Published on 7 April 2015
USC academic Steven Boyd discovered he was renovating a classic rather than developing a greenfield site when his quest to create educational games about property uncovered the origins of the legendary board game Monopoly.
As the basis of his PhD thesis in Property Economics and Development, Mr Boyd set about developing a suite of games to assist students grasp the intricacies of the property industry.
“Students absorb information in many different ways,” Mr Boyd explained. “Some can gain skills and build knowledge through fun, problem-solving vehicles such as games but my challenge was aligning the gameplay with the desired educational outcomes of the program.”
One of the games Mr Boyd developed was a board game called Possession v Poverty. Pictured (left to right) are Steven Boyd and students Jake Bendle and Samantha Boholt playing the game.
“When I started designing games I thought I had struck upon a new idea by creating a game to help teach students about the business of property ownership and development,” Mr Boyd said.
“Then I discovered that the creators of the age-old game Monopoly had actually had a very similar idea back in 1903!
“A Quaker woman by the name of Lizzie Magie designed Monopoly (or The Landlord’s Game as it was then known) as an educational tool to demonstrate the ‘gross injustice’ of private land ownership.
“Possession v Poverty ended up resembling Monopoly but using data from real market cycles from the past decade.”
Possession v Poverty is one of four games and a mobile phone app either developed or repurposed by Mr Boyd over the past four years.
“The other game I developed is a computer game called Playing Property, specifically focused on the learning of current market activity and property cycles,” Mr Boyd said.
“I also repurposed two existing games, SimCity and Investorville and developed the app REFeasibility (available now for free download), which is useful for students but aimed more at industry.”
— Brent Hampstead