When I was 18 and at university, most of the guys my age were all about beer pong, surfing, and the ladies. Sure, I thought that stuff was cool, especially the ladies. But on Tuesday nights when my buddies were out (partying), I was getting my nerd on and playing Robert Kiyosaki’s boardgame, Cashflow 101.
Every week, I’d get together with a bunch of older guys (mid-twenties, right through to early forties) to battle it out to see who could “escape the rate race,” and buy our dream before lawsuits, divorce or tax audits sucked up all our cashflow.
I can’t even remember how we all got together, as we were a very mixed bunch. But learning basic financial strategies and accounting principles through a boardgame, with a property developer, “very early” dot-com startup entrepreneur, church pastor, elite athlete and a full-time stock market trader, was an amazing experience for a wanna-be-entrepreneur like me.
Although I haven’t kept in contact with any of these guys, except for the odd Facebook stalk, those nights are actually some of my fondest memories (I can remember) of my university years.
.. and just recently, I’ve got back into the game, teaching my 17-year-old godson Conner to play when he comes to hang out at my place during school holidays.
He’s caught on really, really quickly, often beating me!
So we’ve started to tweak the rules of the game a little, just like we did in my uni days, to make sure the gameplay stays fresh, more educational and ever so harder.
Below is a complete collection of the ‘House Rules‘ we’re using, the ‘Additional Rules‘ we used back in the uni playing days, and some ‘Optional Rules‘ I’ve seen and noted over the years.
… and if you’ve got some custom game rules, please leave them in the comments below.
Optional House Rules For Cashflow 101 Boardgame
These additional rules are in no particular order, so feel free to mix and match as you see fit. We only ever pick two or three of these custom game rules at a time, as trying to keep track of them all at once would be a nightmare and completely remove all the fun from playing.
- Total Income To Start
If you’re trying to speed up the gameplay a little, let each player start with their ‘Total Income + Savings’ instead of ‘Monthly Cashflow + Savings’ as per the official rules.
- Binding Contracts
This one is more for entertainment than anything else – When a player chooses a small or big deal, they must read the card from the table (i.e. not pick it up), BUT once they do pick the card up the deal is considered to have gone unconditional (binding), and the player must take the deal.
- Live Doodads
Although the game has Doodad cards with small expenses, this doesn’t truly represent real life, as most people spend A LOT more of their income + savings on crappy doodads. So why not spice it up a little and put a price on the drinks and snacks you have at the table? A can of coke costs $40, or a slice of pizza costs $100. This way all the players are forced to think about that wasteful spend, and it chooses up a more realistic % of cash.
- Continually Reshuffling of Decks
If you’ve played the game enough you begin to know what small or big deal cards might be left in the decks, and have a ‘house edge’ over other players as to the chance of OK4U price going up etc. So why not give the decks a quick reshuffle AFTER EVERY turn.
- Play In Teams
This is a great one, especially if you can have a couple (husband/wife) team up, or real life business partners. Just sit back and watch hilarity ensue, as real world conflicts and dramas reveals themselves.
- Allow Joint Ventures
Just like in the real world, if you can’t afford (or don’t want to do) a small or big deal by yourself, you can go into partnership with another player. For example, if the deal costs $100,000 to get into, and both players put $50,000 into the deal, or any split you negotiate. Each player simply records their percentage of the deal on their financial statement, and the higher % holder (or person who picked up the deal in a 50/50 partnership) controls if/when it’s sold.
- Paying Off A Mortgage
The Cashflow 101 FAQ’s at RichDad.com official rules don’t allow you to pay off a home mortgage:
Q. When I purchase real estate, there is a cash flow amount stated on the card (plus or minus). Is this amount the net amount after the mortgage payment or do I have to calculate a mortgage loan payment? Can I pay off a real estate mortgage on an investment property and then increase my passive income?A: Real estate mortgages cannot be paid off on investment properties in CASHFLOW® 101. The mortgage payment is calculated in determining the ROI and the monthly cash flow. It is as if you have a property manager who handles the property for you, collects the rents, pays the expenses including the related mortgage and then sends you the balance each month (assuming it is +).
However, you can obviously do this in real life, and even manage the property yourself. So if you want to allow it, why not. We suggest making the interest rate for mortgages very low though, around 2%. So if you pay off a $100,000 mortgage, you only free up/add $2000 a month in monthly income. Anything higher than that makes it way too easy to get out ofthe rate race.
- Job Choice
In the real world you obviously have the choice of career, so why not in the game. How about allowing players to draw TWO career cards at the start and choosing which persona to play.
- Doctor vs Doctor
To really put players up against each other to see who is the better Cashflow 101 (or 202 for that matter) player, have everyone play with the exact same career. This way no one has the excuse that their disadvantaged with a high expense column.
- Doodads with Paycheck
In a similar vain to point 3 above, to be more “real life”, make players pick up a doodad card with every paycheck.
- Limited Bank Loans
Although margin lending is getting more and more available in the “real world”, don’t allow people to borrow money from the Cashflow Bank to purchase paper assets; such as stocks, CDs or mutual funds.
- Mixed Deals
This can often spice things up a bit, instead of having two deal piles (one for small deals and one for big deals), mix them all together and make all players who land on an Oppotunity square get stick with what ever size deal is next in the mixed pile.
- Big Families
Although Fleur and I want to keep our families tradition of only children going with just Eli, doesn’t mean the rest of the world lives with a child limit. The official rules state that you can not have more than 3 children, but in the real world I know plenty of sleep deprived parents with 4 or 5 kids. So allow for unlimited children in the game.
- Fast Track Limitations
If you need to stretch out game play a little, you can add an additional regulation or two before people can exist the Rate Race for the Fast Track. For example, you can add a rule that states a player must clear off all the liabilities in their balance sheet before moving onto the Fast-Track.
- Liquidating Assets
Again Cashflow 101 FAQ’s at RichDad.com official rules don’t allow to sell your stock back to the bank if downsized:
Q. If I land on the downsized square and I do not have enough cash on hand, can I sell my stock to the bank for the price at which it was purchased? May I borrow the money from the bank?A: You may not sell your stock to the bank. Stock is only available at the price indicated by an opportunity or market card when drawn by a player. You may, however, take a loan from the bank.
Again however, you can obviously sell real stock quickly into the market raise cash. So if you want to allow it, why not. We suggest making the off-market liquidation value 50 cents in the dollar. So if want or need to sell off some paper assets, when their isn’t an opportunity tor market card allowing you to do so, you have to sell them back to the bank at 50% of what you paid for them.
- Adding Insurance
Again to represent the “real world” a little more, you can allow players to add an insurance policy to their expenses at say 10% of thier monthly salary, which would allow them to avoid being downsized etc etc.
- Loan Sharking
This is a house rule of the ‘Twin Cities Cashflow Club‘: Fast Track players can lend to Rat Race players at the same terms and conditions from the bank except that the rate is 5% instead of 10% per month. This serves two purposes: (1) it allows players to restructure debt like you would in the real world and provides more realistic exit strategies for debt and (2) it keeps Fast Track plays from getting quite as bored because there are things the can do in the Rat Race, where the lessons in the game are really learned.
- Random Redundancies
This is another one which can causes some fun frustration: make downsizing a roll of the dice. When a player gets downsized, roll the dice to determine how many turns you will be out of the game (just roll one die).
Offical Rules of RichDad’s Cashflow 101
For those not overly familiar with Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow 101 Boardgame, below is the official rules and game play tips:
Additional Income Statement Game Card
Played so much you’ve run out of game sheets? Just download and print the Cashflow Income Statement/Balance Sheet Game Cards below: