Best Educational - Economic - Business - Financial Games
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Games for a business, investment, and personal growth group.

I attended a personal finance seminar, where entire seminar was, back-to-back games and other activities. The games were all home grown, board games, party games, and live-action-role-playing games. It was a great experience and I want to recreate that in a group that meets on a regular basis.

This is a list of games that I am considering for the club.

The games should:

1) be fun, or I would rather read a book
2) be a good simulation and be realistic
3) teach sound business principles
4) reward team work or at least reduce player vs. player hostility

This list is meant for an audience who are not from boardgamegeek.com

Most of these games can be found at www.boardsandbits.com , if not you can search with this tool, www.boardgameprices.com .
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Sebastian Sohn
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I have locked this geeklist list from input to reduce clutter.

If you want to add input to my list please do it to the source geeklist, Business Economic Finance Games that Help You Get Rich in Real Life, where I decide if games make to this list--Best Educational - Economic - Business - Financial Games.


You can make suggestions or comments to my source geeklist.


Source geeklist: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/3372/
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2. Board Game: Cashflow 101 [Average Rating:4.89 Overall Rank:11048]
Sebastian Sohn
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Combined a role-playing-game elements with a realistic financial simulations.

Cons -- Roll-and-move, dice based movement is archaic. Too random, and stock market model not as well thought out as real estate model. A puzzle that can be solved. Poor tension that builds then flattens in the middle of the game.

Lessons -- debt management, risk management, investment analysis and more

A innovative and pioneering game that is starting a new genre of $200 financial education board games.
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3. Board Game: The Millionaire Maker Game [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Sebastian Sohn
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Fine tuned Cashflow 101.

Cons -- Roll-and-move, dice based movement is STILL archaic. Less random than Cashflow 101 but still too random, and stock market model not as well thought out as real estate model.

Lessons -- debt management, risk management, investment analysis, forcasting, insurance and more

Marginally better than Cashflow 101.

Need to play more to really understand this game.
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4. Board Game: Abundance [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Fine tuned Cashflow 101.

Cons -- Roll-and-move, dice based movement is EVEN STILL archaic. Less random than Cashflow 101 but still too random, and stock market model not as well thought out as real estate model.

Lessons -- debt management, risk management, investment analysis, forcasting, insurance and more

Marginally better than Cashflow 101. Ties character with wealth.

Need to play more to really understand this game.
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5. Board Game: Schoko & Co. [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:2196]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Excellent model of microeconomics.

Cons -- the game mechanism of introducing supply of cocoa is akward

Lessons -- how to run a small business efficiently
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6. Board Game: The Big Idea [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2040]
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Player is pitching Martian gasoline virus

Educational
Fun

play time: 90 minutes

Pros -- uses the creative side of the brain.

Cons -- little

Lessons -- an exercise in creativity. Practice the art of persuasion and your sales and marketing friendly vocabulary.

gameplay:
"... each player has a few cards. Some cards are items (cigarettes, umbrella, car, shack...), others are characteristics (frozen, mentholated, disposable, erotic...). Each player associates two of his cards to generate a new product. Each player has then five minutes to describe his product and his marketing plan, and convince fellow capitalists that they must invest big money in frozen sushis, mentholated pants, disposable chairs or [your cration]..."
-- from Bruno Faidutti's review
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7. Board Game: Chinatown [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:308]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Easy to learn and fast

Cons -- Less flexible negotiation

Lessons -- negotiating.

Buying and selling business in Chinatown, New York. Negotiate your way to the most money! Faster and easier than Traders of Genoa but not as deep.
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8. Board Game: Genoa [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:294]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 180 - 240 minutes

Pros -- Flexible negotiation system

Lessons -- negotiating

Buying and selling good and services as Genoan traders. Everything is negotiable. A masterpiece of board games.
 
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9. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:422]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Great presentation. Innovative interlocking supply and demand chain model.

Cons -- mistakes early in the game are hard to recover from

Lessons -- how supply and demand works, effective timing of leverage (not if but when is the best time to use credit)

The best model of whole sale, distribution, and retail pricing and distribution modeled into seamless game system.
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10. Board Game: Business Strategy [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:6811]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Excellent accounting model. used in business schools

Cons -- too real--is this accounting homework or a game?

