How I turn to Old Games to Create New Financial Literacy Tools
In the years before children subdued themselves to iPhones, Playstations, and the internet, there were three definitions of playing: an outdoor sport, an 8-bit family computer, and good ole’ board games.
Summers were the best time to play board games especially for us scrawny little nerds. The sweltering heat made it difficult to kick or shoot balls outdoors. Family computers were fun, but our parents frowned upon our growing addiction for it, so we played it—at most—an hour or two per weekend.
Thus, we dabbled with board games for most of the week--Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo, Casino, Games of the General, etc. Those games revolutionized a good share of my childhood memories.
Nowadays, when pressed on what he thinks about board games, my nephew would rather quip, “bored” games, followed by a snooze and a snore. He isn’t far off with his impression since those tabletop cardboards have been replaced by a downloadable, more mobile, free apps you can get with their smartphones.
But then I told him, if you think board games are boring, it’s because you haven’t played Dungeons and Dragons yet.
Why what’s so great about Dungeons and Dragons? he asked.
Two things, I said with conviction: One, D&D exercised my imagination through role-playing. Two, it helped me understand my emotions when placed in challenging situations.
Now, you may be wondering, why am I reminiscing about board games and Dungeons and Dragons, when I should be talking about financial planning and education?
Because I manage i-TeachOptions, a great deal of my time is spent on
coming up with novel ways of teaching financial literacy. Seminars and
workshops are a given, but I have to do something different to make people become aware of the importance of savings.
Recently, I’ve been hard at work inventing unique, original tabletop
games that teach money and investment. Although there had been quite a lot of these games, including Cashflow by Robert Kiyosaki and Praxis by Sense for Money. I’m creating custom-made games that can be incorporated into my financial workshops.
I’m doing this purely because of my passion for game development,
particularly with tabletop board games that for many has become archaic and out-of-style. But what these games can do that other, newer app and console games can’t is a shared social imagination and interaction between players.
Which brings me back to D&D and the other classic games I used to
play. They’re old games, but they are the new tools for financial education.
Board games can be a fun and intriguing tool for teaching. It can teach
you the basics. It can teach you how to escape the Rat Race as what Cashflow does. It can teach you financial planning like Praxis.
What I did differently with my own board games is to teach the fundamentals and, more importantly, attempt to make you become aware of your emotions while going through some financial simulations
My goal as a financial educator is to create everyday money conundrums with other players. By putting social interaction (and peer-pressure) into the mix, all sorts of emotions may come out which, most of the time, determine our behavior towards money.
And that’s the point of my games and workshops really: simulate your
emotions through games just like what role-playing games do.
E-M-O-T-I-O-N-S. They’re the keys to real understanding. Emotions induce chemical reactions to the right brain. If you want to learn something that can last a lifetime. Feel the lesson. Feel its blunt force to impact you. Make it go under your skin. Rattle your veins and pump your bloodstream.
To be relevant, games and workshops need to become an emotional
experience, not listening sessions. Listening sessions, like typical financial wellness seminars, are nearly inefficient because people tend to forget the lesson after 72 hours or less.
That’s my mission, I believe, to make the lessons stick with you for
the rest of your life. And the best way to do that is to play games and have fun.
Now, let’s play.
(Zombies vs Insurance: Board Game and Scarcity: Board Game will available in July 2019 and will be exclusively sold in i-TeachOptions workshops. Stay tuned for announcements).