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Seeking True Economic Games

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I'm creating a list of economic games (video games, computer board games, online board games, etc). If anyone has any suggestions of new or old games that meet the following specifications please let me know! It's much harder to find these types of games than you think. Player side financial investment can include things such as shares of stock, loans, and bonds. An example of a game that does not qualify is Acquire (because it is solely financial with no non-financial industrial input from the player). This includes Speculator for those who remember that game on DOS.
 
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
*at least 1 non-financial sector and persistent industrial process must be manually done by player
*player side financial investment in other entities must exist (not simply loans being granted by CPU)
 

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The definition of economic games seems a bit hazy here. That list has plenty of Tycoon games which I personally think are not economic games. Those tycoon games are more simulators with money as score than real economic games. I actually think Acquire and Speculator should be among the list.

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11 minutes ago, alnite said:

The definition of economic games seems a bit hazy here. That list has plenty of Tycoon games which I personally think are not economic games. Those tycoon games are more simulators with money as score than real economic games. I actually think Acquire and Speculator should be among the list.

 

What I mean by economic is the inclusion of all economic factors, not just finance. Acquire and Speculator only deal with a financial aspect of business, but the games on this list deal with both finance and industry (such as construction, manufacturing, transport, etc). Investment is also another mandatory tool to be included on this list.

Could you give me an example of what you mean by one of the tycoon games that just use money as score? I completely agree that most of these games have unrealistic currency mechanics, but at the moment that is almost every game in existence. I would agree that many (not all) of the games on this list wouldn't qualify as true economic games in the most strict sense, but I cannot define economic games like that yet because of the lack of these games.

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7 minutes ago, Abram Jones said:

Could you give me an example of what you mean by one of the tycoon games that just use money as score?

Transport Tycoon/OpenTTD/Railroad Tycoon are more about delivering goods than money management. I still play OpenTTD once in a while, and I like that game because of the challenge in creating an extensive transportation network across many cities with complex railroad signals, not because I can earn money. It has deeper mechanics in railroad signals than money. The money is just a score, and it matters less when you start having $1,000,000,000.

What about an RPG with trading aspects? What about Monopoly? What about Civilization? What about Jones in the Fast Lane? All of these have some form of currency.

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13 minutes ago, alnite said:

Transport Tycoon/OpenTTD/Railroad Tycoon are more about delivering goods than money management. I still play OpenTTD once in a while, and I like that game because of the challenge in creating an extensive transportation network across many cities with complex railroad signals, not because I can earn money. It has deeper mechanics in railroad signals than money. The money is just a score, and it matters less when you start having $1,000,000,000.

What about an RPG with trading aspects? What about Monopoly? What about Civilization? What about Jones in the Fast Lane? All of these have some form of currency.

 

Transport Tycoon/OpenTTD: These games barely qualify for the list because technically investment is possible. After a certain number of years a company's stock can be traded, though the stock market system is terrible. The loan system is simple and only done through a non-dynamic AI, so that does not count toward qualification. If the stock market and loan system were upgraded a bit this would be a very well rounded economic game by the current standards I have set.

Railroad Tycoon: The bond and stock market on these games is a little more realistic, so this game qualifies pretty easily under current requirements.

Monopoly and Civilization: There is no ability to financially invest in other companies in these games. Civilization doesn't even have corporations, it is simply 1 person controlling every aspect of a civilization. Monopoly also has no non-financial industrial aspect to the game.

Jones In The Fast Lane: Though a very cool game, investing is completely random with no in game dynamics, there is no real economy behind the stock market. It is more like a casino.

Edited by Abram Jones

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10 hours ago, Abram Jones said:

 

Transport Tycoon/OpenTTD: These games barely qualify for the list because technically investment is possible. After a certain number of years a company's stock can be traded, though the stock market system is terrible. The loan system is simple and only done through a non-dynamic AI, so that does not count toward qualification. If the stock market and loan system were upgraded a bit this would be a very well rounded economic game by the current standards I have set.

OpenTTD for sure does not have any stock/bond trading. It only has basic loans and subsidies. I don't know about the recent Transport Tycoon.

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The X series. Most notably X3:Terran conflict.

