Board Game Review: StartUp: A Business Game For All Ages

Board Game Review: StartUp: A Business Game For All Ages

Created by: StartUp Games, LLC
Players: 2-4
Age Range: 9 & Up

The object of the StartUp game is to complete your Corporate Headquarters. The Corporate Headquarters is built in 5 levels, with each level paid for with cash. Players make money by succeeding at business, by selling ownership in their Company, and through other game activities. The first player to complete the Corporate Headquarters wins the game.

This Monopoly-like board game was created by a New Jersey banker and his family while they were stranded during Hurricane Sandy. They designed the game to teach basic financial and business concepts. It also encourages young players to use their addition and subtraction skills. StartUp reinforces basic Mathematics concepts such as use of a table to look up data, basic probability, and strategic thinking.

This is a high quality educational tool when it comes to the basic design. We particularly enjoyed the extra sturdy peg boards. Our board game savvy players wished the typical Sorry!-style pawns were wooden meeples. All of our play testers liked the added fun of the colorful headquarter building blocks. The 2 biggest complaints from players of all ages were the very busy game board and the length of play time. But, there are rules for short gameplay versions within the instruction booklet which will solve at least one of these issues. Players will need the instruction booklet readily available as they play through. They’ll need to reference it often until they learn what each space does.

During gameplay we found that quite a bit of terminology and business basics need to be explained before starting to younger players and non business savvy individuals. Dollar amounts are large and can be tough for some kids to read if they have never been exposed to them. The various cards required pauses for explanation or an extensive amount of reading comprehension for younger players. Calculations, reading and definitions of business terminology sometimes got in the way of actual play strategy for younger players. However, these issues presented no difficulty for our 12 year old or older players.

There are also a significant number of manipulatives in this game, which can be distracting, but may also help to keep a kinesthetic learner engaged. Despite these challenges, everyone seemed to enjoy the game.

Almost anyone playing the game will be drawn to make comparisons to Monopoly. These comparisons are sound because of the high level theme (making money), but they fall apart pretty quickly. These are very different experiences. StartUp’s biggest strength is that each players turn will result in a different activity, some of which involve multiple players. For example:

  • Networking Events are a great bluffing exercise and give an opportunity for role playing.
  • Business Opportunities give players the chance to choose their level of investment based on their business’s level of expertise.
  • Playing the Market gives players the chance to choose between aggressive or conservative investment strategies.

Our favorite element of StartUp is that on two spots on the game path the player is forced to stop, choose one of two paths and reroll the dice. These alternate paths are each very different and a savvy player will consider their needs and the risks they might have to take on each path carefully. As I said in my StartUp unboxing video, games that require players to make strategic choices are a good thing.

Overall, it might not be the most “fun” game in your family game closet, but it’s certainly a great learning tool. We would highly recommend this to any Educator or Home School Family. We can easily picture this as an awesome addition to many lesson plans because of the realism and relevancy of the game.

The $39.95 price point makes it hard to justify adding it to a family board game collection, but we think this game is a MUST HAVE for schools or children’s libraries. It is a great gift idea for a teacher, especially if they are looking to expand their lesson plans.

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