A lot of people these days seem to be looking for financial freedom or a better working set-up for themselves and their family. Working conditions, pressures and hours of employment aren’t giving most of us that precious time with our children, families, friends, hobbies and interests and other ventures we wish to pursue.
Thanks to our education system none of us really have an initial financial intellect or mindset from the start and don’t have the required knowledge for what matters in life. We tend to have to source and find that extra education, training or knowledge in order to grow a business, create a passive income or have a successful online business. The more of us in the “rat race” keep “others” happy and in turn, keeps the system going.
Information, courses and education are a lot more accessible now these days thanks to technology and communications and a few of us are making the leap. There are all kinds of suggestions, ideas, “get rich quick” schemes and resources out there helping us all with the end result of individual financial freedom. It’s what we do with information and how much time we invest in it that matters. So it wasn’t surprising that I was interested in the Rich Dad Cashflow game.
Robert T. Kiyosaki is a well-known financial entrepreneur, born 8 April 1947 in Hilo, Hawaii, United States and is the founder behind the Rich Dad branding. This ties in with his number one best-selling book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad (second edition released April 2017.) Robert has released many other books, material and resources including a few versions of the Rich Dad Cashflow game, including a children’s variation which I mention in my other article Fun Learning Games for Kids – Education Through Play.
It was this very board game that got me thinking about my financial freedom, life ahead and its financial security. This game influenced me to learn about trading the markets, switch bank and saving accounts, double up my efforts on my personal selling of items/goods and got me into affiliate marketing by joining the Wealthy Affiliate University. I can honestly say it has changed me, or more accurately my mindset into making money and a passive income using various ideas and the power of a global market over the internet.
This game portrays us in the “rat race” going around and around, picking up a wage, spending money on items and material goods, having children and dealing with the expenses and pitfalls of life. Each player can monitor their financial situation during the game with a financial statement and their mindset will steer decisions for them in regards to investments and the spending and saving of money that they will encounter through various cards and spaces.
The idea of the game is to seek opportunities, invest and make your money work for you building up a passive income that surpasses your current expenses and leads you onto the Fast Track. Cashflow or Cashflow 101 as it’s also known has been released and printed a few times since the English first edition 1996 to the fourth edition 2016.
Recommended Age – 14+
Players – 2-6
Duration – 180 minutes
Dimensions – Width = 39.5cm, Depth = 26.5cm and Height = 5.5cm
Weight – 2303g
Box Art and Design
As I stated in my introduction the Cashflow English version of the game has been released four times, through this article I’ll be looking into the third edition version which was released in 2012. The front of the box has a glossy feel in a gorgeous deep purple colour and the art and design are printed on a thick feeling, heavy stock card.
In the centre of the design is an animated rat, wearing a smoking jacket and slippers and holding a stack of cash, he stands centre in a circle design which features heaps of money behind him. The main game title is bold, coloured in orange and yellow and is arced around the circle, bending the text.
The Rich Dad branding is displayed in the top right of the box and there is a gold stamp in the top left that reads, “Created by Robert Kiyosaki Author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, The New York Times & The Wall Street Journal Bestseller.” Displayed in the bottom centre of the front design is also a section of text in orange and yellow colours. The box cover also features a couple of faded orange/yellow arrows that point to text featured on the sides of the box lid.
On one length of the box side art and design, the Cashflow title takes centre spot with a coloured box near to stating, Investing 101. The item’s barcode is present as is the website link to the Rich Dad brand name, there is also a coloured box with text inside it and stating “what you’ll discover” in the game.
On the opposite side to the above is a similar set-up except for a coloured box that features a quote from Robert Kiyosaki himself and some copyright text. The small sides of the box once again display the title of the game, branding and website link, in addition, there is a couple of sections of text stating, “who should play this game” and also an important financial warning.
Although the art and design is simplistic in nature compared to some other busy box designs, it does the trick and looks nice and colourful, the orange and yellow contrasting well overall against the deep purple. Along with the heavy stock card and glossy look the box feels like velvet! The rear of the Cashflow game box features, Rich Dad branding, quotes, related text an image of Robert Kiyosaki and a selection of his other material that can be purchased. See below what is displayed.
There is a nicely moulded inlay that is included in the game to hold the cards and components, this is split into four sections of different sizes. Although some shine is present to the light when moved around, the plastic inlay is more on the matte black side than a really glossy black in my opinion. There are a few featured plastic slopes/cutouts that allow easy access to the card decks and components without damaging them.
