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CoffeeChallenge : Advanced finance

CoffeeChallenge is a business game for Finance and Accounting modules of higher education courses, developed in collaboration with the Saxion University of Applied Sciences. Students play it as a standalone game or as a continuation of FinFun, individually or in teams,  competing against other students.

One of the strengths of CoffeeChallenge is the close connection between (more advanced) Finance learning goals and the game’s challenges. Students make business decisions autonomously and are responsible for their own success – all the while facing competition from other teams. In the process, they know precisely how sales are going and where to improve.

Through quick insights and player autonomy, the game offers students a more dynamic learning experience than traditional book assignments. This leads them to be more enthusiastic and to memorise the learning material better.

The benefits of CoffeeChallenge are:

  1. Students are introduced to advanced Finance concepts in a fun way.
  2. They are more enthusiastic and spend more time on the learning material.
  3. Because of an integrated learning experience, students understand the content better.
  4. Students’ understanding of Finance concepts is assessed through personal assignments.


In the game, players set up their first coffee shop, using the fictitious proceedings of the sales of the FinFun Barista-cart. Building on basic Finance concepts like revenue, depreciation, and profit & loss accounts, students gradually expand their knowledge of concepts like debt, break-even and ratio-analysis, as well as net present value.

Budgeting and forecast are essential to the coffee shops’ success. Also, students are challenged to make connections between finance and other management areas, like HR, marketing and purchasing.

The player’s decisions affect how the game continues. And that’s not all: the coffee shop’s success is also determined by the strategy of other teams.


Program design

Students play the game individually (competing against the software) or in small teams (competing against other students). CoffeeChallenge can easily be combined with theory and workshops, as the teacher is able to decide the game’s speed. Students can see where in the game they make mistakes, so they quickly know which material to re-read.

Learning goals

During the game, players experience how their decisions and how the competition of other teams impact the coffee shop’s performance. This autonomy and competition contribute to students’ intrinsic motivation and invites them to consider the relationship between cause and effect.

Suitable learning goals of CoffeeChallenge are:

  • Independently making tactical decisions and investing in a competitive market.
  • Reading and writing financial reports, including balance sheets, results accounts and cash-flow statements.
  • (Applying) knowledge of Finance concepts like debt, fixed and variable costs.
  • Creating budgets and forecasts (revenue, expenses, profit, cash position).
  • Carrying out investment analyses based on break-even point, payback period and the net present value.
  • Carrying out ratio-analyses.


Assignment module

The game contains an additional assignment module that objectively assesses learning goals. The assignments are based on game-data; players’ earlier decisions affect the optimal solution. To minimize grading loads for teachers, the game evaluates whether students carried out the assignment correctly.


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