This Grand Life (TGL)

Short game description

In This Grand Life (TGL) the player simulates the life of his avatar. The aim is to satisfy the needs of the game character as good as possible, taking into account the scarcity of life time and money.

The principles of the game are relatively quickly grasped and explained in tutorials, so that there are hardly any entry hurdles. However, TGL is (currently) only available in English. The game can entertain for several hours. However, it is very repetitive at times, for example during a study of several years. Also the long-term fun is limited.

Apart from the language barrier, TGL should be usable from secondary school level I on, although it can be played well by adults as well.

TGL runs on PC, but it has only low hardware requirements and does not require an Internet connection. The game is available at Steam for 10 Euro (reduced for 6 Euro).



Areas of competence


A) Decision and rationalty


B) Relationship and interaction


C) Order and system






Division of labour/cooperation










Oppurtunity costs






Conflict of aims



+ little    ++ medium    +++ much

General Learning objectives


Further contents:

Inflation, career orientation

tgl-beschreibung-anleitung (PDF, 791,67 KB)
Learning potential

1. Life situations

In addition to the perspective of working people, the player in TGL mainly takes on the perspective of consumers, which is the case in only a few games. In this respect, TGL can make contributions to central areas of economic education: consumer education, financial education, entrepreneurship education and career orientation. With regard to career orientation, it is clear that many attractive and demanding professions require longer and sometimes strenuous qualifications and often have several career ladders to climb. As a result, there is a growing understanding that many attractive professions require a longer-term commitment and that early, systematic career planning is often the best option. The option of setting up their own company may be the first time that schoolchildren get to grips with this idea. TGL makes it clear that although it is not easy to start a business (qualification and capital requirements as well as challenges in customer acquisition), it can initially be done on a part-time basis. Furthermore, it becomes clear that setting up one's own business potentially involves a much higher income than working as a dependent employee.

2. Categories
TGL is capable of promoting a deeper understanding of basic economic categories. This puts needs and their satisfaction at the centre of the game. In doing so, it is necessary to deal with the scarcity of life time and, directly related to this, money, which is a greater challenge at the beginning of the game. Against this background, attention must be paid to efficiency, i.e. the best possible cost-benefit ratio or input-output ratio of a decision. For example:

  • to keep distances short in order not to waste time,
  • to receive the highest possible hourly wage for the hours worked,
  • to make efficiency-enhancing investments, for example for an oven and refrigerator, so that the need for food can be met more cost-effectively than in restaurants

Opportunity costs must also be taken into account in many decisions. Thus, many needs can be satisfied by different measures, often differing in terms of time and cost. In TGL, for example, you can improve your health by jogging without any financial outlay, whereas in a gym this costs money but is done more quickly. When deciding which variant is cheaper, the respective hourly wage must be taken into account: With a high salary, the opportunity costs of lost time in the form of lost income are usually higher than the money saved.

In TGL there are several conflicting goals to manage, such as between satisfying needs and earning income. Above all, a balance must be struck between short-term and long-term goals, for example between measures to increase happiness in life, such as cultural activities or partnerships, and long-term investments, for example in education. This requires to be aware of one's priorities and not to strive for all goals at the same time. Thus, a strategy for success in TGL consists of first creating the framework conditions to satisfy the most important needs, then studying and only with an increased income can more demanding needs be satisfied and partnerships entered into.

Precisely because of the difficulties at the beginning of the game, TGL is able to sensitize people to inequality and questions of justice. This makes it clear that poorer people are already sufficiently busy coping with basic needs and can only make long-term investments with great difficulty. In TGL, for example, studying already with student loans is a challenge that would be almost impossible to meet without loans.

As a result of random events such as theft or defective equipment, TGL demonstrates the need to form reserves due to risks that are difficult to anticipate.

3. Further contents
Beyond these ways of thinking, the TGL contains further economic aspects. Since inflation is depicted in the game, TGL sensitizes to the necessity of occasional salary increases and the interest-bearing financial investment if one does not want to suffer a loss of purchasing power.

