Economics as all fun and games?
August 14, 2007 6:14 PM   Subscribe

What are some other economic board games (besides Monopoly)?

This link kinda got me thinking - what are some other economic board games besides Monopoly (and any variant thereof)?

I don't mean any game that uses money (like The Game of Life) but games that involve buying, selling, trading, etc. like Monopoly or invoke other economic acts (i.e. Traders of Amsterdam, which involves auctioning).

So, what are some other economic board games, past and/or present?

Bonus points for people with details on the original economic board game, The Landlord's Game, which hasn't been made since the guy who made Anti-Monopoly made a version of it called "The Original Monopoly Game" (and try doing an eBay or Google search for that).
posted by champthom to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (32 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Stocks and Bonds.


Possibly more of these 3M adult themed games that came out in the 60s.
posted by frobozz at 6:18 PM on August 14, 2007

Acquire. Endlessly fascinating.
posted by jbickers at 6:19 PM on August 14, 2007

Pit is based on commodities trading.
posted by smackfu at 6:28 PM on August 14, 2007

It was kind of a joke in response to Monopoly, and really it's more social science than economics per se, but an old school chum of my dad's put out a game in the 80s called Class Struggle. I don't remember it actually being much fun to play, but I think the board was pretty funny the first time through, sorta thing... But I was young at the time & easily amused.
posted by mdn at 6:32 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

What about the Cash Flow Game? go to
posted by healthyliving at 6:38 PM on August 14, 2007


Junta is a board game designed by Vincent Tsao originally published by Creative Wargames Workshop in 1978, and later published by West End Games. Players compete as the corrupt power elite families of a fictional parody of a stereotypical Banana republic (specificially Republica de los Bananas) trying to get as much money into their Swiss bank account before the foreign aid money runs out.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 6:39 PM on August 14, 2007

Seconding Pit. It is awesome.

(And Rich Dad games suck. Those guys are even worse than the scummiest subprime mortgage brokers.)
posted by mullacc at 6:42 PM on August 14, 2007

You mean Merchants of Amsterdam? Reiner Knizia has made a ton of other economic games. Here's two I would recommend:
Buy Low Sell High
Modern Art

Other games to look into:
Traders of Genoa
posted by aubilenon at 6:48 PM on August 14, 2007

Game of Nations.

You play as a Middle Eastern power, attempting to put a puppet ruler in place in adjoining countries so that you can pipe oil across the board. Made in the 1970's, and still good today.
posted by djgh at 6:56 PM on August 14, 2007

I second Class Struggle as an amazing game to look at, but not too much fun to play. The rule book is more an intro to Marxist theory (incorporating nuclear weapons!) than a rule book.
posted by thrako at 6:56 PM on August 14, 2007

Settlers of Catan. Excellent fun and much quicker than Monopoly. Always a giggle when you catch an opponent saying "I've got wood for sheep" ;)
posted by Joh at 6:58 PM on August 14, 2007

Careers is actually surprisingly fun. We have the 1962 edition, purchased at a garage sale. The idea is to accumulate money, fame, and happiness, adding up in various ratios to the total you need to win. Mostly it is cool because you get to be a sea captain or an astronaut.
posted by mai at 7:04 PM on August 14, 2007

Acquire is an excellent game and can be played online at
posted by demiurge at 7:07 PM on August 14, 2007

I did a little bit of searching on Board Game Geek and came up with a few lists of well reviewed game s:

Auction / Bidding
Commodity Speculation
Stock Holding
posted by jjb at 7:40 PM on August 14, 2007

"The Allowance Game" - for kids.
posted by true at 7:48 PM on August 14, 2007

Board Game Geek was mentioned already, but they have a category of economic games, where "economic" means "money management is a main feature, not just used to keep score".
posted by mendel at 7:51 PM on August 14, 2007

How about Poleconomy, the British Commonwealth version of Monopoly. I've only played the Canadian version, but apparently there is a UK version and an Australian version.
posted by nightchrome at 8:11 PM on August 14, 2007

Might I make a recommendation AGAINST Rich Dad? Robert Kiyosaki is behind this game and the whole Rich Dad, Poor Dad book. He's a scam artist. He knows nothing about money.

