September 16, 2021

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Heartbeat - box design - Photo by Karma Games

Hertzschlag – Energy and Electricity Board Game

The transition to renewable energies is now more important than ever. But how easy is it to actually change the power grid manager? Players at Hertzschlag from Jogo Friday can learn a lot about the difficulties involved in maintaining a stable power grid in a playful way.

What is the game about?

Hertzschlag – Stromnetz Under Tension – This is a board game from Stromnetz Berlin GmbH for three to five people, published by Karma Games and intended primarily for use in schools. The basic idea of ​​the game is that the frequency of the electrical network is constantly changing due to cards and event cards being played in hand and deviates from the desired value of 50 Hz.

The task of the players is to repeat the frequency again and again in the range around 50 Hz and thus avoid blackouts. At the beginning of each round, an event card is first revealed that shifts the frequency up or down. Then players have the opportunity to correct the frequency in the direction of 50 Hz by playing cards by hand.

It should be noted that this is not a cooperative game. At the beginning of the game, each player receives a card with secret objectives worth points at the end of the game. However, players have to coordinate with each other when playing cards, as the game is lost to all players in the event of a power failure.

In addition to the potential change in frequency, players’ hand cards show the card cost players have to pay in order to be allowed to play the card. In addition, the cards show symbols for the form of energy being played or symbols for a very environmental action, all of which score points at the end of the game. If a player cannot or does not want to play any of his hand cards, he can also sell one of his cards to collect money for the next round. However, in this case, the codes on the card completely expire.

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When choosing the cards in hand, it is important that all players choose a card at the same time. In doing so, they may agree to changes in frequency, but they do not have to stick to agreements made. If all players then play their hand moves their cards, the cards in the hand are passed to the right player at the end of the round and a check is made to determine if the frequency of the power grid in hand is the green band around 50 Hz. If not, players will still have the option of correcting too high or too low a frequency once per game by turning on a secondary control of the stream. If the crossing occurs a second time in one direction, the game is lost for all players. However, if players survive eight rounds without causing a blackout, final points are awarded and the winner is determined.

Is Hertzschlag worth it?

When playing Hertzschlag, it soon becomes clear that the topic is at the fore. The mechanics of the game are very simple and not new. There is not much tension and it soon becomes clear what the secret goals of the players are. As a result, agreements become more difficult in the course of the game. Frequently lagging players lose interest in keeping the frequency green and are more likely to play their best playing cards at the moment. Then the blackout would not be so bad or desirable to the previous players, that at least everyone loses. It could be argued that it is this selfishness that defines the occurrence of a true power grid, but it does not make the game seem perfectly round and coherent. For people who are just expecting a good salon game and don’t have much to do with the topic, Hertzschlag is definitely not a recommendation.

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Another requirement in the foreground

However, at this point, it must be said that this is by no means the claim of the game! Hertzschlag is supposed to bring the dynamics of the power grid closer to the players and does so in an intelligent way through the texts on the cards in hand. Texts such as, “You pair the PV system with a local storage system” do not have any direct in-game functions, but rather explain to players the consequences of such actions on the power grid (power grid frequency). Besides the additional tasks accompanying the lesson, the game seems to provide a very good opportunity for use in the classroom to introduce students to the topic of renewable energies and to be able to assess the effects of certain changes in the power grid. The very simple game mechanics also show its advantages, students can learn the game quickly and thus the topic can be on top.