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Subject: A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma rss

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Randall Bart
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Meetup is a great way to meet other game players. They have 358 generic boardgame groups, plus many groups for specific games. There are 89 groups for Scrabble. There are 24 groups for Backgammon. There are 46 groups for Catan. There are 18 groups for Puerto Rico. There are 3 groups for the 18XX series. There are 20 groups for Dominoes

If I told you there are 331 groups for a particular boardgame, would you want to give that game a try?

At BoardGameGeek there are 4956 games which have been rated by enough people to be ranked. If I told you a game is 4737th -- in the bottom 5% -- would you want to give that game a try?

Suppose there was only one boardgame that you had ever heard described as a "cult". Would you want to give that game a try?

So when someone brought Cashflow 101 to one of my gaming groups I said, "I want to give that game a try."

The fellow who brought it described it as "Monopoly on steroids". It was more like Careers on LSD. Like Careers, it is theoretically supposed to teach you something about real world economics. Like Monopoly you buy property and make lots of money.

The game design is childishly simple. There are no revolutionary game mechanics. There is an inner track of 24 spots and and outer track of 48 spots. You roll dice and land on spaces with events like payday or draw a Chance Deal card. Like Careers you have a sheet of paper with your current economic state including income. As the game goes on you try to improve your income. Unlike Careers, there is nothing you can do to influence what space you land on. There is one spot that gives you the option to buy an extra die for the next three rolls. You should take it, because it will get you more paydays, but your moves are still all die rolls.

As the game goes along you draw Deal cards, The card either gives you an opportunity to buy something or the opportunity to sell something (if you bought it previously) or both. Only the person who drew it can buy, but anyone can sell. This mechanic works well. (The one item of the game that I found clever.) There are two type of Deals card: Small Deals and Big Deals. Once you have a little cash you want to draw the Big Deals. This leads to a terrible rich get richer situation. Once you start drawing Big Deals, the only way you can cash the Small Deals you have bought is if someone else draws the corresponding Small Deal card. Thus the players who are still drawing Small Deals are helping the players drawing Big Deals, but not vice-versa. The last player to draw a Small Deal is likely the player with the most Small Deals uncashed.

You buy into a good Deal and the wait for the sell card. It might be the next card or it might be thirty cards down. The Deal card randomness makes players rich one by one. They graduate to the Big Deals and the outer track, and then make some special deals and someone wins. The wealth of randomness was already putting me off until about an hour and a half into this two and a half hour game when I finally figured out the cards. The fixed rate investments are all losers, You would think that a game that is supposed to teach you about economics, a fixed investment returning 18% a year is a good thing. Nope. This is all about jackpots. You buy stock when it's low and sell when it's high. You buy houses when they are low and sell when they are high. You can tell just by reading the ROI numbers off the card whether it is a good card. There are several cards that should never be bought under any circumstances.

And here is the underlying nature of the game. The game is designed by Robert Kiyosaki, not to teach facts, but to teach the investment strategy from his Rich Dad Poor Dad books. These Cashflow groups are a satanic an economic cult teaching the gospel according to Kiyosaki. In this game there are a few houses with a bad ROI and it says so on the card. All other houses should be bought. You will make money, guaranteed. There's a card that's like the street repairs card in Monopoly, and this will cost you when it comes up, but next turn your houses will still be making money. Will you ever lose months of rent while you go through the process of evicting a deadbeat tenant? Will the market turn down leaving you with unrented units? That never happens, A property with a positive cashflow printed on the card cannot turn negative. We don't want you to learn about that. In this game, once you understand the ROI numbers it's just big risk leads to big reward. At least when I played Pirate and Traveler I learned some geography. This game is teaching a false understanding of economics.

When viewed this way the rich-get-richer element of the Big Deals and Small Deals is a game design flaw, but a didactic strength. Go for the Big Deals as soon as you can. Take the bigger risks and grab the bigger rewards. The players who are still in the Small Deals are suckers.

I wouldn't mind the bad education if there were a real game there. Unfortunately it's a very simple good card bad card decision. The game can be played on automatic. For me the replay value of this game was less than one time through the game. thumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdown
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Brad N
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Thanks for the review. I've never played this game, but it did interest me when I read Rich Dad Poor Dad several years ago and found the book interesting. What I remember from the book was that Kiyosaki was providing the reader with his view about how to become rich. And, it sounds to me, like the game does teach some of the general steps for getting rich... you must be willing to take on risk, often times big risk. AND, once you are rich, it is easier to get richer.

