Two Swiss bankers have brought an illustrator on board to design a board game that revolves around blockchain. Your work “Token Economy” should teach, educate and explain - and also be fun. The whole thing is financed via crowdfunding, but not via Kickstarter, but via the “We make it” platform. Commendable: The board game should be produced in Germany and rely on sustainable materials and compliance with environmental standards. What is “Token Economy”? The makers can best explain that themselves.


Admittedly, it is a kind of déjà-vu when you open your e-mail inbox and then smile at you a message about a new board game that is all about financial topics. For two Swiss bankers, stocks, bonds and loans weren't complicated enough, so they chose “blockchain” as a central theme.

Token Economy should "represent blockchain in a playful way"

Why does it always have to be bankers who design board games with financial settings? Probably because they are the only ones who still have a clear view of the modern financial world. Because that's the way it is, something should change about that, at least that's a claim that Felix and Dominik, the two authors behind the “Token Economy” board game, have. Indeed, the tangibility of the subject was a trigger for designing exactly this game.

"Dominik and I come from the financial sector, we work at the same bank, and every day we see customers and employees who have no access to financial topics or who have a hard time sticking to it," says Felix Saible, who came up with the idea of ​​the "Token Economy" after he had attended a specialist training course. The bank in which the two people from Zurich work is a pioneer in the field of blockchain banking, so both of them came into contact with the topic early on. Then the aha moment: "Last year I attended a further training course on the topic of blockchain and then experienced that even most professionals have no access to the topic at all," explains Felix Saible - and this moment was something like the hour of birth for " Token Economy ”. His idea as a curious banker with a penchant for handicrafts: design a board game to create a playful learning effect.

Said and done. Felix and his current authoring partner Dominik brought a board game fan and Warhammer fan on board, Loraine complements the team as an illustrator. "It is completely our idea and we would like to contribute to clarification or a little bit to financial education and perhaps ensure that people can get excited about such topics and not put them off," says Felix. The makers assume that blockchain technologies will end up with more and more end customers in the coming years: “This is how people can approach the topic in their private sphere,” explains the author, “have already heard the most important terms, learn the principle tokenization and learn other useful facts from the enclosed booklet, which also shows the history of blockchain and its applications in Switzerland and Liechtenstein ”.

Ripple, Ethereum or Litecoin are different crypto currencies. Image rights: BDC Games

Ripple, Ethereum or Litecoin are different crypto currencies. Image rights: BDC Games

Switzerland and Liechtenstein? Exactly, the board game Token Economy has a strong geographical reference, namely to Vaduz and Zurich, where two stock exchanges are located. There is also a reference to Germany, where the game is supposed to be produced - sustainably and in compliance with environmental standards. This is reflected in the costs. Around 45.000 Swiss francs are to be generated via crowdfunding, which corresponds to just under 42.000 euros. Quite ambitious if you look around at projects that are to be implemented using “crowd financing”. “However, we are simply covering the costs for the first edition of 2.000 copies as well as all the costs that we have incurred so far,” explains Felix Saible. "We just want the game to actually be produced and help people understand blockchain a little better." And so it was decided to go through a well-known manufacturer from Germany, appreciated the personal contact to the production site and relied on the expertise of the contact persons there.

The Swiss are doing everything in their power to finance their project successfully. What if it still doesn't work? “If the crowdfunding doesn't work, which we don't hope, then we won't stop and try to finance the game ourselves by generating pre-orders from companies as best we can, who will give the game to their employees and customers want ”, explains Felix Saible. "As soon as we have the minimum order quantity in this case, we would start with the B2B business and produce a certain amount more that we would like to sell in our own online shop and a few small game dealers in Zurich." So there is a plan just in case, but giving up is not an option, says Felix. “We firmly believe in the token economy and that financial topics can also inspire. In addition, we already have other ideas and want to translate even more financial topics into games! "

Consciously placed on the niche

The makers know that financial topics are a niche in board games and blockchain is even more so - and they consciously rely on it. "We would like to be represented in the specialist trade on the one hand and on the other hand to approach companies and educational institutions - we are already in negotiations with some universities from Switzerland and Liechtenstein," says Felix Saible happily. It is precisely because it is a completely new approach that it is interesting for them. In a later step, the authors would also like to approach schools, in the medium to long term with additional games, as more everyday financial topics, such as the Swiss pension system or the topic of consumer credit, then also deal with them.

