Terrapin Resources

CAPS Administrator Manual

CAPS is a economy simulation for younger students. Every student manages a company that is well-known for embroidering baseball caps. Students buy blank caps, set the price and a few other parameters that they think is best for their company to thrive.

Unfortunately, their company is not alone. Other students build up a fierce competition, and everybody relies on their economic skills (and some luck) to have their companies prosper.

The contest administration is responsible for closing a round, and having the results computed. After each round, students can view the proceedings of their company as well as an industry report with an overview of the market.

Students compete against each other in groups of four to eight competitors. Contest administrators can change several parameters, like how much rent there is to pay, or how much a box of caps costs.

Usually, students operate in teams, so it is better to use the term “team” from now on.

Contest Management


Only the system administrator is able to create or to delete contests. The contest administrator mails the list of participants to the system administrator, who sets up the contest.

The list of participants is a CSV file containing the team names, their assigned groups (a contest can have multiple groups of 4-8 teams), and their email addresses. Optionally, the CSV file may also contain the passwords; if they are not supplied, the system generates the passwords.

CSV files can be created with any spreadsheet program. There should not be any header line. Contest administrator(s) have an empty group name, or a group number of zero. The columns of that file are as follows:

  • group name or number (0 or empty for administrators)
  • team name, all upper case, minimum three ASCII letters or digits
  • password (optional, case sensitive)
  • email address

Here is an example of a contest CSV file:


This file defines an administrator ADMIN with two groups of four teams each. Passwords are all lower case.


Once the contest has been created, the contest administrator can change several contest parameters by selecting the contest name in the menu.

  • Number of Decisions: Teams can enter up to four decisions. Younger teams might find this difficult; the administrator can, for example, limit the decisions to price only.
  • Base Demand: Overall demand can be increased or decreased.
  • Caps per Box: How many caps does a box contain?
  • Max Price: The maximum that teams can enter as their price.
  • Box Cost: How much does a box cost the team?
  • Rent: How high is the rent per period?
  • Production Cost per Box: How much does it cost to process a box of caps?

There is a checkbox that can be cleared to prevent teams from altering their email address and/or password.

Finally, the complete list of teams is available, where an administrator can change email addresses and/or passwords for any team.

As soon as the contest has been set up, the administrator sends an email to all participants, and the contest may begin!


Administrators can lock the contest so teams cannot enter any decisions. After closing a period, the contest remains locked to give teams time to review their reports.

Enter Decisions

Administrators can enter decisions for any team.

Close Period

This menu item closes and processes the team decisions. The administrator can send out email reminders to any teams that have not entered their decisions yet. When a period is closed, the following happens:

  1. Decisions are attached to the team data. Missing decisions are replaced with the team decisions for the last period.
  2. The next period is computed using the team decisions and the current parameter set.
  3. The contest is locked.
  4. Emails are sent to all teams.

Revert Period

It can happen that one or more periods need to be undone, maybe because there were too many missing decisions, or the contest parameters have caused to contest to produce unlikely results. This menu item lets administrators go back to any period and to restart the contest from there.


The administrator can view any report for any team, plus the group industry report. In addition, contest administrators receive a summary report with a detailed overview over the results for a better understanding of the results, and to support the changing of contest parameters.

Email Management

The built-in bulk mail system sends out emails to all participants, or to a group or recipients. An edit area is available to receive the names of the receiving teams. This area can be populated with all teams, or with teams that have not entered any decisions yet; entering team names manually is also possible. Several templates are available, one of them being a custom template, free to use for any purpose. Templates are HTML files with embedded variables, which can be edited freely to fit the contest; a preview is available to help with formatting.

Team Management

Contest administrators can switch to any team so they can see that the team sees, and switch back to the administrator menu.