I do agree that, while the gameplay sounds terrible, it may very well be reinforcing the ideas that Kiyosaki put in his book - though, I admit, I don't remember the book all that well. So, while I agree that "a fixed investment returning 18% a year is a good thing", I'm not sure that it would be the best move to my becoming a millionaire at a young age. It's not a personal goal of mine to be a millionaire at a young age so I would be inclined to take 18% return on a fixed investment... I'm just not sure that Kiyosaki agrees.
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Ed Sherman
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It has always surprised me that Cashflow 101 doesn't focus on making money the same way Robert Kiyosaki made his fortune -- by writing books on how to make a lot of money.

That would be interesting.
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Brad N
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edosan wrote:
It has always surprised me that Cashflow 101 doesn't focus on making money the same way Robert Kiyosaki made his fortune -- by writing books on how to make a lot of money.

There are others who know a lot more about him than me, but I'm pretty sure he was a very wealthy man before he ever wrote a book. His book talks about it... I think. Nonetheless, you do make a good point.
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Joe Wyka
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18% sounds good always, but phenomenal right about now! soblue
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Tim Seitz
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bnordeng wrote:
edosan wrote:
It has always surprised me that Cashflow 101 doesn't focus on making money the same way Robert Kiyosaki made his fortune -- by writing books on how to make a lot of money.

There are others who know a lot more about him than me, but I'm pretty sure he was a very wealthy man before he ever wrote a book. His book talks about it... I think. Nonetheless, you do make a good point.

From what I gleaned, he got rich hawking how-to-get-rich manuals to Amway associates. The whole residual income business methodology is an Amway staple. He just transferred it to real estate for his books.

The economics aren't that hard, but most people don't do this in real life. To leverage a Dominion analogy, We tend to take the early VP cards (Car, TV, etc.) instead of Chapeling away all of our useless crap and investing our money in money-making assets.
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Randall Bart
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Kiyosaki's Wikipedia page is not very flattering. He appears to admit that he's just cheer leading to get people to invest without actually telling them how to do it well.

I did not know that the game sells for $200. That's $180 more than it looks like, and $199.98 more than it's worth. (If I should see it at the thrift store I will definitely buy it. It's a game about making money off of fools; I should make use of my education.)
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J Mathews
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Not to defend the guy, but there is a bit of a disconnect between the financial investment world and the board game world. In the board game world, this is a horrifically overpriced game given its component quality and the prices of similar style games.

Now, in the financial investment world, an interactive, group educational tool that up to 6 people can participate in at a time, share a common experience, and then discuss afterwards is a bargain at $200. This is considering that the cheap 3-day seminars are $4,000, lectures on CDs are $300 or so, and so on. Given that framework, $200 for this isn't bad, it's par for the course. Now arguments can be made that the people who are paying $4,000 for the seminar series are crazy too. But that's the going rate. This game was never meant to be a gamer's game or to be played in the same way that Acquire is so it's silly to judge it in a similar fashion as actual board games.

Now as for the gameplay, I find 101 to be overly simplistic. If you have some idea of what is going on you should be able to get out of the Rat Race pretty quick with any job except the doctor or lawyer. My brother-in-law got out in 3 turns and had no clue what he was doing. As an educational tool, I don't think that 101 is all that helpful. 202 is a much superior game that requires a bit more thinking, although the stock market is even more simplified than in 101.

I own both, although I did not pay anywhere near retail for them and I haven't played either for years. They are a good way to learn basic accounting principles and get some flavor of investing but it's not very deep gameplay. I find the discussions afterwards to be more interesting than the game itself. As an educational tool it is easily as effective as the other, more expensive, methods out there so I find it hard to rag on the guy or the game too much. Now those $300 CD sets on the other hand...shake
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Brad N
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Barticus88 wrote:
Kiyosaki's Wikipedia page is not very flattering. He appears to admit that he's just cheer leading to get people to invest without actually telling them how to do it well.

I did not know that the game sells for $200. That's $180 more than it looks like, and $199.98 more than it's worth. (If I should see it at the thrift store I will definitely buy it. It's a game about making money off of fools; I should make use of my education.)

I remember when I read the book that I thought it was "interesting", but didn't feel like I had any tools to go and do anything with the "interesting" stuff I'd picked up.