You can quickly see that Felix and Dominik go to work as idealists, among other things because “In most countries, financial education is neglected!”. What sounds aloof is rooted in everyday life: “You may learn mathematics, but that already stops when you pay installments for mobile phones and teenagers' debt is becoming more and more of a problem in Switzerland, for example,” explains Felix Saible. “If we were to get into schools with our games, that would be the starting point. And yes, we stay loyal to board games, even though everyone is talking about digitization and apps - people love things to touch and unpack ”.

Trading - and thus interaction - is playfully the focus of the token economy. Image rights: BDC Games

Trading - and thus interaction - is playfully the focus of the token economy. Image rights: BDC Games

The token economy financing campaign is now running on the crowdfunding platform “We make it”. Various “pledges” are available, the basic game costs 65 Swiss francs, a little over 60 euros. Quite a proud price, which the makers explain: “At first glance, of course, you get a lovingly designed game of high quality. In addition to a large playing field, the game includes instructions, a booklet, 137 physical tokens, possession, course and event cards as well as playing figures, play money and a notepad for your own crypto trading. " Then the real trick that could make the ambitious hobby investor sit up and take notice: “In addition, we enable a learning effect that maybe ensures that you get more information about the topic and don't make wrong decisions later. You are certainly not an expert in tokenization, but you will no longer let your bank advisor talk you into the first product you come across. "

Finance or Fantasy? Mainly mechanics!

Because board players who are more passionate about the price, i.e. connoisseurs or experts, are addressed, the question arises whether this target group is addressed with token economy: “We organized a game night for connoisseurs in the new Gameorama game museum in Lucerne. Of course, they took our game apart down to the last detail and provided incredibly valuable input, and that's when I - as a banker - asked them whether they would let the topic touch them or whether they found it appealing. The answer was: Do you know whether we are immersing ourselves in a fantasy world or in finance does not matter to us if the game is well made and works. "

And when it comes to function: How exactly does the Token Economy board game actually work? Felix Saible explains the concept: “The central game element is trading with one another and on the stock exchanges. Each player starts with a lot of money and then has the opportunity to buy various assets in the course of the game. And since you can - compared to a classic share - bring almost everything to the blockchain, i.e. tokenize, pretty much everything is represented here: from night clubs to companies, license rights, football player transfers to a fund or ski lift operator. "

And the marmot greets you every day: In the end, it's all about the money again. Image rights: BCD Games

And the marmot greets you every day: In the end, it's all about the money again. Image rights: BCD Games

There are also two stock exchanges on the field: Zurich and Vaduz. As soon as the first one is sold (if you secure an exchange you have a slight advantage because you collect trading fees from the other players), all players can tokenize their assets and trade in cryptocurrencies. For the latter, there are price fields and associated cards, on each of which the current price of five crypto currencies is shown. Tokenization is either voluntary or based on external influencing factors, e.g. event cards. Crypto trading is about growing your own wealth. With tokenization, it is about building up the cleverest possible investments (alone or in a team against others), on the one hand to build up assets through dividend payments and on the other hand to protect yourself against cost traps. There is also the HODL special field (term from the blockchain scene), where all players are rewarded with crypto currencies and can toast with their drinks.

In the end, the team with the highest fortune wins. Unusual: the board game does not have an automatic ending. “Token Economy can be played for a very long time and the players are free to decide when they want to stop,” says author Felix Saible, explaining the idea. "However, we are currently still incorporating feedback from our Game Nights and blind tests that we have organized." For example, a “clock” could be introduced so that the score can be measured after each round.

If you are looking for more information on the token economy, please visit the Project page for the crowdfunding campaign find it. There the makers explain in a video what is behind them and their ideas. Time remains until November 13th, then the financing phase ends. By the way: So far, the Swiss have collected a little more than a fifth of the required amount.


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Last updated on 25.11.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API