8 Games With Economics As Mechanics

The structure of the world and society is made up of many cogs, one of the most important of which is the economy. This is the bottom line for understanding finance and other systems in place, but it’s not the easiest thing to master. Although necessary, many schools do not include economics classes in their curriculum, resulting in delayed learning and understanding.

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However, some games have built their entire gameplay on economic systems, so you need to keep them running as smoothly as possible so that you can expand and please everyone in the system when they aren’t. Certain games make learning economical and can therefore be very rewarding.


8th Offworld trading company

No one ever expected a game about creating a successful interstellar empire to take off, but it did. In Offworld Trading Company, the goal is in the name: create an offworld trading company.

Although you start with just a few planets like Mars and Earth, you’ll soon have to make decisions and set things up so you can expand across the stars. The more you expand, the more the game zooms out until you admire a network of planets linked by economic harmony.

7 Dune: Spice Wars

The Dune series is often created as one of the foundations of modern sci-fi, but has had a rocky relationship with gaming. It has since returned with Dune: Spice Wars, which incorporates many elements of the book.

As one of the main factions in the Dune universe, the goal is to establish dominance on Arrakis by harvesting as many special spices (mélange) as possible. It’s the lifeblood of your operation, but you need to keep an eye on taxes, costs and resources to ensure your system is economically viable and stable.

6 SimCity

If you don’t have a way to pursue a specific career or just want to see what another path would be like, that’s where sim games come into play. Among them is the SimCity series, in which you play an omniscient city planner tasked with turning a wasteland into a thriving metropolis.

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However, as your city grows so does the need, with the economy playing a big part in keeping things going. It’s not about making the biggest city; it’s about making the most economically viable city.

5 The Yakuza series

There’s no shortage of crime games, but the Yakuza series stands out for a number of reasons. In addition to its exciting combat mechanics and varied activities, many games include a side quest that is much more factual than expected.

In Yakuza 0, you are challenged to become a real estate mogul, while in Yakuza: Like A Dragon, you must guide a failed company to the top of the stock market leaderboard. While not as complex as other economic games, it gives you a taste of the elements that come with it and makes it satisfying when you succeed.

4 civilization revolution

Aside from the objective that SimCity presents, the Civilization series challenges you to rule the world from a specific perspective. As you progress through time, making new discoveries and advancements, you must ensure that all aspects are on track to take you to the top of the world.

In the Civilization Revolution series, one of the ways you can achieve victory is through the economy. This involves earning as much gold as possible through all the practices you can put together.

3 Stardew Valley

Many people dream of the simple but rewarding life of running a farm in a small town, and Stardew Valley offers just that. As a person fed up with the corporate hamster wheel, you decide to accept the title deed to your grandfather’s farm in the charming community of Pelican Town.

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You are in dire straits and must be very proactive to restore the farm to its former glory and make it prosperous. As the seasons change, you must change to keep the farm’s economy healthy. You also need to build lots of facilities and equipment to diversify your products.

2 Recettear: The Story of an Item Shop

Sometimes running a single company is just as satisfying as running an entire empire, as games like Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale can prove. As a young girl, Recette is given you an item shop with the goal of making it profitable.

This means you need to have fresh stock and monitor trends to change prices accordingly, while ensuring all your perishables stay fresh. You are also encouraged to go out into the world with allies to fight monsters and win new things to sell and boost the internal economy.

1 rimworld

Colony sims aren’t for everyone given how challenging they can be, but titles like RimWorld are akin to building a model railroad. You will be given a set of parts and instructions to build something functional and effective.

As the leader of the survivors crashed on an unknown alien planet, you must search for all the tools and resources you can find to start building a community. You can eventually grow and expand to create your own society, to the point where the next step is to produce things of value for the market as the economy becomes more important.

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