I lead my company’s Games Club, where I recently formed a community for tabletop players. One day, a colleague who is a Sun Life Financial Advisor asked me if they could share a game in the office. Sun Life wants us to play board game in the office? I was sold immediately. A few e-mails later, my group organized a Game Night featuring Praxis – a simple game centered around the complex subject of life.
To win in Praxis, you must accumulate as much wealth as you can before time runs out. The game is designed to be as close to real life as possible by simulating real economic conditions. This adds to the suspense you will experience while playing, thus making every session different.
Praxis only takes a few minutes to set up. Aside from the usual play money, plastic figures, and dice, the game has several components that represent the available financial instruments a person has access to in real life:
- Savings Cards
- Insurance Cards
- Retirement Plan Cards
- Stock Cards
These factors all have an impact on your final score, and only through playing the game will you learn how much each card is worth at the end. To add to this, each session will have a game master who will facilitate the session and at any time stop the game to announce changes which will impact how everyone plays.
Playing Praxis is very straightforward. Each player starts with the same job and salary, then moves around the board with a dice roll. Depending on where you land, you can do any of the following to help you accumulate wealth:
- Get savings
- Purchase a retirement plan
- Purchase insurance
- Purchase property
Each of these actions will cost play money, but you will have opportunities to change your job so you can afford them. It’s possible to get a higher paying job, but you might end up with a lower paying job or, worse, no job at all!
After a certain amount of time has passed, the game master will announce that the stock market is open, where you can choose to buy stocks from several industries at a set price. But when this happens, the game can be stopped at any time with which the game master can announce breaking news which will force you to change how you play. At any moment, there can be an epidemic where you will be hospitalized and be forced to pay high bills, or a recession which will drop the value of all the stocks you bought, or a boom which will make your property more valuable than when you purchased it. The breaking news adds to Praxis’s unpredictability and fun, as any or all of these can happen to you in each game you play.
Praxis Around the World
The game was designed by Sense for Money, a company whose focus is to enable financial literacy and education through games. In the Philippines (where I’m from), Praxis is licensed to Sun Life Financial which uses it in line with its financial literacy advocacy and has received positive feedback from players which you can find here and here. Should you wish to hold game sessions for your institution like a corporation or school, you can contact Sun Life by going to www.sunlife.com.ph.
In Singapore where Sense for Money is headquartered in, Praxis is being taught in schools where you can view here and you can find more information about Sense for Money on their Facebook page here. The game is seeing play around the world and should you wish to hold sessions to an area closest to you, contact Sense for Money by going here.
Praxis is a simple game that will teach you a very important lesson, which I won’t spoil; you have to play to find out. After just one game, the players I saw were so inspired from what they learned that they started talking to the Sun Life facilitators about planning for their future. It was then I realized how powerful a game can be in making you think about the rest of your life.