 

Although parts of the economy are faked (namely consumption of military goods), monopolizing the economy, then expanding it by creating new demand is the name of the game when it comes to getting stronger.

It also has a stock market with bare bones simulation.

Edited by conquestor3

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3 hours ago, alnite said:

OpenTTD for sure does not have any stock/bond trading. It only has basic loans and subsidies. I don't know about the recent Transport Tycoon.

Have they removed it from the game? Last time I played a few years ago OpenTTD still had stock trading. I'm unfamiliar with the "recent" Transport Tycoon, can you elaborate?

2 hours ago, conquestor3 said:

The X series. Most notably X3:Terran conflict.

 

Although parts of the economy are faked (namely consumption of military goods), monopolizing the economy, then expanding it by creating new demand is the name of the game when it comes to getting stronger.

It also has a stock market with bare bones simulation.

People have mentioned this series to me before but didn't go into details, can you elaborate on the stock market a bit?

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A board game I loved as a teen was Axis and Allies.  The game inspired me to find, or attempt to make, a game that better reflected more aspects of global domination.  I always felt the economic aspect in most games to be weak and gloss over so many strategic elements of globally competitive economic policy.  England was able to win the 100 years war because it was open to a flexible monetary policies allowing for increased debt and inflation, further stimulating economic activity, where as France was rigid and wanted to keep inflation and debt at bay.  In China more than a thousand years ago they experienced hyper inflation of their currency seriously debilitating their trade because they thought there was no consequence to printing endless bills of paper claims on goods.

Anyways, an elegant board game I played recently which, in my opinion, displays a simple but elegant representation of economics and its influence in global affairs is called "Imperial 2030"  Fantastic.  It may have something worth checking out.

Edited by Awoken

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45 minutes ago, Awoken said:

A board game I loved as a teen was Axis and Allies.  The game inspired me to find, or attempt to make, a game that better reflected more aspects of global domination.  I always felt the economic aspect in most games to be weak and gloss over so many strategic elements of globally competitive economic policy.  England was able to win the 100 years war because it was open to a flexible monetary policies allowing for increased debt and inflation, further stimulating economic activity, where as France was rigid and wanted to keep inflation and debt at bay.  In China more than a thousand years ago they experienced hyper inflation of their currency seriously debilitating their trade because they thought there was no consequence to printing endless bills of paper claims on goods.

Anyways, an elegant board game I played recently which, in my opinion, displays a simple but elegant representation of economics and its influence in global affairs is called "Imperial 2030"  Fantastic.  It may have something worth checking out.

Have you attempted to make a game that does this? If so I would like to see it. I am working on one that incorporates all these economic elements that you mention (including multiple currencies)

I did a quick search for Imperial 2030 and it looks like it can be played online. I may check it out... can you give any details on the economic tools the game has?

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17 hours ago, Abram Jones said:

Have you attempted to make a game that does this? If so I would like to see it. I am working on one that incorporates all these economic elements that you mention (including multiple currencies)

Well I have a blog you can check out 

However that being said, I've only just finished up the type of engine I'll need to capture what I envision for this game.  I've attempted to make this game reflecting better economics four times.  The first one was an expanded rule base for Axis and Allies that incorporated trade, but at that time I had no clue how the economy works and nor did any of my friends, It was all guess work.  The second was a Visual Basic project I made where you could assign your population to various industries such as Manufacturing, Mining, Energy, Transportation, Agriculture and Banking. I made it so you could freely choose how much money you wanted to inject in the whole system.  I was headed somewhere with the idea but it had major flaws and limitations to the approach.  The third focused more on individual people and was made in Visual Studio.  Again I ran into concept limitations and got caught up in over-complication of useless things. 

Now my final approach is to create a 3D world where individual people are simulated, each with their own respective needs.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to programme a successful simulation much like Sim-City.  In Sim-City you zone out the land and build infrastructure and the game simulates the evolution of a city depending on your zoning choices.  Well similarly I'm hoping to create a Sim-Civilization cross where depending on the zoning, policy and building choices you make, those choices will directly determine how wealthy and powerful your people will become, along with what they practise, believe and invent, reflecting a society.  I've narrowed down my approach to early/primitive societies.  I have no idea it its going to work, or if it'll be fun, but I'm going to take a stab at it.

