Top 5 Business Strategy Games

From board games to board rooms, there’s no shortage of competitive advantages to be found. Sometimes fun and games aren’t just “fun and games”. Here are my top 5 business strategy games that will keep your skills sharp.

Top 5 business strategy games feature image of a male playing computer video games.

This post details five games that will help you develop your business strategy and operations management skills. These selections reinforce social prowess, resource allocation, time management, attention to detail and patience.

SimCity Build It: Community & Production Business Strategy

Back in 2001, I spent countless hours playing The Sims computer game. Cheat codes and all (anyone remember “rosebud”). I have zero regrets, believe it or not, because I learned two things,

  1. Residential Project Management
  2. I never want to be God

Fast-forward to 2012 when I stumbled upon the SimCity BuildIt mobile game app. In this simulation game, you act as mayor and city manager to your city. You build, produce, sell, buy and trade your way towards having a thriving metropolis.

Screenshot of SimCity BuildIt mobile game app showing production factories, city government buildings, homes, and storefronts
Screenshot of my SimCity town hall and production factories.
Text explaining the features of SimCity BuildIt mobile game. Features include customizing your own unique city, strategic planning and resource management, participation in special events, and trading chatting, competing and joining clubs with fellow Mayors.
Screenshot from EA Games SimCity BuildIt website

Now I’m a project manager, and I gotta tell you when it comes to my career this was time well spent! Allow me to explain.

Lessons Learned from SimCity BuildIt

Lesson 1: Produce, Build, Collect, Expand

Amateurs will want to focus on aesthetic and housing, before realizing that they will not have enough to fund such a strategy. In similar fashion, chasing after every pop up offer to sell produced items (at a huge discount no less), or jumping on every complaint from a Sim will get you tied down, stressed, and broke.

Sound familiar?

Lesson 2: Pay Attention to Capacity

Another beginner’s move is to upgrade things simply because you can. For example, upgrading to fuel efficient factories is far too costly, when you have a low-moderate population (which results in low tax revenue) and plenty space to move homes away from the pollution.

Understanding your capacity will also help you strategize where best to use your resources. In the case of items that take a long time to produce (i.e. long lead), it is a better strategy to have an 80/20 ratio of fast producing items to slow producing items during the day.

During the day, you are more likely to actively watch for changing needs in the city and trade center supply and demand fluctuations. This strategy avoids production bottlenecks. Change the ratio to all slow-production items (like “sugar and spices” that take 4hrs to produce) will ensure you don’t have wasted down time.

Lesson 3: Connections, Consistency, Community


It doesn’t take long to realize that connections help you out big time. Whether in the game or IRL you learn to seek out people (in this case other mayors) who have been there, done that, and are willing to help you learn from their wins and loses.

For instance, this reddit group put together a public guide for how to optimize your city. Imagine in real life, a fellow mayor hands over their templates and guides to a thriving city. Time saver!


Consistency rules the day as well. Eventually, you will pick up on patterns that benefited you the most. In Lesson 1, I mentioned responding to community complaints can distract your from growing the city. That remains true.

However, once you’ve progressed a level or two, you should make it common practice to revisit those complaints. Soon patterns will arise in their complaints pointing you towards what needs to be examined and upgraded next.


Generally, in real life, regularly hearing from the community (i.e. potential customers) will steer you towards the most lucrative opportunities for your business. After level 18 in SimCity BuildIt you can form a Mayor’s Club community. That means trading real-time secrets, political bargaining, team challenges and so much more.

Apples to Apples + Cards Against Humanity: Healthy Debate

Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity operate on similar objectives. In each game, you receive cards with topics that you must respectfully debate, or loudly argue, with each other, to convince the judge to declare you the winner.

Again, sound familiar?

Lessons Learned from Apples to Apples + Cards Against Humanity

Lesson 1: Read

Seems simple, but often the devil is in the details. The more arguments you can conjure up from the descriptions on the card, the better.

You might find a career in law is a good fit for you after a few rounds of these games. If so, it behoves you to train yourself to read between the lines as often as possible. These cards will help you out.

Lesson 2: Bluff

Newbies will give away their hand by body language alone. Resist! The trick to a good sales call, negotiation, performance review, or showing up to work after a wild night is a solid bluff.

Practice bluffing by trying the following tips:

  1. Argue against your own card.
  2. Argue for someone else’s card.
  3. Argue for and against all of the cards as the devil’s advocate.

Lesson 3: Save Your Best Cards

Again it seems obvious, but many players come out swinging with their wittiest, funniest, most insightful cards. This is when the psychological techniques will prevent your ego from ruining your long game.

In real life, consider your 90-Day probationary period. There’s such a thing as the Primacy Bias, where we believe information and impressions we receive first, over those we receive later. In the midst of a few rounds of cards, we tend to believe early winners are the better ones.

For more potential blind spots and biases related to performance evaluations, take a look at this article from Culture Amp.

Cooking Fever: Time Management Strategy

Cooking Fever time management game screenshot of coffee shop customers and orders to be filled for drinks and desserts.
Screenshot showing coffee shop from Cooking Fever mobile game app

Time management games can be a huge help when developing strong customer service skills. Aside from their money, customers also spend their time with you.

Cooking Fever is one such time management game that can train you to plan ahead, prioritize, and multitask. It shows you how to improve your business with upgrades to the equipment, food quality, and interior decor.

Monopoly: All-Around Business Strategy

No best game list is complete without Monopoly, in my humble opinion. It truly needs no introduction, nor explanation.

But if you’re feeling edgy follow this link to learn some mind-blowing tricks to beat your friends and family at your next game of Monopoly.

Game Day Commentary

So let’s hear it. What games scratch your itch for competition? How do you train your business mind?

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