Lessons -- accounting and business management

Very dry, more like doing work than a game. The art is purely functional and does not draw you in like the art of the most German games on this list.

 
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11. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:6]
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a farm with fields wheat, vegetables, boars and sheep

Educational
Fun

play time: 90 minutes

Pros -- Great small agribusiness simulation

Cons -- There is an economic system but no currency in the game. There however is money--food. Food token is a yellow plate that looks like a coin across the table.

Realize that money is:
1) store of value
2) medium of exchange

Therefore Agricola's money is the food token. Once you realize that, Agricola s a beautiful agribusiness game. So when you go fishing you get fish then sell it for gold (yellow plate) and you use that gold to pay your workers. When you go get extra room for baby, you are really expanding your facilities and sending a recruiter out to find new works.

There are so many cards, that there is no way the designer and the developers can really test them.

If you play an intro game with no Minor Improvements nor Occupation cards, then put 1 wood token in the "1st next turn" square. The wood does not accumulate, thus only one wood token on that square. This gives makes up for the loss of not being able to play a minor improvement
 
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12. Board Game: El Capitán [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:861]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- Great presentation.

Cons -- more gamey and less of a simulation

Lessons -- overcome the fear of taking loans, deals with psychology of money.

Teaches one lesson well, that it is okay to take loans for business. Will help you play Cashflow 101 better.
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13. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:502]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- An experiment in human psychology disguised as a game. Innovative tying of power and corruption, a cooperative game, that teaches team vs. Sauron, and team vs. selfishness.

Cons -- more gamey and less of a simulation

Lessons -- team work, overcome controlling issues

A game where everyone works together as a team against the game system, Sauron. Feels like a group project at work.
 
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14. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:164]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 90 minutes

Pros -- learn forecasting and risk management in a social way

Cons -- more "gamey" and less of a simulation

Lessons -- forecasting, risk management, and resource management

The commodity production is abstracted into a disconnected theme, where nobody know what will be produced, because it is determined by a die roll. However what I like about the die roll is that the game provides information to practice business forecasting and risk management. You cannot predict the rolls but you can build your town and cities to maximize opportunities to produce.

 

The 8 has more pips (5 dots) showing it higher probability of being rolled than the 4.

As picture above you know that 8 are more likely to be rolled than 4 (8 has more pips than 4), thus try to build towns into corners of 8's or other high number. Also try to build into corners with different numbers than the ones you have already so you have a wide spectrum of numbers. While if you surround one hex with cities and concentrate production, you are likely be a target of the thief or you may have a game where that number is not rolled frequently.

What I like about Catan is that it simulates unpredictability of raw materials and gives but give you enough probability to manage the risks. Games that have pure control over supplies, like Power Grid, is unrealistic, because you can predict exact amounts raw materials that will be produced.

========================================================================
Timothy Sullivan
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suggestions for econ lessons

t_s_sullivan wrote:
...

If I could make a suggestion (I teach economics at the university level), while I realize that many students will think of economics as being the same as finance/business, I'd encourage you to give equal weight to the more subtle (but equally interesting) ideas in economics. Using Settlers, for instance:

1. Scarcity: There rarely is enough of anything (let alone everything) to go around in a game of Settlers. How does the game allow you to get more of what you want? Is it fair that someone with nothing to trade can't get what they need/want? What would be the advantages and disadvantages to changing the rules to require that players with "extra" have to share? (Most folks who think the answer to that last question is easy - in either direction - haven't thought about it hard enough.)

2. Opportunity cost: Buying a development card in Settlers means not saving for a city, which could generate even more cards in the future. It also means not trading away the wool for wood. Even if something isn't valued in dollars, there is still a cost from "using" it.

3. Gains to trade: On the surface, trading seems like a zero-sum game. If A & B make a trade, the total number and mix of cards in their two hands stays the same. So, on the surface, we might suppose that the only way that A can be happy about the trade is if he "ripped off" B (and visa versa). So why is it that both A & B are happy to make the trade? Does it mean that one of them is always duped, or is it possible that they both are better off since they were both able to obtain a resource they didn't have immediate access to? How would they feel if their trade was "disallowed." Who (if anyone) would gain by disallowing the trade?

