Playing Economic and Money-Based Board Games
Board games involving economics have been around for centuries. The object of these games is often to be the one with the most money at the end though it could also include resources like property. These games are a wonderful tool for teaching children, and adults, about basic economic principles. They're also often just a lot of fun to play which is why they continue to be so popular among all age groups.
Classic Money Board Games
Most people are familiar with top-selling games like Monopoly and Life, which rely on a player's knowledge and skill with the basic economics of life. Even ancient games like Mancala are based on an economic theme as it developed over the idea of which farmer having the most "seeds" in their store, or mancala, winning the game and obviously planting the most crops.
Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is suitable for three to four players aged 10 and older. This immensely popular game won the "Game of the Century" award and you can choose to play the classic version or many expansions based on shows like Game of Thrones and Star Trek and historical periods like the age of piracy or the Incan civilization. The object of the game is to gather resources by trading to build towns and roads, with the first player reaching 10 victory points winning.
Cashflow Board Game
Consumer finance education site Money Crashers picked Cashflow as one of their top board games to teach financial literacy to children (and adults!). This game is based on the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" books and places the player in a "9 to 5" job where they'll have to achieve all the common steps of adult life such as getting an apartment or house, buying stocks, getting raises and more. It's suitable for between two and six players and is suitable for older children and adults. If you want to play with younger children, there's a Cashflow for Kids version.
The Stock Exchange Game
Another game that's not only fun but educational for all ages is The Stock Exchange. If you've ever wondered about getting into buying stocks but felt overwhelmed at how to start learning, this game is perfect. It's designed for ages 10 and up and for two to six players. The game has three play options based on strategy, partnering and just simple family fun time. The object of the game is to buy and sell stocks and have the best portfolio and the most money at "retirement" when the game ends.
The Allowance Game
Economic games for youngsters, such as the Allowance Game, use play money and other game pieces to introduce children to important money concepts. This game is suitable for children ages five through 11 and is designed for two to four players. The object of the game is to earn an allowance through doing chores while spending it responsibly.
Power Grid is a game that originated in Germany and is known as Funkenschlag there. The goal of the game is to take control of raw materials and power plants to provide electricity for cities on the game board map. The players must work around the economy through the changing cost of commodities and the need for upgrading facilities. The game is suitable for players 12 and up and can be played by two to six players. Power Grid gets nearly an 8 out of 10 on the Board Games Geek website and has received a long list of awards and honors.
Vegas Showdown allows you to build your own hotel and casino while competing for success in the fictional simulation of America's high-stakes town. The game is designed for three to five players and can be enjoyed by players ages 12 and older. The winner of the game is determined by the casino that is the most famous at the close of the game, and players engage in bidding wars and dealing with changing hotel values during the game play. The game was a Game of the Year Winner in 2007 by Games Magazine.
Agricola is a game based on the business of agriculture, specifically a small family farm struggling to deal with scarce resources like labor. The game is for ages 12 and up and can be played alone or with up to five players. The game has won multiple international awards and honors and Board Game Geek gives it an 8 out of 10. It's a fun game that can help hone your strategic skills while giving insight into the economic life of farmers.
Aside from learning about economics, the game Brass can also help teach kids about history. The game takes place in Lancashire, England in the 1800s during the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Players compete by "working" in the cotton industry to produce more product and deal with exports, trade and expansion. The game is designed for two to four players and is best for children 14 or older and adults.
Another perfect choice for history buffs is Concordia, which takes place during the Roman Empire. Players learn about the economic development during this time and must compete to settle colonists and import raw materials and goods into Rome through trade. The game is designed for older children of 13 and up and adults and can be played by two to five players. Concordia not only involves learning about economics but also strategy. The player with the most favor from the Roman gods due to their growing trade network wins.
Economics Can Be Fun!
There are many games available that involve a good knowledge of economics and strategy. Several are kid-friendly and are good choices for family fun that can teach children about good financial habits and basic economic principles. Some even can inspire an interest in history and the interplay of economics with the development of human civilization. Whatever money-based game you decide to play, make sure to have fun and involve your family and friends!