This entry marks my first blog post for 2015 and here, I'm going to introduce my readers to a very cool card game called Wongamania. I had the privilege of attending the preview of Wongamania First Edition last week at BigFatPurse Office and it was certainly an eye-opening experience for me to play such a fun and educational game.
Wongamania is a financial edutainment card game designed by Mr Xeo Lye from Capital Gains LLP.
'Wonga' essentially means 'money' and the aim of the game is to teach players how to make economic decisions based on the fluctuating financial market. If you find economics or finance boring and dry (trust me, I feel ya), then this game will change your mind.
I expected myself to be a total noob when it comes to playing card games of such nature. After all, I've never regarded myself as a smart investor and I thought I would have trouble understanding how to play the game.
Interestingly, I surprised myself by winning 2 out of 3 rounds. I guessed the game was layman enough for my understanding and it looks like you need not be some financial expert to play this game well.
In the first round, I was admittedly very blur; was confused over the requirements of the cards, got sabo-ed by other players and kept making unwise investment decisions. Perhaps practice makes perfect because I got smarter on the 2nd and 3rd round and started to strategize before playing. I even had my chance to do 'payback time'. MUAH HA HA!
Players have to play the card game according to the economic cycle which reflects real-life economic stages of Recovery, Growth, Stagnant and Recession. The market price within the quadrants reflect the buying and selling prices of your assets while the profit grid represents the interests/dividends that you can get from your assets at each turn.
Notice a golden token with the letter 'W' on it? That's the economic token and it moves along the profit grid after all players have had their turn. Sometimes, you can also affect the placement of the economic token along the grid by playing cards that affect the economic situation.
After playing several rounds of this game with my family, we realized that it was more challenging and exciting to begin the game from the Recession quadrant. I supposed it spices up the game when everyone had to resort to desperate measures to prevent themselves from losing money. :)
These are the cards that you would come across during the game, namely:
1. Asset cards (Blue) - Your assets come in the form of stock, property or bond. Players tend to buy assets to accumulate wealth (since you can earn interest/dividends at each turn) and you can sell them off at a later stage to get more 'Wongas'.
The catch is that stocks and properties are susceptible to market fluctuations and you might sometimes find yourself having to sell off a stock/property at a lower-than-desired market price. Bonds are my favourite because they are fixed deposits and are not affected by market changes.
2. Incident cards (Orange) - These cards reflect personal events in life that affect the process of wealth accumulation. It might be having a critical illness, having a baby or going on vacation that would require some sacrifice of your 'Wongas'. I call these cards the 'sabo cards' as well because you can target other players to fall ill, give birth or take a holiday.
3. Global cards (Green) - These cards feature global situations which can move the economic token and affect everybody in the game. Examples of such cards are natural disaster and rising of interest rates. Each time the economic token moves, some people gain and some people lose. That's what makes the game exciting.
4. Professional cards (Red) - These cards feature rare powerful individuals that can disrupt a player or affect the economy. For example, you can play a 'tax collector' card and make another player give up half of his/her income to you. You can also play a 'Politician' card and move the economic token to any profit grid. Amazing, huh?
These Trust Fund cards are perhaps the most important cards in the game because once you collect 3 of them, YOU WIN. To do so, you have to exchange '8 Wongas' in your Personal Bank for 1 trust fund card.
The cards that you play in your hands are called Opportunity cards. These opportunity cards can consist of a mixture of asset cards, incident cards, global cards and professional cards.
Capital Gains previously released a Limited Edition version of the game but I prefer this First Edition version which was illustrated by Ms Kaitlin Tai, a Design and Media graduate from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She chose to adopt a 'cartoonish' and brightly coloured design in order to bring out a different and 'less serious' image of the game. I think that's great because it made the game more appealing to me, or rather to other ladies and even children.
This game is suitable for ages 8+ and above but I personally found it more fun to play this game with other adults. After all, I am not sure whether Primary 2 kids would have the interest to play financial games (at least I don't think I had that interest when I was an 8 year old kid).
The game can be played by 2 to 6 people but I would recommend playing in either groups of 3 or 4. The game ends pretty quickly when only two people are playing and a group size of 5 or more can make the game long and draggy.
Photo credits to BigFatPurse.
Many thanks to Capital Gains and BigFatPurse for organizing such a fun and enriching event!
Wongamania First Edition retails at $38 and can be purchased on Capital Gains website here or Wongamania website here.
Disclaimer: Reviews are based on personal experiences.