Thursday, October 26, 2017

Bulls & Bears Board Game on Kickstarter

Bulls and Bears is a financial board game from 1988. The first version of the game sold over 10,000 copies. I have talked with the designer on a few occasions and I may be helping him to turn the game into something more Euro-style. In the meantime, they are kickstarting a new version of the original game, called Trumponomics vs. Bernienomics (yeah, okay).

It has the usual roll-and-move mechanics, with a few clever additions that make it better than other games of its type.

For one thing, trivia questions are informative about stock market topics, but rather than simply answer them, you react to events by putting your money down or taking actions, after which the result of the event (what went up or down in the world as a result of the event) is revealed, and you gain or lose by it. As such, the mechanics of learning about the stock market are integrated right into the play, which makes for both better learning and a better play experience.

Unlike Monopoly, the game ends and is won when someone reaches $200k, which means less direct competition and a game that doesn't drag on. There is already a Euroish feel in that you are building a kind of economic engine through your investments.

Topics include financial markets, commodities, insurance, housing, mortgage, retirement, and so forth. The designer has a PhD and worked at the world bank for many years. Their website includes online play and guidebooks for educators.

This new edition is a roll and move game, like the original, which is what it is. But if you like non-gamer games, and you actually want to learn real financial information with a game that's actually fun to play, this may be your thing.

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