I haven’t got around to personally bagging up and protecting my cards and components yet for the Cashflow game as I mention I normally do in my other unboxing article, Art Fighting Without Fighting – Dojo Kun Unloaded. With this being the case, I cannot comment as of yet if the fit for bagged cards and components is snug or not a good fit, the components and card decks sit pretty close to the moulding unbagged at the moment, so it could be tight.
This is the part where things get really interesting as we make our way through the box contents and see what components come with Cashflow, Starting off with the playing board.
In this game, there is one large game board with dimensions as follows once opened out, 75 centimetres in length and 50.5 centimetres in width. As with the box, the cardboard stock is of a thick quality and has a texture to its rear side and a glossy art and design print on the front. The board is a colourful affair on a deep purple gradient background. The board has one split and folds in order to close it up and store in the box.
I’d like to add a note here at this point stating that in a previous release of Cashflow either the 2008 or 1996 version, the board background was a lot lighter, the colour was a little “washed out” and it was more a hue of blue than a rich purple.
The game board features a small circle split into coloured spaces, this is where players start and this area reflects the Rat Race that most of us find ourselves, day in and day out. Around this circle play area and the edges of the gameboard is the Fast Track which players are aiming to get to through savvy investments and financially skilled decisions.
There are four spaces for the card decks and a comical, animated image of a rat nearby to each. These rats are playing golf, yachting, skiing the mountains and travelling. There is a huge space for the Cashflow title in its orange and yellow tones, alongside this and a bit smaller is the Rich Dad branding and a website link.
The same rat art and design from the front cover stands proud in the centre of the Rat Race and there are also some other helpful rat images around the edges of the circle showing you the direction to move around the board.
The Rat Race circle features various sections which players will land on during their turn and will keep on landing on until they escape the wheel! These spaces are broken down into yellow Paycheck spaces, green Opportunity spaces, dark blue The Market spaces and pink Doodads spaces. There is one orange space that represents Charity and two life-changing purple spaces labelled, Downsized and Baby.
The Fast Track route is mainly a mix of pink Dream spaces and green Business Opportunities separated by yellow Cashflow Day spaces and one orange Charity space. Even this route has its pitfall spaces though in the guise of purple Lawsuit and Divorce spaces – ouch! There is also a bit of printed text around the board stating set-up, goals and what action spaces and cards do – that sort of thing.
As with the box, the board itself is bold yet clear, colourful and is simplistic in nature compared to other games. It’s a good size which benefits the text on spaces being read clearly too.
There’s nothing too exciting about the dice in this game apart from its uses during play. There are three standard D6 dice, black spots on a white cube included. During the Rat Race phase of the game, players use just one dice to move around the circle and taking the actions on the spaces they land on. Should a player land on the orange Charity space, this gives them the opportunity to use one or two dice over the next three turns at the cost of a donation, ten per cent of their total income.
During the Fast Track phase of the game, players use just two dice to move around the circle and taking the actions on the spaces they land on. Should a player land on the orange Charity space, this gives them the opportunity to use one, two or three dice on each and every turn at the cost of $100,000.
Tokens & Extras
The Cashflow game is for two to six players but also, according to an included flyer, there are also clubs out there which are the perfect setting for like-minded future investors to play and discuss together. Each player has a coloured movement pawn which is a highly detailed rat with a smoking jacket on, holding his wad of cash and as featured on the box cover and board artwork.
I’d like to add a note here at this point stating that the ears on the rat are thin and prone to damage as I have unfortunately found out so take care handling and storing the beasts.
Players also receive a wedge of cheese, holes and all which they start the game by placing it on one of the many pink Dreams spaces on the Fast Track circuit, this represents one of each player’s main goals. Players also receive ten plastic discs which feature a face of a rat on one side and Robert Kiyosaki’s financial quadrant on the other.
These discs are only used in the Fast Track phase of the game and are markers to show what Business Opportunities have been secured. These tokens come in six colours, red, orange, blue, green, purple and black.
The game also comes with six small pencils, end eraser included too and features the Cashflow titles. These are used by the players to keep an organized financial statement and to adjust the figures wrote accordingly as the game progresses. Also included are two stacks of play money in various colours and denominations from low to high values. As with the cards, the money comes unbagged and an elastic band keeps them together in the box inlay.
There is a glossy piece of card, about the size of a CD box that fits nicely into one of the box inlay trays. This is a Quick Start Instructions guide and in my opinion, not really needed as the rulebook is simple and straightforward enough. I’ve never read or made use of this in all my times playing this game. There is a whole pad of financial statements that each player gets one of, during the game set-up.
It can be a little overwhelming at first as it features multiple sections for Income, Expenses, Assets, Liabilities and Passive Income, not the sort of things you’d expect to see or read in a fun board game but this is where the heart of the action takes place as players write and erase figures and adjustments through the course of play. On the reverse side is all the information and space needed to set-up the Fast Track portion of the game and keep tabs on what you are buying and end goals.
I’d like to add a note here at this point stating that in order to play a faster-paced game and do away with the pencils, financial statements, cash and calculations a Cashflow Financial Statement Calculator app is available to use with the game and is definitely, in my opinion, a must-have playing this game as everything is taken care of and is more importantly, accurate.
There are a total of four decks of cards that are used during play and are placed on the board in the designated spaces. The Doodad Cards have a pink background and feature three running rat characters. These cards represent all the materialistic, non-important and essential things that we all buy and spend on from day to day, daily living and expenses, treats and improvements. Some items we all feel we need.
The Market cards have a blue background and feature the smoking jacket wearing rat, the logo or mascot behind the Cashflow game. These cards affect gameplay and represent the likes of buyers in the market or business-related information. The other two green decks (also displaying the rat logo) are labelled as Small Deals and Big Deals and are placed on the Opportunity Cards section of the board.
These cards play a heavy role in the game and come up a lot. The largest Small Deal costs $5,000 to get into, the Big Deals begin at $6,000.
Lastly, there is a random mix of 12 Profession cards, careers/jobs that each player starts with. These are thin white cards with black print on only and look similar to miniature versions of the Financial Statement. Each of these cards will have their own set Incomes, Expenses, Assets and Liabilities and therefore each profession will have its own challenges.
This means that the mix of cards and values given will present a player with a different sort of game each time and eventually will show and prove that careers/jobs with the money aren’t always the ones that will eventually win the game – it’s down to a player’s financial mindset and not just the income!
The game instructions booklet is also a simple affair compared to other heavy text manuals. The booklet is about the A4 size and includes only 13 numbered pages, its front cover is almost identical in art and design as the box cover. It doesn’t have that layer of shine and gloss that the box has but is quite smooth, thin and manageable.
The cover features the Rich Dad branding at the top and the familiar rat centred in his surrounding of cash, the Cashflow titles above him arched around the circle as with the box design. The game instructions or manual has clear text, helpful images and explanations and has particular “lookup” sections for various actions in the game that players may forget how to do, for example – buying a real estate investment. The explanations and text guide you through the sequence until you get accustomed to the task.
I’d like to add a note here at this point stating that in a previous version of the Cashflow board game the game instructions aren’t as “neat” or “clear-cut.” The addition of some colour and more images help here, in my opinion.
There’s a breakdown of the board spaces and what they do and a glossary of financial terms both in the game and in the real world, for example – “trading range” or “CCR.” The rear of the booklet shows a game underway with four players but according to the adjoining text, it’s advertising and making players aware of the many possible Cashflow clubs, should you wish to join one.
As a lover of games and home entertainment, I must admit that over time I’ve played and purchased some fine economic and financial games, which may surface and appear on this site in the future – who knows? As I’ve already mentioned in the opening introduction the Rich Dad Cashflow game has given me food for thought, inspired me and opened my mind to passive income, financial freedom in life, working from home and importantly, making money work for me.
You really have to play this game a few times for it to register and “click,” the game teaches you that it’s not all about earning and saving, getting your money amount higher and higher to win the game, it teaches you about utilising other funds, controlling and using debt, paying off liabilities to give you more cash flow and money to make investments with and helps you understand a complex financial statement.
The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.— J.P. Morgan
This game is still a game, there are players and a winner, but it’s more a fun, educational journey into financial matters and giving you a simplistic guide of what you can do and achieve in the real world and away from the board. Obviously, a little more research and thought goes into the real decisions regarding your own money – but the concept is there of what to explore and how to approach it.
Don’t expect a game of skill, bluffing or landing on “go,” yet don’t expect a hard, complex game either, expect advanced challenges in Cashflow 202. Thank you for reading this article, I hope you found it of some help or interest. Please feel free to drop a comment about this title, the written content or even your own experiences with this genre of game.