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Review of Payday Board Game

Updated on February 23, 2020
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David has had a variety of life experiences which he loves to share with his readers.

Complete Payday Board Game

Most of the components of the Payday board game.
Most of the components of the Payday board game. | Source

The Versions of the Payday Board Game

There are three versions of the Payday board game. Each one offers something different, so this review will cover each of the following versions:

  • The 1970s version of the game. The first version of the popular board game.
  • The 1990s version of the game. This version made some changes from the 1970s version.
  • The 2000s version of the game. Referred to as "Big Payday", which added even more changes.

Overview of the Payday Board Game

The goal of Payday is fairly simple. You progress through a set number of months, earning a salary, buying things, selling things, paying bills, etc. It's basically like real life except with all the bad parts left out. The game has been geared as a learning experience for children. They learn how to earn money, pay bills, save money for future expenses, etc. A wholesome and educational game which is a lot of fun as well.

There is once die, and each time it's rolled a player progresses that many spaces on the board. The board is made up of 31 spaces, which are days of the month. Whatever space the player lands on the player must (or may) do something. For example:

  • Mailboxes - Draw that many mail cards and take action on them.
  • Deal - Buy an item which can be re-sold later.
  • Buyer - Sell an item bought through the "Deal" space.
  • Sweet Sunday - Do nothing.

Plus there are many other spaces that require the player to pay a bill, collect money, etc. Just like real life, it can be random when it happens. A player could find themselves with a good opportunity, or be swamped with bills. In the 1970s version, you have a savings account you can deposit funds into and receive interest with. So it's a good tool in teaching money management.

The winner of the game is the player with the most cash on hand as well as in savings at the end of the last month of the game. Most games take 30 minutes to an hour. Setup only takes a couple of minutes, making starting the game over quite easy.

The Payday Game Board

The Payday game board.
The Payday game board. | Source

Payday Bills and Cards

Mail that can be received in Payday, which can contain bills, insurance, or even junk mail.
Mail that can be received in Payday, which can contain bills, insurance, or even junk mail. | Source

Payday Deals

Items that can be bought when landing on the "Deal" space in Payday.
Items that can be bought when landing on the "Deal" space in Payday. | Source

About the 1970s PayDay Board Game

  • Made in 1975 by Parker Brothers.
  • 2 to 4 players (later versions have up to 6).
  • For ages 8 and up.
  • Outsold Monopoly in its first year.

Review of the 1970s Payday Board Game

Unlike other board games, Payday doesn't involve harming or directly competing against others. There is some interaction involved between the players on the board, but it's minor. Each player makes their own choices in how they proceed, much like how real life would be. There is a bit of luck involved. Sometimes you could buy up multiple items but not be able to sell them off in the same month, leaving you in the red. However, since you are only using a six-sided die, you should be able to plan your moves accordingly.

As a family game it's a lot of fun. Up to four players can play in this version of Payday. So an entire family can get involved. It could even help parents teach children what is involved in paying bills and how hard it can be to save money, but in a fun way. The board, the cards, and the money are very colorful. Nothing is bland looking, so the game looks alive. Visually it's a nice game to look at, and the drawings look cartoony enough for children to like.

A group of adults playing the game can have just as much fun as well. You will find yourself telling your adult friends that you wish real life was this easy, or how funny and outrageous the junk mail in the game is. But in the end most adults will only enjoy a few games before wanting to try something with a bit more challenge and with some competition.

Still, in the end I would highly recommend this game because you will find yourself pulling it out to play every few months, making it consistently fun.

You can't really find this version in stores. You will have to look on Amazon, eBay, or a yard sale to find this version. Expect to pay more for this version than the other versions of the game.

Changes in 1990s Payday

Here are the major changes in this version of Payday:

  • Up to six players can play (up from four players in the 1970s version).
  • Savings accounts were removed.
  • There are multiple ways to earn money.
  • The art on the game board was changed.

Review of the 1990s Payday Board Game

The revised version of the 1970s Payday added a few new things, but took some things out as well. The number of players were bumped up to 6, the ability to have a savings account was taken out, and there were more opportunities to make money.

While this version would be fine for a larger family to play, it isn't going to teach your children much about saving money. It's too easy to earn money in this version of the game without running the risk of losing too much money. So instead of trying to balance things out and making smart choices, it's a lot more based on luck and amassing a huge pile of money.

I consider this version to be a lite version of the 1970s version of the board game. The upside is that it's easier and cheaper to find than the 1970s version.

Changes in 2000s Big Payday

Here are the major changes in this version of Payday:

  • Board completely changed to allow for tiles to replace existing days, adding variety to the game.
  • New card types were added, such as "Instant Messages".
  • The board can be set up for the 1970s version of the game, or for "Big PayDay".

Review of the 2000s Big Payday Board Game

This version added a new twist to the standard Payday game board. In Big Payday you have the ability to change up the board with new tiles that can be added and removed from the board. This guarantees that no two games will ever be the same. This adds more variety to the game.

As mentioned in the 1990s version, it's not the best version to teach your children how to save and spend money. In this version a lot of it is about buying, even the rules point out that it's the "American" way to make good deals and finance when necessary. This will surely entertain the adults, especially since technology finally caught up with the game with special "Instant Message" cards.

One thing I like about this version is that you have the ability to play the 1970s version of the game as well. This way you can play the Big Payday version with adults for a fun experience, and then switch to the 1970s version to teach your children about saving and spending money.

This version is also hard to find. Check Amazon and other sites to find this version of the game, but expect to pay more than the 1990s version.

What is your favorite version of Payday?

See results

Board Games Like Payday

There are other games like Payday that are actually quite decent and teach about how to manage money in other ways. For example:

  • Charge Large. Great game that teaches about the management of credit. Real life credit can sink someone, so it's a great educational game that teaches how to use and not abuse credit. It's also very affordable.
  • The Game of Life. Just like it sounds, the board game of "Life" takes players through the process of life. Getting a job, having a family, paying bills, etc. It basically takes the game of Payday to the next level.
  • Cashflow. This game teaches about the world of investing. The better version of the game is the child's version, but there is an adult version which is quite detailed in what it's about. The designer of the games also published books about investing. The games are expensive, despite still being widely available.

If there are other games like this, please share them in the comments. I'm always looking for new board games to play.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 David Livermore


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    • SimilarSam profile image

      Samuel Franklin 

      5 years ago

      One of my favourite board games.

    • ilikegames profile image

      Sarah Forester 

      6 years ago from Australia

      I've never even heard of the board game before but it does sound fun and you've done a great job of presenting it.

    • toptenluxury profile image

      Adrian Cloute 

      6 years ago from Cedartown, GA

      I have never played this board game. I think that I will have to get this game because I love board games. I think that board games are the best to get to know people and to have a great time with family.

    • davidlivermore profile imageAUTHOR

      David Livermore 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      I still play it to this day actually. Brings back good memories. Thanks for the comment!

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Peri 

      7 years ago from United States

      Maybe I should have played this game when I was younger! I like how you covered all of the game versions and went over their similarities and differences. Voted up!


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