Patrick Chang is a veteran financial consultant, best selling author and a regular contributor to Channel News Asia. He shares his journey on creating a financial card game and why he nearly gave up along the way. Find out more about his journey in this interview!
Q: Give the readers a short introduction about yourself and what you do? What is your “origin” story?
I am Patrick Chang, 14 years in the financial advisory industry, focusing on wealth management, specifically in investment portfolio construction, retirement planning & equitable estate distribution strategies.
I received my post-graduate MBA from the University of Adelaide. Recently, I was also awarded the Advance Diploma in Wealth Management, from The Wealth Management Institute, along with other certificates in family office advisory & Trust Services. I have also met industry’s certification standard, and now holds the CFP, ChFC, IBFA and AEPP certs. I am also certified Enneagram coach and DISC Flow trainer.
In 2016, I published the book: The A-to-Z Guide to Retirement Planning and had often been interviewed by local media and contributed numerous commentaries for Singapore's top news channel : Channel News Asia.
Q: What inspires the development of Affluent? Why did you decide to make this game?
Between 2017 and 2018, Iwas active in conducting a series of financial literacy workshops. After the event, I asked myself: “Can financial literacy be made simpler, easier to understand? Can I remove the complication, complexity, and tedious paper recording of conventional financial board games already out in the market? Can the ‘dry’ learning process of financial theories and principles, be gamified into something fun and interesting?” These thoughts prompted me to open upon the possibilities of designing my own game.
And so, I started to mentally construct some ideas, and eventually decided that making it into cards format, instead of the usual boardgame, could be something special, more cost-saving, and easy to carry around. Besides, card game can be played at a faster pace, without sacrificing the learning value of the game itself.
Q: What is Affluent about?
Affluent, the proprietary financial card game, is conceptualized, designed, and produced for the purpose of helping participants gain a fundamental understanding and appreciation of financial management concepts and principles. Unlike other financial board games that tend to have lengthy playtime, peppered with financial jargons, as well as being complicated, Affluent aim to make financial education simpler, interesting, and exciting.
The Goal is “an easy-to-understand, fun-filled, engaging and enjoyable playing cum learning experience, while relating the game contents to real-life incidents.”
Here are some unique points of Affluent:
Ø The first player to complete the game, may not be the eventual winner.
Ø There are many ways to end the game, depending on the learning objectives of the proposed session or workshop.
Ø The game play can be finish within 60 minutes, making it suitable for busy individuals, especially students and working adults.
Ø There is no complex paperwork to record progress during play, making it simple to learn what truly matters
Ø It can be played multiple times with different outcome all the time.
Q: What challenges did you face when you first started designing the game?
I was rather lost without any games design experience and knowledge at that point of time, and had only some vague ideas of the game. It took more than 6 months of trying to design myself, before I managed to seek help from a team of experts. They helped me to put my ideas into concrete game plan and constructed the logic of the game flow, which I was clueless then.
Q: You have shared the game with many people. How is their response to the game and what is one thing you will improve on if you are given the chance to re-design the game again.
Honestly, the initial feedbacks were not good at all.
I almost gave up on the game.
During my first prototype testing, I was repeatedly told that Affluent game would never make it. “Nobody will buy the cards to learn about financial literacy." and "Your idea won’t work!”
I was rather devastated.
But my opinion of the design of the game started to change after I invited a group of non-Singaporean friends to try out the intiial prototype and they gave me a very different reaction from my first playtest. They also gave me different perspective of what Affluent can do and can be. After that positive feedback, I did more testing. Since then, I received good review 95% of the time and this gave me the confidence to moves forward with the project. They also gave me valuable feedback on how the playing experience can be improved and I implemented some of those suggestions. The final game is much better thanks to these valuable feedbacks from my play testers.
If I could redesign the game, I will change the mechanics on some of the currenet actions cards so as to add more realism to the game.
Q: You have written a bestselling book and published a board game. In your opinion, what is the main difference in the experience of creating a book and a game? what did you learn from the process that can help you in your career or personal development.
The key difference is converting ideas & concepts into simple words while writing the book, whereas for a tabletop game, the focus is on the process of bringing ideas and concepts into ‘live action’. Readers absorb information from the book passively, as there is no direct communication with the author.
However, when it comes to a game, there will be active learning from the game creator or facilitator, while also gaining knowledge from sharing of gameplay experience by other participants. There will be more interaction, more connection, and more socialization.
The key learning point from these two processes is appreciating the importance of communicating ideas and concepts effectively, and there is more than one way to do it. Brilliant ideas and concepts can be lost during the process, if the wrong mode of communication strategy is adopted.
Q: The government encourages us to market our products abroad. Is there any new markets you are looking to enter and why?
I would like to see Affluent game to be introduced to other parts of Asia, starting from our neighbouring countries of Asean. I believe that Affluent is a very relevant and useful tool, in assisting and educating more people in financial literacy and more people around the region should make use of this game to teach financial ltieracy.
I strongly believe that good financial education can help individuals make better financial decisions and improve the financial well-being of themselves & their loved ones. This will also result in the improvement of the quality of lives for the community, as a whole.
Q: How do you handle marketing for your game and your services? What are the biggest challenges you face now?
My biggest challenge is to find business partners to market Affluent game sets and the Affluent program & workshop locally, as well as developing market entry strategies into other Asian countries. I have some ideas, but being a solopreneur, I have limited resources to carry out my plans. However, I am currently doing a lot of networking and building connection and bridges to realize my dreams of bringing Affluence abroad. With all my effort, I believe that In the outlook of Affluent could improve further in the coming months.
I am taking things one at a time and putting trust that my effort will eventually be rewarded.
Q: What are the future plans for the game?
I have a big master plan for Affluent which is currently work-in-progress. I will share more in due time as the plans are developed and more concrete results are available.
Q: Where can we find out more about you, your game and where to buy the game? Are you hosting any game demonstration in the near future?
You can find out more at my website patrickchang.sg for more details.
I will also be hosting regular game sessions. If you are interested to join the session, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the date, time, and venue.