4.Conflict and cooperation in groups: What other "informal" trades occur during the game that don't reflect resources? For example, If A rolls a 7 and puts the "robber" on B's city hex, what does B tend to do (5 minutes later) when he rolls a 7? If you're generous in allowing someone else to have the red markers, how might that affect your interactions for the game? How does your willingness to "cooperate" with another player change once he has 8 or 9 VPs?

...


Would like to expand #3. Gains to trade:
3a) comparative advantage -- if my territories are ideal for producing bricks but not ores, then I will trade bricks for ores.
3b) diminishing marginal utility -- my 7th brick is not as valuable to me as my 1st brick, and eagerly willing to trade them away for 2-1, 3-1, or even 4-1.
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15. Board Game: Queen's Necklace [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1315]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 60 minutes

Pros -- Beautiful art. Elegant and simple supply and demand model.

Cons -- little gamey

Lessons -- simple demonstration how supply and demand works. The power of the cards are forces that disrupt the markets especially the king and queen who represent the government intervention of markets.


The game actually has a necklace


Gems for sale!

------------------------------------------------------------------------
I play a variant where people who do not come in first during a sale, also get to score/sell their gems at market price. Winner take all in scoring seems too brutal and unrealistic.
 
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16. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:26]
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Educational
Fun

2-5 players, recommend 4 or 5 players

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- teaches chaos management

Cons -- not a business/finance game

Lessons -- simple demonstration how supply and demand works


Chaos management game, trying to have win majority political influence of provinces of Spain by strategically placing, caballeros, your loyal subjects.

Control of province, like the tides, quickly shift and one must adapt and change strategy constantly.

This game teaches how to thrive in chaotic environment.

This is not a strict economic sort of game. It is a (labor) management game that uses resources cubes as politicians.. It is on this list because it teaches an important lesson of having a flexible plan through ever changing business climate.
 
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17. Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:140]
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Educational
Fun

play time: 120 minutes

Pros -- long term planning

Cons -- gamey

Lessons -- how to plan for the long term

Exact opposite El Grande, all about long term planning.

Similar to El Grande, you manage the courts (labor) of China. You have a business forecast for 12 months and must manage labor, hiring and firing during multiple recessions.
 
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18. Board Game: Quo Vadis? [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1294]
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Educational
Fun


With only one seat open at the top (5 circles near the gold eagle, on the right edge), Gray player must negotiate for the last open seat or lose the game.


play time: 60 minutes

Pros -- Easy to learn and ultra fast

Cons -- no money involved in negotiation

Lessons -- negotiating.

Negotiating for political power. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours ... later, Trust me. devil

Faster and easier than China Town and Traders of Genoa but not as deep because favors and points, not money is bargaining the tool.

Some people can't think openly when they negotiate for money rather than points. Although, they are both numbers, when you put a $$$ in front of the numbers, money fears and issues block their thinking.

Thus good for people who want to break easy into learning how to negotiate.
 
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19. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:264]
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Railroads being made across the forest and mountains.

Educational
Fun

play time: 60 minutes

Pros -- beautiful presentation of mergers and acquisition. Rich historical flavor.

Cons -- more gamey and less of a simulation--not so realistic

Lessons -- basic stock market terminology. Concepts of mergers and acquisition, and corporations control.

Buy companies at initial public offerings, then manage companies that you have control over and fight to gain or maintain control of railroad companies.


authentic looking stock share certificates
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20. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:184]
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Educational
Fun

3-5 players, recommend 4 or 5 players

play time: 60 minutes

Pros -- shows various auctions used in different markets

Cons -- supply and demand model has some issues

Lessons -- shows common ways many things are sold bought and sold, creating a markets.

Here is my article on different types of auctions and their use in the different markets.

A sample from my articleon auctions:

Sealed (first-price) Auction
Bids are submitted secretly to the seller; participants do not know each other's bids. This style is commonly used in real estate sale and government contracts.
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