Designed To Fail is the story of a Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) named Abacus 2007-AC1. The assets included in Abacus were selected in part by hedge fund manager John Paulson, who did not invest in the CDO, but instead built a large short position against it. Goldman Sachs aggressively sold the CDO to its customers, and to-date, former Goldman Sachs Vice President Fabrice Tourre is the only Wall Street executive that has been held accountable to any extent when he was found liable on six counts of civil securities fraud for his role in the Abacus deal. John Paulson made roughly $1 billion from his bet against the CDO, while investors in the security lost the same amount.
In the game, you learn how standard CDOs were constructed and then help John Paulson and Fabrice Tourre select the assets for Abacus, making sure that it will collapse so that Paulson's short position will pay off.