Gift Ideas to Teach Finance and Economics!

Gift Ideas to Teach Finance and Economics!

Money BoxAs a creative person, don’t you find many holiday gatherings are a little less….creative than they could be? According to the National Retail Federation, more people are giving gift cards this year as presents than ever before. Gift cards? Have we completely run out of entertaining, interesting ideas for our friends?

A friend of mine suggested board games that teach people about money.

What a fantastic idea!

It turns out that each year over a thousand new board game titles are released. If you walked the aisles of Walmart or Target, you’d never know there were many more options than Monopoly, Cranium and Risk.

Most games designed to “teach” people aren’t actually fun. Instead, look for games that help players build a thirst about money, economics or business because they’re having a blast enjoying the topics.

Here are five super engaging and creative games involving finance:

Modern Art – In this game each player owns an art gallery and a handful of art. Your goal is to sell art that’s “hot” and buy artists before they “make it big.” The most fun part of the game isn’t in the rules: When auctioning off a portrait, try describing the work and the artist’s intentions. You may find the descriptions become funnier as wine flows….

Show Manager – How’d you like to own a theater company putting on shows in different cities, like New York, London and Paris? That’s your role in Show Manager, where you carefully spend money on actors and have to decide when to borrow funds to make productions even better. Your goal is to attract the best talent without running out of cash. An optional rule (it’s explained in detail at the end of the rulebook) involves love triangles on the stage. If two actors fall in love, audiences will feel the chemistry…but if three actors feel romantic tension, the “lover’s triangle” can spoil your production.

Dream Factory – Let’s move from the stage to the silver screen. In this game you own a movie studio and you’re hiring directors, actors, sound engineers and special effects teams. Don’t overpay for talent or you’ll find that while you might win a few rewards, other studio owners who spend money wisely will crank out many more films and win the game! There’s even an award for Worst Film, so studios try to make their own version of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

Bootleggers – Here are some creative types: mafia bosses! Everyone runs a moonshine operation during Prohibition and competes to control and sell goods at speakeasies. Like any business, you’ll weigh decisions carefully: do you add more capacity? Move stills into the woods so the cops don’t find them? Buy more trucks? Hire more henchmen? Careful planning wins the day. There are even rules that allow players to threaten competitors (I’ll play this hit on your henchmen if you don’t pay me money!) And, of course, you have to say “G’s” instead of “thousands,” as in “That’ll cost ya’ three G’s.”

Power Grid – While this game might be the least “creative” of the bunch, for people looking for a Monopoly-style game but with more decisions and less luck, this is your best bet. Players own utility companies expanding across the country. Bid on power plants, maneuver into new cities, buy resources… There is even the option to utilize wind power and fusion….technologies that are very expensive but that can save you big money on resources in the future.

Whether you’re planning on buying one of these games as gifts, or to take over to small holiday gatherings with friends, these are some fun options. Do keep in mind that they aren’t designed to be enjoyed by large groups. For some reason they have yet to create a big party game that involves finance…

I’d love any ideas for an Abundance Bound board game… it could be a real hit!