For some reason, this reminds me of my dad's advice on how to make a million dollars and not pay taxes on it. First, you make a million dollars. Then, you don't pay taxes on it.

The price tag for this game is ridiculous. When I first saw the price, it helped me realize why this guy is so rich. He sets up something that people believe in so they really want to buy it and then overcharges for it so that he doesn't need to sell too many to make a massive profit. If you have just enough people motivated to make the purchase, your return will be much better. Again, it's "interesting."

This also reminds me of my dad's advice on making a million dollars selling watches. He said that it's a good idea to charge one million dollars per watch. That way, you only have to sell a single watch to make a million.
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A friend asked me to play this, because she was always playing the electronic version by herself, and had trouble wrestling people into playing it in person. She had spent all this money and time on the game and learning secret strategies, and I won probably 80% of the time. When she asked me what I did, I told her I just did "what felt right", which inwardly infuriated her. I liked parts of it, but was not emotionally invested in it for the longterm. It's in the "Life" and "Monopoly" genre. I've read "Rich Dad/Poor Dad", and while once in a while I'll let myself go in the game and try some big bang strategy, usually I play it safe, like I do in real life, slow and steady wins the race (or at least keeps you in it). I know the point is to expand your horizons, think big, win big, but big wagers can also mean big losses. I just don't have the life view this game wants of me.
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Rob Rob
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Do a little research online and you'll find Kiyosaki's whole "Rich Dad" back story was fabricated just to sell books.
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Randall Bart
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someotherguy wrote:
Should I have game days and charge people to come over to my place to play games? Is that supposed to pay my rent? If you think you can buy the Rich Dad book, quit your job and do what the book says and make a living that way, you will not find any real plan to put into practice (unless you get comic books for free). I guess you could sell a simplistic board game for $200 apiece.

Apparently some people have paid $200 for Cashflow 101 in the belief that they could hold game sessions where people will play them $5 to play the game. That's why the game has so many Meetup groups, people are trying to make back their $200. Some of them may succeed, but it's just a Ponzi scheme. Supposedly people are paying for education, but the only useful think you will learn is don't play Cashflow.
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Robert Corrina
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edosan wrote:
It has always surprised me that Cashflow 101 doesn't focus on making money the same way Robert Kiyosaki made his fortune -- by writing books on how to make a lot of money.

That would be interesting.


lol, that is a brilliant insight. Great review as well. I just read the book so I was curious.
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Pamela Tan
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I finally got around to playing this game - something I always wanted to do just coz it is so controversial, I wanted to see for myself what it was like.

There's a high luck factor involved, and essentially a roll and move game. Plus it's very slow - took almost 3 hours for someone to win it.

I was sorely disappointed, and it was such a waste of good gaming time. I really don't understand why it has achieved a cult-like status.

IMHO
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Ed Sherman
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p2me1a wrote:
I was sorely disappointed, and it was such a waste of good gaming time. I really don't understand why it has achieved a cult-like status.


Well, if you're referring to its reputation on BGG, it's famous because if you find it in a thrift store for a dollar, you can sell it on ebay and get money to buy some good games.
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Rob Rob
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edosan wrote:
p2me1a wrote:
I was sorely disappointed, and it was such a waste of good gaming time. I really don't understand why it has achieved a cult-like status.


Well, if you're referring to its reputation on BGG, it's famous because if you find it in a thrift store for a dollar, you can sell it on ebay and get money to buy some good games.


For example, some sucker here paid up to $200 for this POS and then gave it away to a local thrift store after maybe one play, I bought it for $4 and will sell it to another sucker on eBay for between $80-120. Apparently Kiyosaki doesn't teach his suckers that basic lesson of economics, buy low, sell high. zombie
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Eric Snider
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For example, some sucker here paid up to $200 for this POS and then gave it away to a local thrift store after maybe one play, I bought it for $4 and will sell it to another sucker on eBay for between $80-120. Apparently Kiyosaki doesn't teach his suckers that basic lesson of economics, buy low, sell high.

YES! I have just done the same thing today. I am now a big fan of this game. Although I feel a little bad selling it to someone after reading all this. Maybe I'll include a copy of One up on Wallstreet or the Motley Fool Investment Guide.

