The Serious Games of Making Business.

I’ve been trying to find a new business game or simulation for a while.

My favorite in the genre is Trevor Chan Capitalism series, which is still alive and kicking as Capitalism Labs, but the game is really showing it age and most of the DLC have been mostly misses, like letting you start a software company.

Factorio was too frenetic for me plus I want metric like making $$ instead of just creating a production lines. I’ve played a number of the Tycoons games with Game Developer Tycoon and of course the various Railroad Tycoons being my favorite.

Any suggestions appreciated.

I played a recent game called Little Big Workshop that I enjoyed. It’s more about organization and efficiency than operations, but it does have you running a manufacturing business.

There’s a similar game in early access called Good Company that scratches the same itch in a different way. In that one, you can research new products, and the quality of components have an impact on the cost to produce them.

Do you just like the scenario of owning a business, or do you want something that really gets into crunchy details, like, Accounts Receivable and stuff like that?

Is there such a thing? Bonus points if I need to (or it makes me want to) learn GAAP in order to play.

Have you tried @cliffski’s Production Line: Car factory simulation?

The other one that comes to mind that isn’t business but really gets into the gnarly sim stuff is Project Hospital.

Software Inc. is worth the price of admission:

It’s been in early access for a long time, but it has had alot of updates and if you play it now you’ll think it’s a complete game. It focuses on software / game development, but captures many of the same features as any generic business.

This thread should have been titled The Serious Games of Making Business.

Oh lots of good suggestion. Between Good Company and Little Big Workshop which do you prefer.

I bought one of @cliffski early games, many years ago. I liked but didn’t love it, but I’ll keep it in mind.

One of the reviewers talks about Software Inc vs Game Developer Tycoon, so I’m going to get this one and add the other to my wishlist.

Too damn funny, done.

Game Dev Tycoon is more an idle game than anything else. It’s charming, but it’s not a business sim.

I think Production Line (and the stripped down Big Pharma, which is similar) are more production line games that are about fitting your components into the available space with weird input and output configurations. They’re about optimizing space more than throughput and although there are financial constraints, they take second fiddle to the space ones.

The transportation games, e.g. Transport Fever 2, seem kind of like what you’re looking for.


I put more time into Little Big Workshop, and I prefer it, but I will say there’s not very much challenge or pushback. As long as you don’t bankrupt yourself severely, it’s kind of hard to lose. I unfortunately haven’t spent much time with Good Company to make a good comparison!

I agree Game Dev is a lite game. The main reason I’ve play it a lot is I don’t have many games, that are really playable on my Surface Pro when I travel (a fair number are playable but screen size and old eyes).

So far Software Inc. seems like the right mix of complexity, despite it still definitely being in early access.

I’d love to hear what you think about it - Its a one man show, a Dane I think, who has been working on this for quite some time. I don’t see anything but praise from those playing the game, but it does seem slightly complex! I ADORE the art, though.

Offworld Trading Company, perhaps?

The original Tropico, Patrician 3, and OTC are my favorites. Seven Kingdoms 2 is worth a look if you’re willing to try a very unusual RTS with a different kind of economy (also by Trevor Chan). I tried Spice Road but didn’t really get into it.

These are on my wishlist:

I’d played it for about 10 hours and 4 years in game time after a couple of restarts Enough to make a couple of products, and some sequels, and $10+ million dollars or so.

It has a lot of potential but it is truly early access. I’m going to compare it Game Developer Tycoon because that certainly the closest game.
It is significantly more complicated game the GDT,with the ability to make lots of different types of software, from game to 3D video editors and the normal office products. You can also leverage elements of software. Your early business invoice software can be used as source control manager and while I didn’t get far enough to do it 3D editing software can be used in building your own Game Engine like Unity.

Aside from some strange nomenclature choices. If assign priority #1 to Project B, #2 to Project C and #3 to support, I would expect to support to be the last things my programmers do not the first. The biggest issue is that games scope is too ambitious.

By the time I had 20 employees I was already getting a bit overwhelmed, I can’t imagine dealing with 100, even if there are tools for manage teams etc. Clearly HR management is critical for a software company. But is selecting office furniture and arranging it, critical. How about worry about maintaining.? I have my doubts.

The reality is that software development is pretty damn dull to the outside observer, as all of us have realized when trying to explain it to significant other, family etc. But GDT has some elements of fun thrown in and the excitement of get 10 review and knowing what it was going to do for sales, was a lot of the fun. Right now Software Inc. is too dry for my taste.

I liked all three of those games I know I got seven kingdoms, but it didn’t make much of an impression.
On your list I think you can skip Interstellar Transport Company and Evil Banker Manager, I got them during the steam sale. Ended up getting refunds, (I’ve only gotten one other refund) so I’m not that picky.

Any further impressions on Good Company? It’s on sale at the moment and I’ve been intrigued by it for a while, but I already have LBW.

I don’t really have any more substantive impressions, but I can contrast them a little bit, if that helps.

Good Company is more story-driven. The campaign consists of a lot of scenarios that you can score bronze, silver, or gold on based on how well you complete the objectives. The worker management part is more directive, where you need to assign people to specific stations and set specific flows of materials - your workers won’t do that themselves.

The research/product component is more fleshed out. Instead of picking from a market of blueprints like in LBW, you spend time and money on R&D to develop your own blueprints. Like, one of the products you can make is a calculator. You start out with basic components - a plastic case, a basic LCD screen, and so on. But you can research better ones, like a polished wood case or a bigger battery. The better components cost you more to make, but they result in a calculator that sells for more.

I found it to be more fiddly than LBW, but that might be a good thing!

I picked up another business game last week Computer Tycoon, on sale for $8, still in early access…
Still in early access. It has promise you do R&D on various components, processor, OS etc, assemble the computer (typically offshore) and then sell it.

Sadly it is another, 1 man team with an overly complex game that just isn’t fun, right now and likely will never be.

On the positive news department. Arms Trade Tycoon Tanks continues to make progress.

It is a rather interesting development process. They continue to improve their demo, I guess because they’ve launched a Patron site after their Kickstarter. For most companies the demo was one and done thing right before launch, so it is interesting to do it this way.

The demo continues to improve and is worth checking out.