OBJECTIVE OF PONZI SCHEME: The objective of Ponzi Scheme is to be the player with the most points at the end of the game. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 to 5 Players 

MATERIALS: 1 Trading Envelope, Cash, 5 Time Markers, 5 Player Screen, 1 Starting Player Marker, 4 Luxuries, 60 Industry Tiles, 18 Bear Fund Cards, 45 Fund Cards, 9 Starting Fund Cards, 72 Fund Cards, 1 Funding Board, and Instructions 

TYPE OF GAME: Set Collection Card Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 12 and Up 


Ponzi Scheme is a term that is used to describe the technique Charles Ponzi used in the 1900s to operate the most notorious financial frauds in history. Players act as scammers throughout the course of the game. They attempt to trick investors into funding fraudulent investments. The players avoid bankrupt and earn points. Who will be able to play it out the longest? 


To begin placement, orient the funding board in the center of the playing area. Arrange the nine beginning fund cards on the board, depending on their value, with the lowest three cards in the first row and the highest in the third row. The other fund cards are shuffled and placed beside the board to create the draw pile. 

Divide the industry tiles into four different decks, organizing them by type, and place them beside the funding board. The cash should be divided by denomination, forming the bank. One player should be assigned the role of the banker in order to keep things organized.  

Each player will collect a player screen, time marker, and a time wheel. The time wheels should be positioned in front of the players, leaving space around the wheel. The time marker should be placed beside the wheel. The player who keeps their word the most often will become the starting player, and the game is ready to begin! 


The game is played over the course of numerous rounds. Throughout each round, funding, trade, passing, market crash, turning of the wheel, and paying the interest will take place. Beginning with the starting player, the turns will rotate clockwise around the group.  

During the funding phase, the player may choose to pass or choose an industry tile and funding tile, ensuring that they collect both if they did not choose to pass. The player will then collect the money from the bank that the fund card states. The trading will begin when all players have collected their cards if they wished. Here, players may choose to trade cards with other players in a clockwise order, allowing players to pass if they wish. 

Once they have traded, the starting player marker is passed to the player on the left. If the number of bear fund cards is greater than the number of players, then the market will crash. Each player will discard an industry tile, beginning with the starting player and continuing clockwise around the group.  

The players will rotate their wheel one space in the clockwise direction once the market crash has been dealt with. If the market did crash, then it must be moved two spaces. Any fund cards that are found in the same area as the arrow on the time wheel will need to have interest paid on it. The interest is stated on the cards.  

The game continues in this manner until a player goes bankrupt, beginning the ending of the game. 


The game comes to an end when a player becomes bankrupt. All players that have went bankrupt lose the game immediately. The players that remain afloat during the game will then tally their points. Players will score their points according to the size of their industries and the money they hold.  

Once they have completed the tallying, the winner is chosen. The player with the most points, wins the game. 

Ellie Phillips
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