Furthermore, there is the possibility of trading with shares, for which purpose several key figures such as dividend yield or price-book value ratio are displayed. Although it is quite difficult to forecast share prices, TGL offers a motivation to deal with share trading and key figures.

In addition, fundamental aspects of corporate management such as marketing and the hiring of employees are included in TGL, at least to some extent.

4. Wrong concepts
However, unreflected playing of TGL can also lead to misconceptions or false ideas about economic facts. Especially the (lucrative) management of an own company is quite easy and low-risk in the game. Employees can be hired and fired without costs and time delays, there are no fixed costs that could lead to major financial problems in case of missing orders, there is no competition and basically all offered orders can be fulfilled quite easily without any significant risks. In this respect, the challenges of managing a company could be underestimated and the attractiveness of self-employment - which does exist - overestimated.

With regard to professional activities, TGL almost exclusively reflects the monetary aspect. It is not clear from the game that work can also bring pleasure or meet self-realization and social needs.

Moreover, many activities seem to take up an unreasonable amount of time or be excessively expensive. For example, a pizza costs 80 euros and takes 5 hours to eat. The player should therefore be aware that many seemingly concrete activities and facts are actually strong abstractions in order not to make the game flow inappropriately small [1].

[1] So it would not be a joy to have to eat 21 meals and shower 7 times per round.

Teaching assignment

Since TGL can be learned quite quickly and its learning-relevant content can be developed in a comparatively short time, its use in teaching is quite justified. Basically, interdisciplinary lessons with English are suitable, since TGL is (currently) only available in English. The following list with translations of important terms can be used to support the students.

The introduction to TGL can be done with the help of the tutorials, whereby only the first one should be played through completely. In the following tutorials it is sufficient to briefly deal with their central ideas. However, the tutorials can also be omitted, especially if a game description (see above) is available. In any case, the students should be encouraged to first systematically deal with the game principles, which can be done by means of the following questions or tasks:

  • What functions do the individual buildings have?
  • How can the different needs be satisfied? What is the difference between the various measures for satisfying a need?
  • What is the purpose of the different goods?
  • Which professions can be pursued? What are the prerequisites for this?
  • What are the requirements for becoming self-employed?
    To what extent is the location of the home important?

After the pupils have had some time to familiarise themselves with the game by means of the questions, they should be discussed in the plenary session as a whole so that any problems and misunderstandings that may have arisen can be addressed.

On the basis of the general understanding acquired in this way, the students can start a new game. As a social form, individual or partner work is a good option; with small group work, too many pupils would be idle and could get bored. In order to enable a mutual exchange of ideas, a short phase of discussion can occasionally be integrated into small groups. At the beginning of the game, a training speed increased by a factor of 3 should be set in the advanced options. Otherwise the phase of further qualification would take up too much teaching time. [1] In order to allow a well-founded reflection and to ensure a focused game process, the students can be asked to answer the questions below already during the game.

After the game phase, it is important to become aware of the insights gained in the game, to link them to previous knowledge, to systematise and deepen them. This can be supported by guiding questions such as:

  • What do you find (un)realistic about TGL?
  • What did you learn while playing?
  • How did you deal with the problem of limited time and money?
  • What other challenges were there in the game? How did you deal with them?
  • What thoughts guided you in your choice of profession(s)?
  • Did you enter into a partnership or did you start a family? Why (did not)? If so, at what time?
  • Why does it make sense to invest surplus money? What possibilities are there for this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these investment options?
  • What criteria did you use to decide on certain shares?
  • How does the founding and running of a company in the game differ from reality? Following on from this question, numerous business management topics can be examined in greater depth.

[1] Alternatively, a low level of difficulty can be set. This means more privilege points for character creation, which would provide a degree right at the beginning. However, a high income is also associated with this, so that the special challenges of limited resources would hardly come to light. A third option is to provide students with a saved file after a few rounds of free play, where they have already completed their studies.

tgl-arbeitsblatt (PDF, 43,15 KB)
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