How about you?  What is your game all about?  What's your angle?

 

17 hours ago, Abram Jones said:

I did a quick search for Imperial 2030 and it looks like it can be played online. I may check it out... can you give any details on the economic tools the game has?

The game has 6 playable countries, U.S, Europe, India, China, Russia and Brazil.  Each player is able to purchase bonds for any given country.  If a player owns the most bonds of that respective country they are able to play as the military element on the country in question.  As a country expands its borders it earns more money ( and is able to pay out rates on bonds, bonus money to the owning player, and increase it's military presence ) through taxes. Every so often the bonds pay out a rate to the players which the players can then use to buy more bonds.  Players are not limited to which country they can buy bonds for, and they don't need to own a majority stake in a country, in which case they play as the Swiss Bank.  They player with the most wealth at the end wins.

Edited by Awoken

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13 hours ago, Awoken said:

Well I have a blog you can check out 

However that being said, I've only just finished up the type of engine I'll need to capture what I envision for this game.  I've attempted to make this game reflecting better economics four times.  The first one was an expanded rule base for Axis and Allies that incorporated trade, but at that time I had no clue how the economy works and nor did any of my friends, It was all guess work.  The second was a Visual Basic project I made where you could assign your population to various industries such as Manufacturing, Mining, Energy, Transportation, Agriculture and Banking. I made it so you could freely choose how much money you wanted to inject in the whole system.  I was headed somewhere with the idea but it had major flaws and limitations to the approach.  The third focused more on individual people and was made in Visual Studio.  Again I ran into concept limitations and got caught up in over-complication of useless things. 

Now my final approach is to create a 3D world where individual people are simulated, each with their own respective needs.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to programme a successful simulation much like Sim-City.  In Sim-City you zone out the land and build infrastructure and the game simulates the evolution of a city depending on your zoning choices.  Well similarly I'm hoping to create a Sim-Civilization cross where depending on the zoning, policy and building choices you make, those choices will directly determine how wealthy and powerful your people will become, along with what they practise, believe and invent, reflecting a society.  I've narrowed down my approach to early/primitive societies.  I have no idea it its going to work, or if it'll be fun, but I'm going to take a stab at it.

How about you?  What is your game all about?  What's your angle?

 

The game has 6 playable countries, U.S, Europe, India, China, Russia and Brazil.  Each player is able to purchase bonds for any given country.  If a player owns the most bonds of that respective country they are able to play as the military element on the country in question.  As a country expands its borders it earns more money ( and is able to pay out rates on bonds, bonus money to the owning player, and increase it's military presence ) through taxes. Every so often the bonds pay out a rate to the players which the players can then use to buy more bonds.  Players are not limited to which country they can buy bonds for, and they don't need to own a majority stake in a country, in which case they play as the Swiss Bank.  They player with the most wealth at the end wins.

 

Your game:

It looks like you are on the right track with this, impressive thoughts on economy in your latest post. I'm following your project now. If you complete this you will join my game and one other (that I know of off the top of my head) to have multiple currencies. Not to be confused with the "multiple currencies" of "pay to win" games, which is unfortunately corrupting the term. I'm sure there are other legitimate multiple currency games buried somewhere, but I've never come across them in my searches... however, I mostly look at games featuring investment before anything else. I'm very interested in seeing how the economy in your game turns out. I do like the concept of the sims and civilization... both games had huge potential... but the economic side of each game is absolute garbage. If you could improve this you will create a winning recipe (in my opinion). In the last few years games are finally starting to develop real economies with loan systems... but still not much going on in regards to currency and share trading. Your game looks good too.

What I'm doing:

I just have a simultaneous turn based MMO board game which is still under development (but largely playable). It features multiple currencies as mentioned as well as currency trading, shares of stock (including takeovers and dividends), bonds and bond trading, real estate, retail, and other industrial elements such as transportation, construction, manufacturing, resource gathering, technology, etc. One unique element of my game is that each "lot" has 2 ownership values... normal ownership and sovereignty. So a player may have normal ownership of a lot while another has sovereignty and is able to set zoning and taxes/tariffs. Another unique mechanic is culture, in game characters automatically join certain abstract cultures depending on the situation, this can lead to cultural rivalry and cooperation (it's hard to explain here). Players can also "outfit" their in game characters to other player's groups for any purpose such as employment, military, etc. For example, I may have a group ABC and you may have a group XYZ. If you affiliate ABC I can outfit my character(s) to XYZ and that character will then be temporarily under both our control. Other than these ideas natural disasters, elections, crime, reproduction, healthcare, terraforming, and piracy are also in the game.

