• How To Play

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    Founder Cards

    As a founder, you’ll start off with little to no cash savings, and you'll have a unique skill set, a “superpower” (such as programming, design, marketing, legal, etc.) to start your company and build a minimal viable product (MVP).

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    Company Cards

    In addition to selecting a Founder Card you'll also select a Company Card. This card will not only tell you what industry your startup will be innovating, but also how much cash savings your co-founder's are putting in to help start  the company. 

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    Revenues & Expenses

    If a player lands on a green revenue space or an orange expense space then the player will collect or pay the amount in cash shown on the space.  Along the journey, players have to continue to increase revenues to keep up with a growing amount of expenses to grow the company, and avoid going bankrupt.

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    Significant Event Cards

    If a player lands on a space with a “!” take a Significant Event Card from the top of the pile and follow the directions on the card.  Significant Event Cards are a mixture of good and bad things that can happen to you and your company.

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    Accelerator Path

    If a player takes the Accelerator Path they subtract 5% from their Founder’s Ownership and collect $100K.  Taking the Accelerator Path is also a shortcut to raising the Seed round of capital.  The Accelerator is a 12 week program to become a better entrepreneur and ends with a demo day to present to a group of investors and potential customers and partners.

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    Pivot Paths

    Startups, even the best of them, have gone through one or more pivots.  What is a pivot? A pivot is when a startup re-evaluates its business and decides to go in a new direction with its product or service, and potentially even address a different target market. Pivoting isn’t failing, it’s just another chance to learn and grow your company.  Pivots cost more capital and take more time, but with a plan of coming out stronger on the other side.

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    Capital Raises

    Player’s raise multiple rounds of investment capital throughout the game from a small seed round to a large Series D / IPO round.  During each capital raise a player randomly selects a capital raise card (Low, Medium, High) and an investor ownership card (15%-25%), and then calculates the new Company Valuation and new Founder Ownership.  Note: There are Cheat Sheets to follow so no math is required, but equations are also provided if you want to be a geek and do the math in your head or with a calculator.

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    Impact Points

    Being an entrepreneur is about more than just money, that's why Impact Points are part of the game too. These cards help tell the full story of not only how well you're doing, but how much good you're doing too!

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    Acquisition Path vs. IPO Path?

    Towards the end of the game, choose between the Acquisition or IPO (Initial Public Offering) Path to determine how to eventually exit the company (and get rich!).


    The Acquisition Path is a shorter path, less risky, but also has less upside potential.


    The IPO Path is a longer path, more risky, with more upside and downside potential.

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    Congrats. You made it to the final stage! This is when founders are rewarded for all their hard work. Finally the company’s investors, fellow founders, and especially you, can get rich!


    At the end of both paths players randomly select Exit Multiple cards and calculate their company's Exit Value and player's  Final Founder Value.

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    How To Win

    The player with the highest Final Founder's Value wins the game. Your Founder's Value (the value of your founder’s equity) goes up by increasing the valuation of your company through capital raises, while at the same time your Founder’s Ownership decreases as investors increase their ownership stake in your company. The Final Founder's Value is based on your Final Founder’s Ownership in the company (hope you didn’t get diluted too much!) and how big your Exit Value is (the bigger the better).


    1st Place (3 Degrees)

    1st Degree Startup Black Belt: The player with the highest Final Founder's Value

    2nd Degree Startup Black Belt:

    …and most Cash OR most Positive Impact

    3rd Degree Startup Black Belt:

    …and most Cash AND most Positive Impact


    2nd Place

    The player with the most Cash AND a Positive Impact


    Note: There may not be a 2nd place winner if the 1st place winner achieves the 3rd degree.

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    Do The Unicorn! Celebrate

    Def: A unicorn is a start-up company valued at over $1 billion.


    If you end up exiting your company for over $1 billion, be sure to "Do The Unicorn" (see image for directions -->) and take a photo. Send it to us (NextBigThingBG@gmail.com) so we can add it to our photo gallery!

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    Words of Encouragement

    Good luck! Just like in real life there will be ups and downs throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Get ready for a wild ride. Just when you think things are looking their worst or best, they can turn around in an instant! We hope this game inspires not only entrepreneurs, but serial entrepreneurs (someone who starts more than one company) and encourages players to play again and again!

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    Track your progress during the game, including Company Valuation, Founder Ownership, and Impact Points.


    Need more Scorecard sheets? Download here and print.