Can A Pirate Ship Game Teach Kids About Money?

Parsons design and technology thesis students came up with a pirate ship board game that has the twin goals of teaching personal finance to kids and not sucking.

Roll the device, advance around the board, assemble a crew, buy a cannon, buy a ship, collect gold, fight monsters and take on Poseidon!

Players earn compounding gold coin interest for gold they’ve deposited in the treasure chest (i.e. bank). Money in there is safe from when Moby Dick attacks you (teaching value of saving). Withdrawal penalties accrue when you’re not at the treasure chest (teaching about retirement savings accounts).


The first player who collects 20 gold coins wins!

It’s only a prototype, but the idea is neat. Certainly does a better job of teaching kids about money than Candyland.

Financial Education Game Presentation (Chris Choi, Burcum Turkmen, Ricardo Grego) [MFADT Thesis Site] (Thanks to c-side!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. georgi55 says:

    Is hijack oil tanker a space :p

  2. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Not sure if I like the idea of children being exposed to booty and Moby Dick and being taught withdrawal is not a good thing.

  3. MacBenah says:

    What, no ninjas (IRS)?

  4. Bob Lu says:

    Sadly in real world nowadays putting your gold coins in the treasure chest generates nearly no interest, and there is certain risk that the treasure chest will sink into the water, with your gold coins.

  5. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    All I remember about kids and pirate ships is that one is to grip your tongue between one’s fingers and say “I was born on a pirate ship.”

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I think Monopoly is still a really good tool to teach about money if you use it properly.

    • SixOfOne says:

      You have a point, but man that game can turn ugly (or boring) fairly quickly.

    • A.Mercer says:

      Monopoly is missing finance charges and compound interest. Also, using compound interest for investing. I know there is a 10% charge to unmortgage a property but that is not too educational. You pay 10% regardless of how long you keep the property mortgaged. Now, if you had to pay a 10% fee for each property mortgaged each time you passed go then that is a bit closer to reality. You would be less likely to mortgage unless you were financially ready for it (or knew that the extra money would put in you for the kill).

      As for investing, it would be a more educational game if it allowed you to use your money in a way that allowed it to grow without having to buy properties or houses. Monopoly is a fun game and it teaches you how to spend money and you learn a bit about running out of money but it is not really educational from a personal finance point of view. A few tweaks and it could be there though. There are a lot of areas of managing your money in real life that are not covered in Monopoly.

      • Firethorn says:

        Monopoly also has the problem of being zero-sum. In reality, both the owner of the property and the renter(player who lands there) would experience some benefit.

        Basically Monopoly teaches ruthless exploitation, not cooperation for mutual gain.

        I remember a game called ‘millionaire’, which was a bit more complicated and not quite as good that was better – it wasn’t a race towards bankrupting the other players, it was a race to a million dollars. Many of the moves had multiple players benefiting.

  7. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    If it looks one is going to lose…can you just walk away from what you owe…or…can one except a bail out?

  8. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    A pirate game will better prepare them for a career on Wall Street.

  9. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Isn’t there already a game about mortgages and banking.. Hmm…

  10. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Meh. Get them the old school DOS version of Drug Lord and that will teach them about trading commodities and fluctuations in market prices as well as the value of a good gat.

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