Till Next Bill
Target Audience: General Audience
Company: Canton de Vaud
Description: Till Next Bill is a narrative survival game. The player makes decisions to move the story forward. Through empathy, they make difficult decisions in the face of dilemmas and derive their motivation to continue from the (difficult!) goal of surviving a certain number of days and not losing the game. This drives them to seek solutions for the character they are playing. The crucial factors for success are time – with the game’s fun, surprising and complex mechanics – and, of course, money. Players must be strategic if they want to survive. All story content and characters are based on and inspired by real-life stories and experiences of young adults in Switzerland. This is made clear to players, adding to the credibility of the game and the experience. The game also features all the resources available in Switzerland and elsewhere to help young people, families and educators with money problems and over-indebtedness. Designed for smartphones, it can also be played on computers or tablets, as it is an online game accessible via any browser. It is, of course, free to play and collects no player data, so there’s no need to download or create an account. Progress in the game is saved locally in the player’s browser. A game lasts an average of 15 minutes. The influences behind the creation of this game are diverse, ranging from Play Spent to Burry Me my Love, including This War of Mine and the Lifeline narrative game series.
Skills and Ideas Taught: Till Next Bill is about the impact of money problems in social interactions, issues surrounding loans, leasing, rent, insurance, taxes, or the role of guarantor for subscriptions, among other topics. We also challenge the player on his or her ability to put money aside for a rainy day or unforeseen life events. Evaluating the risks of decisions that can affect your budget and managing a young adult’s budget are also skills we teach in the game, although Till Next Bill is clearly not a game about learning how to budget. Players are encouraged to talk about money and ask for help when they need it.
Goal: The objectives of the game are to break the taboo around money and debt and enable young people to ask for help. (When faced with money problems, 1 in 5 young people don’t tell anyone). We are also aiming to deepen the content of prevention messages on over-indebtedness for young people and to provide them with tools while offering more interactivity in information and debt prevention campaigns. We also hope to diversify the target groups for information and prevention campaigns on over-indebtedness, not only young people in financial difficulties, but also their friends, parents, education or youth workers, the general public and the media. (When faced with money problems, young people turn first to their family (79.55%) and friends (27.27%). Help services are mentioned much less often. Again, we hope to raise awareness of the services available to young people (and not so young people) at risk of over-indebtedness.
Assessment Approach: The score in the game is actually the number of days you manage to survive. The challenge is to get through the entire scenario without losing. Players lose when their finances are below a certain amount for too many days. This indicates over-indebtedness, which is defined by a loss of control over your situation and when the cost of your debts exceeds your current income. And of course, as the scenario unfolds, players can see the impact of their decisions on their bank accounts, but also in the messages or feedback they receive from their friends, family, or employers. Opportunities can close or open up depending on the choices each player makes.
Operating Systems: Web, iOS, Android
Primary Audience: The game is aimed at 15-25 year olds. Young adults at the end of compulsory or post-compulsory education, in vocational schools, high schools or universities, but also outside educational institutions. Till Next Bill comes with a teaching sheet for use by teachers, socio-cultural facilitators and local social workers, so that it can be used as a turnkey project. It is available in the three major swiss national languages, French, Italian and German, as well as in English.