Despite being responsible for many a shouting match, Monopoly was actually created for a much more noble reason.
Originally called ‘The Landlord’s Game’, the first iteration of the board game was developed in 1902 by Elizabeth Magie – a Georgist who believed any value made off the land should be shared equally amongst the population.
Elizabeth wanted to illustrate the concepts of economic privilege and to show how land and property ownership enriched landlords and impoverished tenants (sound familiar?).
However, she knew that people at the time would find it hard to understand the logic behind the idea, and if she translated the message of the rent problem into a game, it might be easier to understand. And alas, the first iteration of Monopoly was born.
Elizabeth Magie’s idea is an early and perfect example of using a game to bring your message to life. Sometimes, especially in B2B, your point may be difficult to land and a game could be the perfect way to get it across.
With that in mind, here are some compelling examples we have come across to give you some inspiration to bring your story to life in a different kind of way.
This game was created by the FT to illustrate the point that it may be harder to make it in the ‘gig economy’ than it looks, and aims to show the highs and lows of gig working.
Based on real reporting and interviews with Uber employees, the game puts you in the place of a full time Uber driver with kids to look after and a mortgage to pay – giving you a number of scenarios where you have to make difficult decisions to get through each day.
The game successfully brings to life the point that working for someone like Uber (and of course you could easily replace for Deliveroo, Taskrabbit etc.) is full of pitfalls and we should probably be looking at more regulation and legislation around it.
In this 8-Bit thriller from Bloomberg, players are asked to pick a character (from a tech savvy Texan to a mega wealthy entrepreneur) to help save a dying shopping mall.
We are living in dire times for shopping malls in America (and probably across the world) as the huge number of mega-malls built in the good times are now struggling to survive with a change in shopping culture.
The game perfectly brings to life the numerous struggles of managing the decline of an outdated industry and shows the impact that technology (thanks Amazon) and changing consumer trends are having on our economy.
Talking of Amazon, this game from ABC in Australia is taking a direct pop at working conditions in Amazon warehouses and just how grueling that can be.
Like the Uber game, The Amazon Race is based on a series of interviews with real Amazon employees, and puts the user in the place of a new warehouse ‘picker’ who has to find items and get them posted out (but woe betide you stop for a toilet break or a quick rest because your pay will be slashed).
There have been various articles about this issue, but seeing it ‘first hand’ in the form of a game really brings to like what the working conditions at one of the world’s richest companies is actually like (Spoiler: Not good).
You don’t need a game to tell you this, but everyone who works for the NHS is a national hero. It’s a bloody difficult job and they are owed much more respect than they are given (and if you still need convincing then read the brilliant ‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor’ by Adam Kay).
Anyway, while the whole of the NHS creaks under huge pressure, the A+E department is in a particular crisis, with budgets being cut and new baffling government targets that state 95% of patients need to be seen, treated and discharged within 4 hours.
So this game is a pretty simple one – it gives you a series of decisions to make as a doctor and essentially shows you how bloody impossible it is to hit targets and not have Matt Hancock breathing down your neck.
Taking inspiration from Elizabeth Magie back in 1902, Radix Communications (the B2B copywriting aficionados) created their very own Monopoly style board game to bring to life the new buyer journey in B2B and the tips and tricks you need to push your prospects through the funnel.
Radix showed that when thinking about creating a game, you don’t have to think digital and in fact a physical edition (which handily doubles up as a nifty DM) game have more impact.
I believe games like these are going to become more popular as pieces of content for businesses.
They work so well at bringing a message or story to life, and can be particularly powerful in the world of B2B marketing where explaining a concept, idea, product or offer can be especially tricky. A game played for 5 minutes could do the same job as the 30-page brochure of your long read and at the same time have a much bigger impact – so it’s time to get your thinking cap on.
If you would like to talk to us about devising, creating and building a game with you (digital or physical) then get in touch.
In the meantime, enjoy your gaming.
[Heaeder photo: Randy Fath on Unsplash]