Imperial 2030:

Well it sounds like that game would qualify for this economic list. Does the first Imperial have these same economic features? Also, can you sell back bonds that you purchase?

Edited by Abram Jones

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11 hours ago, Abram Jones said:

I do like the concept of the sims and civilization... both games had huge potential... but the economic side of each game is absolute garbage. If you could improve this you will create a winning recipe (in my opinion).

 Thanks Abram. 

11 hours ago, Abram Jones said:

Another unique mechanic is culture, in game characters automatically join certain abstract cultures depending on the situation, this can lead to cultural rivalry and cooperation (it's hard to explain here). Players can also "outfit" their in game characters to other player's groups for any purpose such as employment, military, etc. For example, I may have a group ABC and you may have a group XYZ. If you affiliate ABC I can outfit my character(s) to XYZ and that character will then be temporarily under both our control.

Interesting.  I think we're kind of approaching these themes in a similar fashion.  In the game I'm making it'll be all about influence, and if you gain majority influence over somebody you can dictate their actions.  Similarly more than one player can influence a simulated person at the same time.  I'd be interested to learn more about how you've incorporated the cultural elements you mentioned. 

I'll let you know others have used GameDev.net to showcase their boargames.  Do you a website or blog one could checkout?

No, you can't sell back bonds in Imperial 2030.  I don't think there are previous versions of the game. 

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12 hours ago, Awoken said:

 

 Thanks Abram. 

Interesting.  I think we're kind of approaching these themes in a similar fashion.  In the game I'm making it'll be all about influence, and if you gain majority influence over somebody you can dictate their actions.  Similarly more than one player can influence a simulated person at the same time.  I'd be interested to learn more about how you've incorporated the cultural elements you mentioned. 

I'll let you know others have used GameDev.net to showcase their boargames.  Do you a website or blog one could checkout?

No, you can't sell back bonds in Imperial 2030.  I don't think there are previous versions of the game. 

It's actually an online board game styled video game based off a board game I made, it can be played online at http://tacticaloverload.nfshost.com  When do you think you will have your first release?

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Nice, I'm going to check your site out.  As for a release date for my project.  I wish I knew.  If I had the money I'd open a video game studio to get this project going, but for now I'm going to see if concept is doable and fun.  If the latter turns out to be yes, then I'm going to take aim at doing a kick-starter campaign to make a solid attempt at turning this proof of concept project into a real game.  That is my intention, step by step.  But it's taken me 4 years to get to where I am today, and I'd imagine 4 more to get it to a good enough level where I could consider doing to kick-starter. 

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Abram, I just registered for your game and gave it a quick whirl.  There are a lot of similarities between what the two of us are tying to do, kinda cool.  Looking good so far, it'll be neat to see what you do with it as time goes on.

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On 12/16/2017 at 4:25 PM, Awoken said:

Nice, I'm going to check your site out.  As for a release date for my project.  I wish I knew.  If I had the money I'd open a video game studio to get this project going, but for now I'm going to see if concept is doable and fun.  If the latter turns out to be yes, then I'm going to take aim at doing a kick-starter campaign to make a solid attempt at turning this proof of concept project into a real game.  That is my intention, step by step.  But it's taken me 4 years to get to where I am today, and I'd imagine 4 more to get it to a good enough level where I could consider doing to kick-starter. 

 

Believe me, I know how hard it is. I totally understand.

 

On 12/16/2017 at 4:46 PM, Awoken said:

Abram, I just registered for your game and gave it a quick whirl.  There are a lot of similarities between what the two of us are tying to do, kinda cool.  Looking good so far, it'll be neat to see what you do with it as time goes on.

 

Thanks! Hope to see you stop in once in a while.

Edited by Abram Jones

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