CDS Mess | 2015

CDS Mess is a card game that uses procedural rhetoric to teach players how Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO) and Credit Default Swaps (CDS) were used by Wall Street in the subprime mortgage crisis. CDS Mess allows players to take on the role of an investment bank, packaging debt into CDOs and selling it to unsuspecting investors, protecting against losses or betting against the health of another bank using CDSs. The game play encourages players to maximize profits and expand their investment bank to become Too Big To Fail so that when the credit market inevitably dries up, they can get bailed out by the government.

CDS Mess is one in a series of both analog and digital games, from the collective Bankster Games, designed to inform players about complex aspects of financialization that are not widely understood.