Play Games to Learn Business and Entrepreneurship

Play to learn business
Play to learn business
I love playing games, especially business simulation and strategy games. I particularly enjoy the fun and realistic part of the business games, and I do learn quite a lot from the simulated business environment.

Some games, of course, are better than the others in term of how well they help gamers to learn the principle and tricks in doing business.

If you enjoy playing games and are passionate about entrepreneurship, I suggest you to seek business and entrepreneurship-related games and play them to hone your business skills, for a number of reasons:

  • Games are on simulated or virtual environment – You can make mistake and try different scenarios as much as you like (don’t cheat, though… by cheating, the educational purposes of game is nulled.)
  • Games help you hone your risk taking skills. Believe it or not, even in a game, people are still afraid of taking risks – So I believe your acts or decisions in business games can show the real you.
  • Games’ audio-visual properties can help you learn more and grasp concepts better.
  • Games help you develop your planning and managerial skills – In several business games, your abilities to plan and manage are tested in a way that you will have to multitask in real-time.
  • Games are supposed to be fun, and having fun speeds your learning process. recommends…

Of all, these are the business games I recommend you to try, as they have helped me in my entrepreneurial journey:

Trevor Chan’s Capitalism II – PC Game

Trevor Chan's Capitalism II
Trevor Chan's Capitalism II
This is the best business simulation game in term of giving me basic understanding how business in capitalistic world works (The early version is great too, but Capitalism II has more complexity – more to learn.) The depth of the game is intriguing – Even today, I still think it is still the best game of its kind.

The game is basically about starting up a business in a city and brings it into a business empire that could hosts stores, factories, and farms in multiple cities, as well as stocks and real estate investing. Capitalism II can simulate the economic cycles of the cities – The booming economy and – like today – the recession. It also takes into account the city population’s buying power and income level, as well as the different economic value of your business premises.

To add to the depth of the game, you have to develop good business and marketing plans to be able to compete with others (yes, there are other entrepreneurs with different preset capability to compete for market share) – You can also trapped in price wars if you sell products that have the same quality and brand image as your competitors.

At the same time, you have to manage your finance – You need to cut overheads and improve profitability to stay afloat and give your shareholders better value for their stocks (yes, there are stocks buyers who will buy your stocks when your business is doing well and sell them when your business is going downward.)

If you feel running tens of business units are troublesome, you could start hiring a CEO, CFO or CTO to help relieve some pressure of your back, as a business owner. But the good ones are very expensive, and can drain your business cash flow if you make wrong hiring decisions.

The game includes an in-game comprehensive guide to manufacturing, retailing and farming, stocks trading and real estate investing – In itself, a great learning resource for someone want to have a good grasp on entrepreneurship and business functions management.

Rich Dad’s Cashflow 101 and Cashflow 202 – Board Game

Cashflow board game
Cashflow board game
Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad series are life-changing. His business games, with their strong personal finance flavours, are helping me and many other people to understand the basics of financial independence – I have implemented about 80% of his principles, also found in Cashflow 101 and 202, and I must say they work well.

The game starts you with a job (from Police Officer to Doctor) and a ‘dream’ (or a carrot) as your ‘ultimate’ milestone (from traveling the world to dinner with the President.) Early in the game, you hustlin’ and bustlin’ your way through a rat race – Paycheck to paycheck, while opportunities come and go, waiting for you to make the right decisions on them.

Your aim in Cashflow: To have enough passive income from the ‘purchased’ opportunities (varies from real estate ownership to business ownership) to quit your job (and the rat race) and enter the ‘game of the riches’ – Big investments (from those as safe as a profitable business chain to those as risky as investing in a gold mine.)

From Cashflow 101 you learn how to increase your passive income, while building assets and reducing expenses. You can also learn how to analyse the prospect and the profitability of the opportunities that allows you to spot good opportunities and bad ones.

In Cashflow 202, you learn a bit further – You learn how to ‘play’ in stocks market. You learn how to react to bullish and bearish market and on how to use put and call options to your benefits.

There is a PC and online Cashflow game, but I think the board games are the best of all, as we are also using pen and paper to do our financials – This will speed up our learning process while having fun.

Virtonomics – Online Game / Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG)

Virtonomics is the latest business game I discovered and played. It is an online game, which allows you to play as a budding entrepreneur doing business with other human players in real time.

Just as the other business game, you start your business from scratch (or get an inheritance from your grandfather for newbie player) building retail shops with products to source from in-game business owners (virtual businessmen), as well as from other real human business owners.

Later in the game, you can start building factories, farms and mines to supply other human players and/or your own stores, and for better profit margin and more sales. The aim: To be the most successful Virtonomics business owner.

The educational value of Virtonomics is not as enormous as the other two games I recommend, but it is the best place to compete with real people, giving you the most sophisticated competitors and partners.

If you are games skeptics, I hope you can now consider that games are not time-wasters, after all. They are very challenging and can aid you to face the real, harsh, world of entrepreneurship.

Ivan Widjaya
Business game player
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