Look here for information, and you may find some game recommendations on this web site as well:
posted by rybreadmed at 8:15 PM on August 14, 2007

Stock Ticker is an incredibly accurate simuation of the commodities market.
posted by doublesix at 8:35 PM on August 14, 2007

How about Poleconomy, the British Commonwealth version of Monopoly. I've only played the Canadian version, but apparently there is a UK version and an Australian version.

Ah, Poleconomy, no wonder I wasn't getting any good hits on a search for Polyconomy. I distinctly remember playing a New Zealand version in the 1980s, but quite possibly I was really playing the Australian version. I quite enjoyed it.
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:43 PM on August 14, 2007

There's a Trump Board Game. I picked it up at a garage sale on a whim, but there was obvious a reason it was being discarded - the game itself wasn't that great. But it fits the criteria, I suppose.
posted by Phire at 8:45 PM on August 14, 2007

posted by pompomtom at 9:34 PM on August 14, 2007

I second The Settlers of Catan but I would definitely invest in The Cities and Knights connector (you need both the original board and the Cities and Knights board together in order to play) then you're buying settlements, cities, soldiers, markets and more! ...but just warning you, it makes it about a Monopoly length game, but well worth it!
posted by lil' ears at 9:52 PM on August 14, 2007

Depends how complex a game you want. The "18xx" series of games (example) are quite complex but rewarding stock-market manipulation games. They're themed around building railroads, but at their core they are about stocks and trying to manipulate markets to increase your own personal holdings - not the holdings of a given company. The 18xx games are the most stock-driven of the railroad games, but many railroad games have a heavy business/economic component, whether it's managing a single company or trying to make the most money for yourself individually by building then gutting a series of companies.

Other quick recommendations, some seconded from others above:
Pit is a fun, fast, simple stock trading game.
Empyrean, Inc is a silly fun card game where you manage a space company trying to make the best of resources on different planets.
Acquire is a famously good business game.
Tycoon is supposed to be good but I haven't played it.

Auction games: Modern Art, Ra, Princes of Florence, For Sale.

Managing a company (roughly): Power Grid, Vegas Showdown

All-purpose good games, with economic elements. (Settlers is perhaps a little more accessible than Puerto Rico):
Puerto Rico
Settlers of Catan
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:59 PM on August 14, 2007

Filthy Rich published by Wizzards of the Coast is a pretty fun game, it revoves around the buying and selling of businesses and creatively uses 9 pocket card pages.
posted by nulledge at 10:57 PM on August 14, 2007

N-thing Settlers of Catan. This is an awesome game. The bartering just brings out my mean side, and I love it :).
posted by fallenposters at 5:23 AM on August 15, 2007

All games have, at their roots, math and/or economics. A game is only as interesting as the decisions you make; economics is the science of decisions. You talk mostly about simulating money management and transactions; Acquire and Modern Art are very pure economic games of this mold and are highly recommended. If you want something like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan is a much better game that
"">scratches all the same itches. But if you really want to talk economics, might I suggest poker, played with people of roughly your own skill level? Actual money management; lots of interesting decisions to make.
posted by blueshammer at 8:41 AM on August 15, 2007

(Acquire is currently out of print, btw.)
posted by blueshammer at 8:42 AM on August 15, 2007

Strong nth for Acquire. The game is 45 years old, but my gaming group just discovered it within the past two years, and it quickly became one of our favorites. (And it's a crime that it's out of print.)

For Sale is a quick little auction game that's actually pretty good.

Since you didn't specifically ask for good games, I'll also mention that Stock Market Game fits, but I don't recommend it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:11 AM on August 15, 2007

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Payday. The board was a calendar month, and you would receive mail (bills, or windfalls) as well as 'quick deal' offers where you could choose to purchase used items (cars, RV, etc) with the potential of selling them at a profit later - provided you landed on a "sell" square before you ran out of money. You'd get a pay check each time you started a new month.
posted by mbatch at 10:24 AM on August 15, 2007

BoardGameGeek also has some user-made GeekLists with examples of economic games. The first game that leaps to my mind is Power Grid, where you build power plants to supply energy to cities and buy the fuel from a limited supply.
posted by Yogurt at 11:00 AM on August 15, 2007

Seconding Payday; that game is great.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

« Older What's the prettiest mid-size laptop?   |   knuckle problems Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.