The game I chose to play for this critique is Cashflow. It is a browser game developed by the Rich Dad company. The high level instructional goal of this game is to improve your personal financial skills across various assets and eventually escape the rat race.
Here is a link to the game.
The apparent learning objectives of the game are to improve your investing skills in assets such as stocks, businesses, real estate etc. to increase your passive income so that this income can exceed your expenses and you can eventually escape the rat race.
Some prerequisite knowledge is required about the game such as knowing passive income, expenses and being able to distinguish between assets and liabilities. Also basic knowledge of trading and borrowing money such as loans is required to play the game. This may be why the game targets people above the age of 14.
You don’t necessarily have to know how to trade stocks or real estate to play this game. For example I have never bought real estate before but I have traded shoes and collectibles before and I understand the principle of buying low and selling high so I think there are areas where transfer of knowledge can help you figure things out as you play the game.
As the game is similar to a tabletop boardgame, for the game mechanics you just have to use your mouse to click buttons and roll the die to play your turn. This is a multiplayer game where you can compete with 6 players in a private room. There is a chat box to communicate with others. You can also chose to play alone which is optimal if you want to learn at your own convenient pace.
The game starts off by letting you chose a dream for you to chase so that you can accomplish the objective of escaping the rat race. It also assigns you a job and monthly income and expenses.
After you roll the die, depending on the tile you land on you are offered: a deal, an unforeseen expense, an extra dependent or a treat yourself purchase. If you are offered a deal you can chose between a big or small deal based on how much money you can afford to risk. And for every turn you play you are able to repay your debts and borrow money if you don’t have any.
The game has an in game economy system with a stock market and real estate market. On which the deals are based on. You can access your financial statements regularly to keep track of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities and decide accordingly when you are given a deal. You main goal for each of these deals is to improve your passive income so that it can cover your expenses
Once your passive income covers your monthly expenses, you have entered the fast track where you are out of the rat race. In the fast track there are only big deals with high cash flow monthly income. Once you cross $450k/month in passive income, you win the game.
After playing the game twice I thought this was interesting. For my first round I started as a secretary with $2500 monthly income and it took me 20 minutes to win the game. On the second round I started as an airline pilot with $9200 income and it took me 11 minutes to win the game. This showed how easy it is for higher income individuals to benefit from investments faster and progress faster financially.
Interest is a learning principle employed right in the beginning of the game to structure the content around their interests so it increases player engagement. At the start, the player is allowed to pick their dream that they want to achieve and the entire game is geared toward getting you to accomplish that dream. I think this concept is relevant to the interest learning principle.
In addition to interest, another learning principle that I think is relevant to the game is Anchored learning. The game uses anchored learning to engage the player in realistic problem solving by making real-world connections in every step of the way such as the similarity between the in-game economy, stock and real estate market and the real-world market.
In conclusion, Cashflow is a good investing game that succeeds as both a learning experience as well as a game. Although it’s not a realistic investing simulator, it employs anchored learning well enough to understand the basic fundamentals of investing and how to improve your personal finances in relation to the real world.
Given that I had some prerequisite knowledge on the game I relied on some transfer of knowledge to pick things along the way and figure it out.
As I progressed through the game, I learnt how to get rid of debt first and then invest in high cash flow opportunities that will increase my passive income so that once it covers all my expenses, I can focus on higher income opportunities that will fast track me towards my dreams.