5 Financial Lessons you can learn from Debtzilla Board Game
Debtzilla: The Board Game is a superhero co-operative board game that puts players in the role of a secret identity superhero, who has to manage his finances as a common salaryman during the day, and combating villains at night. At the end of the game, the players have to defeat Debtzilla as the final boss in order to win the game. The game is making use of the superhero theme to bring out essential financial lessons and here are 5 of the important ones:
Lesson 1: Savings is Important
Unlike Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow game which requires players to make use of a complex income statement, Debtzilla redesigns the balance sheet into a simple 5 card system whereby each card represents 20% of the player's income.
For example, in a typical draw like the above, you as a player will get 5 cards that symbolize what a working adult’s income might end up to be - 40% of comfort expenses (aka Luxury Card), 40% loan interest (aka Credit Card Loan Card), and only 20% left as savings (aka Savings Card)
The game emphasizes the importance of savings by budgeting and paying off credit card loans to avoid interest piling up. These ways to increase savings are represented in the game by:
a) removing Luxury Card using Budgeting Card
b) paying off Credit Card Loan using Savings Card
A good cashflow by increasing your savings is essential to buy the necessary gadgets to defeat Debtzilla!
Lesson 2: Good Debt Vs Bad Debt
Like in the real world, debts are powerful cards yet they are also double-edged swords. As a player, if these debts are not managed well, the disadvantages of cumulative interest will outweigh the benefits that you can get from the items bought via debt. This is when any good debt turns into bad debt.
In Debtzilla, there are 3 kinds of debts that symbolizes what we have in real life which players can choose to take.
Each of the debt cards gives different benefit to the players in the game.
For example: credit card loan gives a player $3 immediately but incur $1 of expenses every time it is drawn, while housing loan does not give upfront cash but generates $2 every time it is drawn. However, taking any of these debts will also make the game more difficult as it will add to the power of Debtzilla, making it harder to be defeated.
Maintaining Good Debt and reducing Bad Debt is critical in staying on to the game!
Lesson 3: Importance of Insurance
The game also highlights the critical need of insurance coverage for unexpected situations when one least expects them. In this game, Debtzilla acts like a natural disaster and inflicts penalties on everyone out of the blue.
Getting insurance in the game acts like a shield against the devastating effects inflicted on the heroes, like how real life situations could be. As a player, together with your team mates, you must accumulate a good amount of insurance coverage before you confront Debtzilla as the final boss.
Failure to have sufficient coverage will result in severely disadvantaged heroes stomped into bankruptcy!
Lesson 4: The Danger of Compound Interest
In many games we have curated, players tend to borrow when debt level is low and only attempt to pay down the debt when the compound interest has rolled to such a big amount. No matter how much money they tried returning the debt, they could just only delay the inevitable. This effect is similar to ‘Loanshark’ (debt creditor) victims who are stuck in debt traps due to the high interest rates charged. They will not ever be able to pay off the initial loan amount and will be always paying off the ever increasing interest.