SG Got Game: Local card game helps make sense of finance
The world of finance can be hard to get one’s head around at the best of times.
One local team gave themselves the difficult task of turning big financial terms into playable cartoons for the card game, Wongamania: Banana Economy, published by game design studio Capital Gains.
“We asked: How can we make finance more fun?” game designer Xeo Lye, 36, told The New Paper.
PLAY & LEARN: (From left) Game designer Xeo Lye, marketing director Yvonne Lai and comic artist Andy Choo with their educational Wongamania: Banana Economy. TNP PHOTO: MAX PASAKORN
Featuring cute artwork by local comic artist Andy Choo, 31, the game aims to teach the basic concepts of financial literacy.
Players take turns to invest their in-game currency — known as Wonga in the game — or play cards that may affect the values of investments they “buy”.
Mr Lye’s vision was to design a game as well as create something to educate the young.
BACK TO BASICS
He learnt a lesson in 2007 from the launch of his mobile app, Capital Gains Investment Game. It was high cost, high risk and low in profits.
Still smarting from that, Mr Lye decided: Let’s go back to basics and go back to tabletop.
“(In 2007), there were almost no tabletop game designers in Singapore,” said Mr Lye.
And the only tabletop game he could recall that taught financial literacy was Cashflow 101 in 1996.
He saw a potential market.
Banana Economy is the second iteration of Wongamania.
The original came out in 2014, and it proved popular enough for Mr Lye to try a sequel.
The other advantage of this card game over Mr Lye’s earlier app is crowdfunding.
Artwork from the Hotel card in Wongamania: Banana Economy. Artwork courtesy of Andy Choo
This Wongamania was funded on Kickstarter last December and it exceeded its A$10,000 (S$10,300) target by over A$5,000.
The game is designed for players aged 10 and above, but Mr Lye said that younger children can play it as well when some of the more complex cards are removed.
Wongamania is meant to be played internationally but being a locallydesigned game, some of the images have a local flavour.
Ms Yvonne Lai, 24, Capital Games’ marketing director, has a theory for the preference of cards over pixels.
“When you play a card game, you interact with everyone. It is easier to talk about how to play and glean learning points from the game,” she said.
Capital Gains is also launching an e-book supplement, Wonganomics, which will help explain financial jargon.
There is also another game in the works — Debtzilla.
Wongamania: Banana Economy is available for pre-order on wongamania.com at $38.