Five Tabletop Games to Make You a Better Investor

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On the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, investor and game collector David Gardner  teamed up with award winning tabletop game designer Rob Daviau to discuss which games make you a better investor. Let’s go over their picks and the logic behind why they might be insightful ways to learn about making money through investment.


Acquire is a tile laying game in which players put hotels on the board and are allowed the opportunity to buy stock in that location. As you and other players place hotels around each other, the value of stock in each location goes up. Businesses grow and eventually merge. It’s essentially a simulation of Wall Street mergers and acquisitions, which trains you to assess different investment opportunities based on the current climate. Acquire teaches us about getting in on something while it’s still small and making sure our eggs are in the right baskets throughout the larger market so that we can profit in the long run.


Dominion: the original popular deck building game. You start with a small deck of cards and build it up as you play. Deck builders are all the rage these days, teaching us all new styles of decision making so we can implement long-term strategies later on down to road.  Gardner claims the thing to be learned here is creativity in working with what you’ve got. Dominion presents us with a situation in which we’ve got a goal and a set of assets to work with and we must learn to make the best of it.


Next on the list is Innovation, a more nuanced game in which you claim human discoveries throughout a number of historical ages. You win by both scoring points from innovations and by making collections of them. It teaches us about ways in which multiple strategies can be employed through the same investments. It’s also just an interesting game about the importance of new ideas in the context of human development.

Modern Art

Modern Art by Reiner Knizia is a bit harder to find. It’s a bidding game in which the paintings auctioned are worth more if others in the same style are sold in that auction as well. The game simulates buzz and the ability for something to catch hold of the market’s attention. Popularity happens very quickly and is recursive, as expectations of others’ wants fuel your own desires. Modern Art does a great job of articulating this concept through the simplicity of an auction mechanic.

Pandemic Legacy

The legacy games, such as Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, are a way to serialize tabletop games that would otherwise be one-shot affairs by allowing the game to affect the board and other mechanics of future games. The rules change as you go and what was a simple board game becomes a campaign you can play many times before it finds a conclusion. Pandemic is generally considered the leading game in this newly popularized world and it’s a blast to play. Gardner picks legacy games like this as teaching us about investing because they keep us thinking long term. Every choice has implications down the road, such as with compounding returns on investment and loans taken out at a particular rate.

Hope this gives you a new perspective on your favorite games as to what you can take away from there. Now go out and get rich. Tell us about it in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: wgunther on Flickr via CC2

Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast, Rio Grande Games, IELLO, Funagain Games,

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