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IN THIS REVIEW WE’LL PRESENT ELETRIKA, A BRAZILIAN GAME ANNOUNCED IN SPIEL.DIGITAL
In Brazil a great amount of energy is produced by hydroelectric. Great dams are responsible to provide energy to industries, markets and houses across the country. This electricity is distributed by great networks of transmission. A big business that moves billions every year.
Eletrika invites you and your friends to take on a role of an energy entrepreneur. During the game you need to increase the size of the map and construct lines to supply energy for cities. With each new line you can complete contracts and receive victory points.
In the end of the game only the best player will become an energy magnate!
Eletrika is an eurogame to 2 to 4 players. The core mechanics are contracts, network building, tile and worker placement. Developed by Goori DesignStudio in partnership with MeepleBR, Eletrika invites players to complete tasks and create lines energized by the power of the hydroelectricity. When a player complete a task, he/she receives victory points.
In general the game is very simple, with a typical match during 30 to 40 minutes, an amazing option to introduce board games to new players. Because of that, Eletrika is considered a gateway game.
In the beginning of the game each player chooses one color and takes all the meeples and markers of this color. After that, the spring river tile is placed in the center of the table and the remaining tiles are shuffled and face down piled up.
Last but not least, one player after the other needs to place one tile next to the spring river tile. In the setup, and during the game, tile placement respects simple rules:
- the new tile needs to connect in at least one other.
- the sides connected need to have a perfect match (example: you can’t place the river side of the tile next to one without a river).
Expanding the map
The players have two possible actions during their turns: reveal and place a new tile or build constructions.
We’ve explained the main aspects of tile placement in the last part of this overview, but during the game when a player places a new tile, he/she need to observe the colors in the sides of it: this colors interact with buildings and generate lots of points if you use it in the correct way.
Another important aspect is the use of markers. When a player reveals a tile he/she can put one of his markers to reserve the revealed tile. This maneuver is important because if another player constructs in your reserved tile, you receive points and recover your marker.
Build constructions is the most important part of Eletrika. There are 5 different types of constructions – hydroelectric, electrical substation, transmission tower, utility pole and city -, and to do contracts you’ll need to integrate your constructions in a functional network (a complete line with at least one of each of constructions). To build a construction you’ll place workers in a tile and chose an available construction. In general rules, an available construction needs to respect some aspects:
- hydroelectric must be placed in a tile with water (except in the spring river tile).
- constructions must be placed in the right order (example: you can’t construct a city next to a transmission tower).
- three constructions can’t be neighbor at same time.
In a functional network you can do some points if you complete a contract. For example: if you have 2 constructions of the same type, like 2 utility poles, you score 2 points. More complex combinations give a higher score. After score, you return your workers to build new constructions.
The game continues until the last tile is revealed. In the end of the game the player with more points is the winner and receives the title of Energy Magnate.
During the playtests Eletrika changed a lot! The concept of the game never changed, but the rules of tile and worker placement, the nature of the contracts and the end game condition were suffered great modifications in the develop process.
In the beginning, the game was semi-cooperative and the players could lose if they can’t energize a certain amount of cities. We modified the rules and choose to create a full competitive game, without cooperative aspects and because of that we need to recreate many aspects of the game.
The tile placement received a special attention: in the actual version we have more tiles, interactions between tiles and constructions and the possibility of reserve the revealed tile creates a very strategic possibility, ideal for experienced players.
The end game condition worried us for a long time. Our challenge was create a experience long enough to show all the possibilities to players, but at the same time short enough to sustain the focus and the attention. The actual end game condition is simple, elegant and practical.
Last but not least, the develop team recreated and balanced all the contracts. In the first version, the contracts were secret and the players had to worry about which contracts the opponents had in their hands. Now the contracts are open, and the players can calculate the actions of the other participants and plan their actions.
After the Spiel.digital our develop team will use the public feedback to improve the mechanic core of the game. Probably we’ll finish this process in a couple of months and start the writing of the rule book at the same time.
After that, the artwork is our next challenge. Today Eletrika has a good pattern of art, but the project needs a more clear iconography and a mighty cover to electrify the audience.
In a good scenario, we can released Eletrika in 2021.