And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me?
BGG Glossary wrote:
A game that models a micro-economic (i.e. business or industry) or macro-economic (i.e. nation or colony) system. Typically, players will have to invest in various factors of production: capital improvements (like power plants, RR track, settlements & cities), raw materials/resources (fuel, wheat/sheep/wood/brick/rock) & labor, in order to gain income, which is then re-invested into more factors of production to produce more income, etc. Money is NOT always present in an economic game, but it often is. Likewise the presence of money may not neccessarily indicate an economic game. My problem with the term 'Economic' in games is that it seems to overlap with another term that gets used quite a bit - 'Resource Management'. I actually prefer the latter because it then frees the former to be used in the way that I shall now articulate1.
When there is a high level of interdependency2 on other players, an economy is created. When it is clear that there are non-zero sum elements in the game, an economy is created. Please consider these examples: When I build a building in Le Havre, you may use it. Unless you buy my raw materials for your factory in Container3, I may not be able to afford to load your goods onto my ship. Your cattle purchase in Glen More means that there is a market for cattle - I can now sell cattle.
Contrast those examples with these: When I settle a planet in Race for the Galaxy, I meet the old definition of 'economic game' in that I have a means of production. However, it does absolutely nothing for you. When I trade goods in Puerto Rico, I get doubloons from the magical, infinitely accomodating 'Bank'. Demand is always at its all time high.
Please note that I do not prefer Resource Management games to Economic games (new definition) or vice versa.
1Like the old definition and virtually all other game classifications, the proposed definition exists on a continuum of subjectivity and could likely be applied to just about any game to some degree or another.
2I mean interdependency, NOT cooperation.
3This game is one of the purest examples of the proposed definition.