Gain is a board game with an accompanying app that is designed to teach users to invest their money wisely. Designed in partnership with a major bank, this game simulates investment options and consequences in order to teach users about possible ramifications and gains from good money management.

Team: Alisa Le ↗, Leah Anton ↗
Role: User Interface, Experience

We were approached by the client to design a learning experience for mass affluent customers that would encourage them to share information and enhance investment opportunities with our client. Customers have reflected a lack of tailored experiences and feedback, giving them little reason to trust the financial institution with investment options. The client wanted to stress a pursuit of financial wellbeing for the customers, believing that with more financial literacy customers will be at ease to have meaningful exchanges with the institution. A focus of the project was to help customers understand the value of sharing information as a means to start conversations. 

Diving into the research, we had access to personas and preliminary research that the client had done in order to better define the problem space. Through dissecting the information, we quickly found that several learning gaps between the customer and the client. Mass affluent customers comprised of a large age range, which translated into differing attitudes towards technology and varied levels of financial competence. Different types of customers also had different views on the level of engagement they looked for in a financial institution. However, a recurring theme was a lack of trust and interaction between customers and their bank. Little understanding of the services and possibilities that the bank could provide was also prevalent among customers. With this information in mind, we set out to create a product that would give customers a good understanding of their financial situation and see the value in providing information to the bank.

Because we saw a disconnect between our client and their customers, we sought to create direct incentives for customers to exchange information. With this as the goal, we conceived of a membership club that would use the exchange of information as a way to gain access to the club. When we pitched this to the client and talked to a financial analyst at the bank, we realized that merely giving incentives for the exchange of information would not suffice. Financial analysts do keep in contact with their customers but phone calls are infrequent and they don’t have a good idea of details like risk tolerance, liquidity, and their goals. When we started to form the question around how these ideas can be communicated, we got closer to a learning experience for the user.

In exploration of financial terms that the user should grasp in order for analysts to have a better understanding of their options, we became intrigued by the idea of allowing people to simulate investing in a low-stakes environment. We wanted to allow for a personalized experience that wasn’t necessarily tied to a commitment of investing as well as making sure that customers could be in an environment where they can learn from others.

The final deliverable was a board game that had a physical and digital component to accommodate customers with differing attitudes towards technology. Being that it is a multiplayer game, it also provides an opportunity for people with varying knowledge levels to learn from each other. Much like what would happen in real life, players have to balance spending money on their dreams with paying for necessities of everyday life. On top of it all, thoughtful investments is the only way to pay for it all.

To start the game, an app introduces to each player the rules of the game, giving a comprehensive walkthrough of what dreams, needs, and chance cards are. The game then asks that players pick four dreams from a deck and place them on the physical dashboard, informing them that one of the main objectives of the game is to achieve goals that players have set for themselves. The physical dashboard uses NFS technology to allow users to easily input cards into their dashboard and see what type of investments they’re making accordingly. Then, the user can create a profile on the app, answering questions that would make a difference when investing, like marital status and number of children. The physical board also has pay day and Market Change, which denotes a change in stock prices according to the type of stock a customer has purchased. 

Through guidance and insight, players are encouraged to invest through reminders on the app. One of the main features of the app is its ability to reflect on how players are doing doing and give suggestions for how they can do better. The chance and needs cards also mimic unpredictable expenses that come with everyday life, like car repairs and visits to the dentist. Little coins that can be acquired throughout the game are representations of stocks, mutual funds, bonds, education funds, and retirement funds. On each coin show risks and value of each type of investment. Upon reaching retirement, which is the end of the game, the app act as a point of reflection. It assesses how well the player did in comparison to other players in the game and gives an assessment on the risk tolerance and liquidity of the players, giving tips on how the player could’ve improved. The game will make an analysis and a profile for the player which, if the player wishes, can be sent to their bank to start a conversation around investing.