Capital Gains Studio is an indie game design and development studio based in Singapore. These are the guys that designed and developed games like the Wongamania series, Debtzilla and Cryptocurrency. So we decided to have a chat with them.
How did Capital Gains Studio started?
Capital Gains Studio was started as a passion project in 2014, with a mission to design affordable financial education board games using modern game design. Previously, financial education games uses the traditional roll and move mechanic that is similar to Monopoly and we wanted to change how that is presented with new design mechanics such as co-op, Euro worker placement etc along with a creative slant to how finance is presented. If you google “finance art” it is mainly represented by graphs and chart and lots of $$$ signs. We wanted to change that like how popular game “Kantai Collection” transform warships into anime girls and biology manga “Cells at work” transforming cells into characters. We created Debtzilla as a result to try to make Finance interesting again.
So basically what you guys did was make financial literacy fun lah. Awesome!
Tell us about Debtzilla and how can one get their hands on it?
Debtzilla is a 2 to 4 player. A cooperative board game where players take on the role of a superhero with a secret identity. Players manages the hero’s daytime activities as an average salaryman, while waging their battles against Villains during the night. Using a combination of card drafting and dice mechanics, players have to race against time to bring down the bad guys and defeat the world destroying boss: Debtzilla. The interesting part about the game is that heroes start with little resource and they need to borrow money to finance their superhero activities in order to win the game. However, each time they borrow money, the final boss grows stronger. Borrow too much and Debtzilla will destroy the world which means you lose. Borrow too little means that Debtzilla henchmen will bankrupt all the citizens you are trying to save and you will lose also. It is a fight to balance how you utilise debt in order to win the game.
Currently, Debtzilla is only sold in Singapore and parts of Europe. We are talking to more distributors to get the game to the stores around the world! Customers can also order the game on our online store!
How did you get the idea for Debtzilla?
Debtzilla started as a meme character in Wongamania as its popularity grew so much that our fans demand a game to fight it. Debtzilla came from the idea from Godzilla, where it feeds on nuclear energy and is a friend and foe to human kind. Similarly, debt has the same nature as nuclear energy, can be both a friend and foe depending on how it is managed and so Debtzilla is created. We also wanted to design a unique game that teaches people about the danger of debt in a totally new radical concept, as a co-operative superhero battling game. This concept is totally unheard of in the world of financial games.
Tell us about Cryptocurrency, it was in Kickstarter recently right?
During the Summer of 2017, major financial news wire around the world saw the rise of a new asset class: Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. As Bitcoin passes the $5,000 mark and news of newly minted cryptocurrency millionaires captured the imagination of the masses. People started paying attention. Brave investors began to explore the wild wild west of cryptocurrency. Tech savvy people rushed to buy mining rigs to mine cryptocurrencies, hoping to unearth what is the equivalent of gold, in the digital world. Shortly after, new cryptocurrencies are created via initial coin offerings (ICO) and some of these creators became overnight millionaires. However, many of these ICOs and newly minted cryptocurrencies are simply scams in disguise, hoping to rip off the unaware investors.
We started asking ourselves, can we create a fun game, that can portray the dangers of cryptocurrency, while representing how it works accurately on a board game? With that challenge in mind, the team delved into the new frontier of cryptocurrency and designed a game that explores the goods and pitfalls of this new digital financial technology.
How was the feedback for Cryptocurrency?
The feedback is fantastic so far. We have sought out fellow game designers and crypto experts to test out the game play design and representation of the game as related to crypto world. We receive high marks in terms of game design on how streamline and elegant the game play is, its OMG push your luck moments and its high replay value.
What’s next for Capital Gains Studio?
Our games were mainly designed with the working adult in mind and many parents have been asking us to design a game that teaches young children the importance of savings. So we are working on a family dice game that can actually teach kids how to budget their allowance. A dice game that teaches budgeting is another concept that is unheard of in the world of financial games and this should be of great interest to parents!
Any shoutouts? Words of encouragement to local gamers or developers?
Now that we are in our 4th year of designing and publishing tabletop games, I can say that you need a team of people working with you in order to make this work. If your passion is in game design, than it’s better to approach publishers to publish your games, rather than going on your own. The game designing part is the simple part of the whole process. The difficult part comes after that where you will need to manufacture, distribute and market your games! If you want to strike out of your own, form a team of like-minded people and make sure that you have someone who is familiar with logistic, manufacturing, marketing and finance. Many a times, we have seen self-published designers fail because of a lack of knowledge and planning in one of the 4 aspects. Once you can survive your first game, you will probably do better for your subsequent games!
Thanks Capital Gains Studio! So if you are interested in making financing fun with games like Debtzilla and Cryptocurrency, you can always buy the games through their official website. Check them out!