A few weeks ago, I had a job interview at a loan financing company, and for some inexplicable reason, I began thinking of ways that I would attempt to advertise for the company. The job had nothing to do with this, and yet, that’s where my mind went. Anyways, after a few other ideas, I thought about the kind of game that could advertise a bank, and I actually think it could be fun.
Basically, you would serve as a bank and make loans to townspeople. I pictured the game having a fantasy/medieval theme, but that’s not strictly necessary. (Speaking of medieval fantasy, this site has an absolutely amazing guide to how many of certain businesses you should expect to find in medieval cities of certain sizes. So, for instance, it takes 150 people to support a cobbler, but 2000 to support an inn, on average. That sort of thing would be a good guide to when new business spontaneously form in the town.) You would begin in a small village, and through making loans to various villagers and merchants, they would benefit economically, bringing in more wealth and people to the town, increasing your opportunity and making the town more aesthetically pleasing.
The difficulty would be in knowing to whom loans should be made, and at what sort of interest rates. If your rates are too high, they might default entirely, and then the money is lost, but if too low, you won’t make a profit. Different people would have a reputation, as well. So for example, the mayor would have a good reputation from many people, while the town drunk would have a poor reputation from many people, and an itinerant merchant might only have one person in the village who knows about him, so he’d be a bigger risk to loan to, since you wouldn’t have a good idea of his credit-worthiness.
Making loans to different people would bring about different changes to the town. Loaning to a landlord to improve his crops might increase population from increased food, while making a loan to a school to improve its facilities will increase the number of scholars who visit, increasing wealth.
And maybe you could get into other lines of business, as well, including personal savings and insurance. Once the town developed a thriving merchant economy, you might get approached by a guild to insure their ships, and you’d have to use data to decide how to set rates.
You could also have a multiplayer version, where two or more bankers are in the same city, adding a competitor, which would definitely change what sort of rates you’re able to charge and remain in business.
Your goal would be to improve the town as much as possible, and you’d be able to save your final town and share with friends. I think it could be a good financial tool, as well, teaching people about interest rates, compound interest, insurance, &c. I personally feel that a knowledge of basic financial institutions and mathematics would be extremely beneficial for most people.