of Revenue hands it over to the Secretary-General, who deposits it into the Treasury.

The Tax Office audits student returns.  Any unreported income they discover goes into the Tax Office's Penalty Fund, including ongoing pensions.  The Tax Office staff splits the proceeds of the Penalty Fund every contract period as a bonus.

Audit policy is decided by the Director of Revenue but can be overruled by the Court.  For example, at the start of play the Tax Office has no files on the student body and keeps no records.  If a Director of Revenue decides to start keeping files, any student can challenge the policy in Court.  Thus it is the Court that decides if the Tax Office can keep ongoing files on the student body.  Likewise, at the start of play any auditor can ask to have a look at the current details of any student's account records at the Bank or the Stock Exchange, but any President of the Bank or Broker at the Exchange can decide not to co-operate and the matter again lands in the Court for a final decision about audit policy.  (See Chapter 21, The Court.)


Penalty Fund, divided evenly among the Tax Office staff each contract period.

Productivity Index:

Number of audits per contract period divided by the number of Tax Office employees.

Chapter 22 - The Unemployment Pool


Unemployed (green)


None.  The Unemployed register at the Secretariat and collect their Unemployment Compensation every Friday.  Unemployment Compensation is fixed at the average green salary for all Departments and can be drawn indefinitely -- for a player's entire high school career if he likes.  (Except in the Marxist Buckeye Game no student can be compelled to take a job he doesn't want.)


No duties, obligations or responsibilities.

Productivity Index:

None.  No chance at the Departmental Pension either.

Chapter 23 - The Band, Chorus & School Teams


Salary levels assigned according to the coach's or faculty sponsor's judgment, based on talent, dedication or both.


The School bands, chorus and teams have no incremental personnel charts the way the Departments do.  The regular rules of hiring, promotion, etc., don't apply here, although a team's salaries can be changed up or down as part of a salary change pair (see the next chapter), the same as any other Department.  If one of the teams is having a fabulous year, the Board can express its appreciation by raising its salaries.  Successive Boards could, if they pleased, raise that team's salaries to the point where they were higher than any Department's.

Similarly, any team that shows poorly on the playing field will be an easy target for a salary cut, and probably get very little sympathy from the Directors or anyone else.

Concerning profit-making activities, the students are free to decide for themselves.  The band can give concerts and sell tickets, etc., and the students can divide the profits as they please, either splitting them among themselves or selling dividend-paying stock or anything else that strikes them as a good idea and that the principal and faculty can be persuaded to go along with.


A second salary, not necessarily small, and such profits as can be made from the organization's efforts.




THE BUCKEYE GAME (complete) - $15, soon to be $20