Wongamania: Banana Economy 
Unleash financial monsters such as Debtzilla, Inflationsaurus and Taxopus to destroy the wealth of your competitors. Orchestrate the downfall of other elites by destroying their personal lives through car accidents, expensive divorces and shotgun babies. Do you have what it takes to survive in this cut-throat world of money mania?
Call me sadistic, but when I was first introduced to the above description for a game I was about to test-play, I got instantly excited. 

Last week, I got invited to try out a newly-launched card game called Wongamania: Banana Economy with a few other financial writers. Now, Wongamania is not a game entirely new to me, as I first played it a few months ago. However, at that time, the game didn't leave a lasting impression on me, nor did it make me want to play it a second time. 

As a huge fan of Monopoly Deal, I relish card games that make you think and plan out your moves in advance in order to secure the ultimate win. I remember one exuberant night when I played Monopoly Deal against 4 guys and another girl. Throughout the game, the guys were busy fighting each other, while the rest of us girls kept quiet through most of the rounds. I was silently collecting and re-organizing my cards, analyzing how I could maintain a low-profile and not be seen as a threat, and then finally delivering my win in a single round before anyone could stop me.

At the crucial turn, when it was down to either one of the guys winning (it was a very, very close fight), I displayed my cards and swooped the championship.

My biggest satisfaction was that no one saw the threat until it was too late *smirk*.

Anyway, I digress. Frankly speaking, I was a little disappointed with the lack of strategy in the original Wongamania card game, as it was mostly about making your moves fast. The faster you move and accumulate, the sooner you win. Hesitate too long and you'll fall out of the competition.

I like games that make me think, discover and learn...all in a fun way. The original Wongamania game didn't live up to my expectations, so I brushed it off as "just another game".

So when Xeo, the game designer, told me they had worked on previous feedback and was about to officially launch Version 2 (better and more innovative), I was skeptical, but was happy to be proven wrong after I tried it out.

The above picture illustrates the basis for the game. The different quadrants represent various stages of the economy, which in turn affects your various assets.

As a very basic introduction, you balance between the different asset classes of stocks, properties and bonds. In a recession, your bonds will be the most resilient (obviously), but this is also where you get golden opportunities to buy stocks and properties for cheap in a depressed market.

(If you are not familiar with the different market stages and how different asset classes perform in each situation, this is a great way to learn!)

The end goal sounds simple enough - buy 3 trust funds to win! This is similar to Monopoly Deal, where you need to accumulate 3 full sets of properties to be crowned champion. But Wongamania: Banana Economy requires a lot more strategy and fast-thinking actions - a challenge that I loved!

Know someone you don't like? Challenge them to a game of Wongamania: Banana Economy, and attack them with these "frenemy cards" to bleed their stash of cash and force them to sell certain assets! *evil laugh*

I kid. (No, not really.)

If you're interested to get your hands on the game, do check out their Kickstarter project here and support this local initiative!

Wongamania: Banana Economy fits all levels and is suitable even for the young (although they might take a while to truly appreciate the teachings of the game). For those keen on picking up financial literacy, this game provides a quick (30-minute) crash course into the world of economics and personal finance.

Another aspect of the game that I really enjoyed lies in the fact that it is easy to learn, but difficult to master. The concepts you learn from this game is also pretty straightforward and applicable to real life. Although it is an easy game to pick up (thus making it suitable even for children), it offers a surprising amount of tactical depth and replay value. 

It is almost like the "Monopoly Deal" version for personal and market finance. 

Do check their project for more details about the game, and support them if you like the sound of it! I thoroughly enjoyed the game and am intending to purchase a set for keeps. 

As for me, I'm looking forward to the next time I get to play this again. (Xeo, if you're reading this, how about a second round with a few other seasoned financial writers? :P)

P.S. NOT a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are from my own independent review.

With love,
Budget Babe


  1. Hi,

    How can we ( the readers) have the luxury to play this game with the financial writers :-)

  2. I will be relatively free next week, now that the dust of the Kickstarter campaign has settled down a bit. We can invite your readers to have a game with you if they are interested! Other financial bloggers asking me when I only invited you, Chris and Alvin that time, so they are also interested to join in to try out the new version.

  3. wow Wongamania look fun. It reminded me of old Moneymoney and still existing Virtonomics which is pretty much based on classic monopoly and Tycoon games.