Trent Hamm, the writer behind the frugality blog The Simple Dollar, is a very big fan of board games. Of course he is, because going outside costs money. He might have to start up the Prius. His kids might want ice cream, even though there are perfectly good ice cubes in the fridge, dammit!
And so on.
Look at the wall of board games. Just how much does he have tied up in this hobby? Remember, this is the man who makes his own laundry detergent.
So even though Mr. Hamm’s obsession with board games drags down the already uncool genre a little further, I have to admit there are some fun games out there. I’m not about to dedicate a whole two shelving units to them or anything, but they’re not all terrible.
You don’t want to hear about my time playing Outburst and cracking 13 different penis jokes about celebrities named Peter. So let’s focus on some financial board games, before we spend too much time reflecting on how creepy the pictured man looks.
(Honorable mention) The Welfare Game
I have never played this game and didn’t even realize it existed until doing research for this post, but it sounds delightful. From a website called Board Game Geek, which Hamm probably owns:
[It’s a] satiric game about public assistance and the department of Social Services. From the rules: “Each player attempts to purchase as many home appliances as possible before the finance company can repossess them. The more appliances a player owns, the more often he can collect finance charges from his opponents. A player may also collect when he lands on his own appliance.”
I don’t know about it being so realistic though. It would be more accurate if players went through the game trying to have illegitimate children, dodging such obstacles as “your man swapped out the condom with holes poked in it” and “can’t get a babysitter to go out to the club tonight. Do you just leave your kids at home alone?”
THIS IS A GREAT IDEA PLEASE VISIT MY KICKSTARTER.
What a stupid game Life was. Everything about it was stupid, from the cars to the spinning wheel instead of dice. Why aren’t you normal, Life?
You spin the wheel and move across the board, landing on squares that have certain life events on them. The point is to go through life and accumulate the most amount of assets at the end, even though there is pretty much no skill involved at all. You can choose to go to college or not, but you’re more likely to end up with a better job via the college route. And then you’ll randomly lose it because the stupid wheel always goes to nine because WHY WOULDN’T YOU HAVE DICE LIKE A NORMAL GAME?
Anyway, life is dumb. But it’s popular, so it made the list.
Geez, Nelson’s not even trying anymore. He’s just making up games.
NOT SO FAST, BUCKO. Not only did this game exist in the 1980s, but it’s almost singlehandedly credited for saving the Fraser Institute think tank from the recession that shot interest rates up to 18%.
Players went around buying either stocks (named after actual Canadian companies), bonds, and other types of assets. If I remember correctly other players owed you money when they landed on your stocks, and then whenever somebody would land on a bond square you’d get double your money back in bonds. Bonds were steady, but when somebody landed on your stock they paid a lot. There was also a player elected prime minister who would set inflation and stuff.
I’m doing a terrible job of describing the game, but it’s worth your time. I’m sure there are old copies everywhere. Check your local thrift store, chances are Trent Hamm has already beat you there.
3. Stock Ticker
Ah, Stock Ticker. The game that made stocks (well, commodities like gold, silver, wheat, etc.) go up or down in value, depending on the rolls of the dice. Kind of like the real stock market but actually not at all.
I used to play this with a couple buddies when we were 18 or 19, and I’d always buy the commodities that went down. But because the stupid dice were random, this usually didn’t work. Just because the last four rolls sent wheat down doesn’t have any bearing on the next roll. So I would lose, even though my friends knew nothing about stocks. Of course I knew nothing either, but it was more nothing than they did.
2. Pay Day!
Pay Day might be the most fun financially themed board game out there. It’s delightfully simple, easy to play, and the game is tilted enough towards the players winning that everyone ends up ahead.
The game board is a month long calendar, and as you roll the dice and go through the month certain things come up. You might be forced to get mail which is usually bad, or get a deal card, which allows you to buy something (like a used car) for ‘x’ and sell it when you hit a buyer square for 25-50% more. Yep, it’s pretty much free money. There’s no downside.
At the end of the month you get paid, and on Sundays there’s a mandated rest period. There’s also a square where you can play “poker” and one called Daylight Savings Time, which apparently happens every month in the world of Pay Day.
You all knew this was going to be number 1. We won’t spend much time talking about it, since you’re already familiar.
But did you know what properties you should buy to maximize your hotel return on investment? Here’s a link, but guess first before you click through. It’s not any of the red properties, which was my guess for some stupid reason.
The worst return on investment? Mediterranean Avenue. So in conclusion, some sort of joke about the Greeks.