New board game makes learning about shares fun

New board game makes learning about shares fun

A new board game built on the basic principles of how to invest in shares and aimed at making investing fun is about to hit coffee tables around the country.

Sharenanigans is a fun and highly competitive game by new start-up Flip the Table, designed to do for investing what Monopoly has done for the property market.

Founder Alli Kennedy came up with Sharenanigans during her time at Te Whare o Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury Summer Startup Programme in 2021, when she set out to solve the problem around a lack of financial knowledge in the younger generation.

“We get told that you should start investing young, but it’s not really taught,” says Ms Kennedy. “When I first started thinking about the idea, I asked students why they haven’t started to invest and they said: ‘I don’t have enough money’, ‘I’m not from a family that invests’, ‘I don’t have a financial background’. So when I started building the game I wanted to show that even if you only invested small amounts, you can build wealth, and even if you only understand supply and demand at a very basic level, you already have enough understanding to explore it more. The challenge was how to make it interesting.”

The game, which is targeted to children aged eight to 15 years old, has four key goals: to create a discussion-starter; to break the inter-generational knowledge gap and bring the family together; to break negative assumptions around investing; and, most importantly, to create a fun, highly competitive game.

Through playing Sharenanigans, players learn share market basics – for example, at the start of each turn, players can buy and sell shares. If they buy shares, the price goes up; if they sell shares, the price goes down. Around the board are also world events, which impact share pricing, and there is a focus on diversification. A key difference to other investing games is selecting a goal card at the start of the game, which sets the objective of that game while also mirroring real life financial goals, such as saving for retirement, or saving for a house.

While many new start-ups feature a tech element, Ms Kennedy says early in the project, it was clear that this needed to be a tangible product.

“I started out by creating a gamified app, but quickly changed it into a board game given the audience – from both a kids and parents point of view. Parents loved the idea, as it is something they could do together that isn’t screen-related, and we found that gamifying the subject helps kids retain the information for longer. The more they play, the more they will understand the strategy behind the game and receive an introductory experience in investing without realising it.”

During the Summer Startup Programme, Clive Antony and Peter Glasson from Antony & Mates saw the potential of the product and came on board as shareholders. Ms Kennedy has since graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and is now working on Sharenanigans full-time.

A PledgeMe account has been set up to help fund the initial manufacturing of 1,750 units. “PledgeMe is great market validation,” says Ms Kennedy. “If we get a good number of sales on PledgeMe then we know that it is a product we are going to be able to sell at the retail level. We’re estimating selling 50% of the games through PledgeMe, and the rest via retail stores and our website. We’ve already had strong interest from a high-end local boutique store, as well as a national bookstore chain.”

While the initial focus will be New Zealand, Ms Kennedy is keen to expand into Australia within twelve months, while also looking at ideas for expansion packs, such as cryptocurrency. She also has plans to extend the company beyond the board game.

“I’ve loved this process and would love to look beyond just the board game to develop a company based on making investing more accessible, such as a facilitated education programme in schools. My goal is to go full speed ahead to make investing more accessible to people from all walks of life.”

If you are interested in supporting a local start-up and purchasing your own edition of the game, visit Sharenanigans.

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