Cashflow Web Game is a digital "port" of the $200 Cashflow 101 boardgame and the $100 expansion, Cashflow 202. As we mentioned in our review of Cashflow 101, it is wildly popular and it's "...easier to find people to play Cashflow than Catan or Puerto Rico." The online game is same as the boardgame except for some game balance fixes. There are some poorly balanced stock cards that allow you to buy stock at below trading ranges, and it is obvious that one should buy as many shares as possible. The web version has a cap on how many shares one can purchase in a transaction. Furthermore, you can only have a maximum of three children, the most cashflow draining event in the game. The Cashflow 202 expansion adds stock options, shorting, and other advanced financial instruments.
Cashflow Web Game
Tabletop Tuesdays: The Most Successful Serious Web Game
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 11/08/2011 - 03:28.|
Tabletop Tuesdays: Holding Company Management
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 09/27/2011 - 12:06.|
Chicago Express is a railroad operations and investment boardgame with zero luck, for up to six players. It is a simplified and shortened, 60-minute version of the the classic 1830: Railways & Robber Barons (1830) boardgame by Francis Tresham. Like 1830, the stock market model is simplistic, but it simulates supply-and-demand and market-cornering elegantly. The premise of both games is that you play a railroad tycoon financing the western expansion of historical American railroad companies in the 1800s.
Das Kasual Kapitalist
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Thu, 05/26/2011 - 19:44.|
Trade Nations is a casual, social econ sim by Z2Live with art and gameplay assistance from Bight Games. Initially developed for iOS, it is now available on Facebook. The difference between the iOS and Facebook versions is slight but the development for iOS has slowed down, while new features are being tested weekly on the Facebook version by Bight Games. The premise of Trade Nations is that you are a ruler of a medieval commune of naive peons. These peons work around the clock and serve you without question. It is the dystopian world of Marx's Capital. Or, one could argue, Trade Nations is a simulation of the forced labor of the Five Year Plan of Mao and Stalin. I mention economics because Trade Nations does a great job of offering an accurate economics engine that is easily understood and accessible by casual and serious gamers alike.
Dungeons and Keynes
|Submitted by the99th on Fri, 02/25/2011 - 08:36.|
Majesty was a game that my brother and I played a lot over Easter about 10 years ago, because in my family, we got presents on Easter - resurrection trumps birth in material yield, my father used to say (he didn't). The game had a certain iconic magic to it, you played a king who had to run a D&D kingdom indirectly, creating the economic incentives for the various heroes to go out and explore, kill monsters, gather loot. The heroes then spend the profits of their adventures on better equipment, healing potions, or new spells. It was a process not unlike the engine that allows the US to conjur money out of nothing and scare the rest of the world into honoring it. It's fantasy Keynesianism, as opposed to the Keynesian fantasy we deal with in real life. But I digress, insulting two religions in the opening paragraph, and I haven't even talked about the religions in this game, which are comparatively more useful.
Tabletop Tuesdays: The Most Successful Serious Game
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 11/02/2010 - 16:19.|
Cashflow 101 is a serious boardgame by a personal finance educator and author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books. Cashflow is the most successful serious boardgame ever made. Perusing online group sites, like Yahoo! Groups or Meetup, you will realize that there are active Cashflow boardgame clubs in every major city around the world. It may be easier to find people to play Cashflow than Catan or Puerto Rico. It is amazing that a game that is self-published and retails for $200 has a large global fanbase.
Tons of laughter!
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Thu, 10/28/2010 - 02:19.|
Cargo Delivery is a physics game of balancing oddly shaped crates on a barge. You stack crates sky high, neatly and tightly, to ensure that you can pack as much as cargo as possible without having it tip over into the ocean. You earn money on the cargo you deliver while trying to meet the minimum requirements, like delivering a certain amount of weight or certain types of cargo. Passive environmental hazards like rain or flying fish are annoying, while active hazards like sharks or whale attacks make it seriously difficult. You can mitigate the hazards by upgrading your ship, such as purchasing a more powerful engine to outrun sharks. The game gets progressively harder as hazards increase and the cargo type requirements become amusingly strange. You will stack explosive balls, fragile triangular wedges, and my favorite, monkeys in cages that bounce and rattle other crates.
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 01:25.|
Ancient Trader is a casual pick-up-and-deliver game on the high seas. It is one of the many modern interpretation of the 80's classic Apple ][ game, Taipan. You and three other (AI) players are captains of trading ships and your goal is find the three mystical items that are scattered throughout the various undiscovered ports, with which you will locate and and beat the boss sea monster. The one that beats the boss is the winner.
You manage your shipping and exploration operations with one sailing ship with basic attributes. You can upgrade your ship to move more spaces per turn, increase cargo capacity, or improve your combat prowess. Your primary source of financing upgrades is arbitrage. You find a port that offers a low price in one of the three commodities: fruit, tea, or spice, buy them then sell them at another port that at a higher price. Once you find a few good ports you will get tempted to "gold farm" by repeatedly trading between few those ports only to upgrade your ships rather than exploring new ports. This can cost you the game because you must balance exploration and upgrades. You need to find the find the three mystical items: book, compass, and sextant to locate and defeat the boss. Furthermore, you have three different types of weapons, and thus you must visit multiple ports to upgrade weapons. Having upgraded weapons is mandatory to the beat the boss and keep other players and minor sea monsters at bay.