Wait, I just remembered...! I have a really old web page I made for a friend about saving money and paying off debt --

http://leftfield.org/~weasel/investing

It's a little out of date, but overall I still like it. Of course if you'd bought S&P index fund shares when I made the page (11 years ago), like I recommended, you'd be about even money today. Hmmm. Not as good as the 10.5% average from the past I quoted. Still, maybe I can just include the URL in the box and my conscience will be clear?
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Jason Martin
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edosan wrote:
It has always surprised me that Cashflow 101 doesn't focus on making money the same way Robert Kiyosaki made his fortune -- by writing books on how to make a lot of money.

That would be interesting.


Sounds like "The Secret". Rhonda Byrne *did* discover a secret...that people are *#&@ing goofy!

That, and that the law of attraction works as long as you set up a lucrative property that sells false hope and yuppie philosophy/spirituality like Mcdonalds sells heart attacks.
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Michael Sosa
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I suspected this game was a POS and was tempted several times to attend one of those meetup events, while bringing a good boardgame with me. After the review and comments, I probably would have walked out after one hour. As a game, it is a POS. As an education tool it is also a POS. There is a sucker born every minute and hey, we all have been suckers at one time or another.
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bnordeng wrote:
For some reason, this reminds me of my dad's advice on how to make a million dollars and not pay taxes on it. First, you make a million dollars. Then, you don't pay taxes on it.


There was a FoxTrot comic strip once where Roger spends $200 for a "get rich" kit. All it had was a brochure in it, and it basically said this:

"How to be a Millionaire:
Step 1) Make a product worth $200
Step 2) Sell it to 5000 people
Congratulations, you're now a Millionaire!"
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Lloyd
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This game is bullshit.
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I've read this book too, as a 19 year old. It is true to say that there is a lot in the book that is rubbish, but you can take some parts of it on board.

The main thing for me was to buy properties that generate an income for you (rented ones) rather than one that you'll be paying for for 25+ years.

I'd much rather someone else pay my mortgage than me pay it.

Of course its not as simple as it sounds and you need to do your research and understand what you're getting in to. I researched my markets for 18 months before buying a house and have worked in the same industry for 6 years now to help me keep on top of market changes, legislation etc.

As said above,the board game is not a game as such, but a training tool pretenting to be a game. As such it's probably not fair to judge it as one.
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Randall Bart
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sweetsweetdoughnuts wrote:
As said above,the board game is not a game as such, but a training tool pretenting to be a game. As such it's probably not fair to judge it as one.

It's pretending to be a game, but it's not fair to judge it as a game, because it is priced much higher than a game.
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weasel wrote:
[...]Wait, I just remembered...! I have a really old web page I made for a friend about saving money and paying off debt --

http://leftfield.org/~weasel/investing[...]

Let me see:

"5. Invest in a 401k [...]"

I stopped reading there.

Really, are you serious? That's a totally horrible advice if ever I saw one.
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out4blood wrote:
bnordeng wrote:
edosan wrote:
It has always surprised me that Cashflow 101 doesn't focus on making money the same way Robert Kiyosaki made his fortune -- by writing books on how to make a lot of money.

There are others who know a lot more about him than me, but I'm pretty sure he was a very wealthy man before he ever wrote a book. His book talks about it... I think. Nonetheless, you do make a good point.

From what I gleaned, he got rich hawking how-to-get-rich manuals to Amway associates. The whole residual income business methodology is an Amway staple. He just transferred it to real estate for his books.


He did this for Amway... and Primerica... and NutriLite... and MonaVie... and Avon... and Mary Kay...

My suggestion: if you truly want to read his book(s) and play his game, get them on eBay. That'll save you money and keep it out of his hands.
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I have to say, although in most of his later books he was simply recycling the earlier ones (according to the reviews online), I found his earliest books, especially Cashflow Quadrant, to be very inspiring.

I am only in my early twenties so there may be lots of information in his books are wrong, which I don't know yet. Meanwhile, i did read books who said his books werre total crap. It's good to have different opinions. However, I do love his early books. I see them as self-help books rather than a step-to-step how-to-get-rich manual. And as motivational books, they did work for me.

As for methods in the books, everyone has his opinions and his own way. That's what is good about Internet. You can cross refer anything from any source. Anyone, who is blindly following anything, deems to fail. So even though there may be wrong infos, I still do recommend my friends to his books, because I liked them. However I did tell them whether they were useful was totally up to themselves. So I don't get the hate of his books, unless you are really already established and wealthy, because then you will have the call to judge. It's like people with obesity trying to shut down McDonald. It's ridiculous. You are in charge of yourself whether you should eat it. McDonald is not responsible for it.
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