What I like about Ancient Trader is the fine balance it has. Trading is a breeze because the commodity prices are shown on the map next to the port, hence you do not have take notes on the prices because they do not change and are always visible. I like trading but I do not like it when it gets repetitive. Over-trading is not an issue because there is immense time pressure from the AI players -- a race to beat the boss, hence there is no time for gold farming. One must balance between the intermediate goals of having a faster, stronger, or larger (cargo bay) ship and then balance those goals to the long-term goals: find the three artifacts and upgrade the weapons to fight the boss.
I found this game to be a good casual game, easy to pick up and and play. Even the combat system is simple; it is rock-paper-scissors with modifiers. I kept playing Ancient Trader because the choices were meaningful and I wanted to find better ways to reach my goals. I recommend this game, especially if you have an Xbox 360 because it is a great multiplayer strategy game that anyone can play. The icing on this cake is the art — it is gorgeous.
I wonder how selling short could be implemented in these pick-up-and-deliver type of games. In the real world financial markets, you can do a reverse transaction called shorting - selling high of borrowed oranges then buying the oranges back at a lower price to return the borrowed oranges. The price difference between the selling and repurchase price would be your profit.
The Sun Never Sets
|Submitted by costik on Mon, 09/13/2010 - 16:23.|
It is often said that we live in an era of uniquely rapid technological change. This is untrue; if you had been born in, say, 1836, the start date of this game and the year of Her Majesty's accession to the British throne, you would over the course of your life have seen the rise of steamships, railroads, and electricity; the mechanization of industry and agriculture; the invention of modern chemistry and physics; a huge rise in population; and a revolution in geopolitical affairs with the emergence of America, Germany, and Japan as Great Powers. In truth, the whole of humanity has been embarked on rapid technological change since then, a fact which makes astonishing the persistence of irrational and antiscientific beliefs in the face of the evidence.
Victoria 2 is another of Paradox's grand strategic games, this one focussing on the Victorian era. Spanning the entire globe, it allows you to play virtually any organized nation of the period, from the mighty British Empire to one of the Indian princely states to, say, Haiti. Though there are diplomatic and certainly military elements to the game, the focus is on economics and politics; whatever nation you play, you spend much of your time attempting to foster industrial development and manage the political aspirations of your people. Among the elements nicely simulated are emigration from Europe and to the Americas and elsewhere, and the possibilities of German and Italian unification.
The original Victoria had major balance problems; I played as Uruguay once (Uruguay!) and became the world's most powerful nation; 2 is much more polished and balanced.
One reason for that, though, is a design choice which strikes me as remarkable -- interesting, but one I don't think I'd ever have made. In common with games of this type, Victoria 2 gives you many, many knobs to twiddle, many ways to micromanage. You can choose what factories to build where, what technologies to develop in what order, what social policies to adopt, and so on and so on. Except that actually you can't; the game shows you the knobs, and then for the most part says "but you can't use them." For example, if your governing party is "liberal" (in the 19th-century sense, meaning pro-market), then you may NOT build factories. That would be a violation of your laissez-faire principles. Instead, you can see what factories your country's capitalists are trying to build, but have to wait until they raise the funds to do so -- and can't really affect their priorities, even though the game's capitalists seem fairly obtuse about their own potential for profit. And their priorities may not be your own ("We need armaments! Not wine, for god's sake!").
Contrariwise, if you are a conservative presidential dictatorship, it is virtually impossible to impose any kind of social reforms, because the game won't let you twiddle those knobs -- freedom of speech? Madness!
Consequently, for much of the game you are sitting back, your only real choices which technology to develop next and where to send your diplomats, while hoping that some game event will occur that lets you do something else useful.
Still, it's interesting, strategically deep, and a decent simulation of the era; the one system that strikes me as notably odd is that for colonization. Essentialy, you must establish a "national priority" luring colonists to an area you want to take over; while this might be a reasonable description of, say, the settlement of the Great Plains or the Argentinean Pampas, it's certainly not a reasonable description of the colonial scramble for Africa. Except in parts of East Africa and Algeria, there was little European settlement, colonies were taken for reasons of prestige or geopolitics (preventing others from threatening communications with India), and were acquired merely by sending a handful of well-armed soldiers to primitive areas that lacked either the ability or the inclination to resist.
As with all games of this sort, there is a high degree of complexity, and yes, you will have to RTFM. But it is excellent of its kind.
Tabletop Tuesday: Puerto Rico Patched and Expanded
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 08/31/2010 - 22:29.|
Real Estate Empire 2
A casual serious tycoon game
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Wed, 08/25/2010 - 01:30.|
Real Estate Empire 2, (REE2) is a serious real estate investment sim that is marketed as a casual tycoon type of game. I love games that are both accurate simulations and fun because then you are tricked into learning, a most clever ploy. When Greg Costikyan did a review of Real E$tate Empire, I immediately bought a copy, because I am a fan of serious investment games. I liked Real E$tate Empire but, it was unnecessary complex in areas like the house repairs options but lacked the basics like the ability to rent. I am glad to see that these short comings were shored up in REE2.