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Learn to save energy with the board game “Do you know the price?

10. November 2022 Published by Raphael Doerr

Board games are experiencing a boom. Particularly in times of crisis, they are a welcome distraction and escape from everyday life, as was evident at the international “Spiel ’22” trade fair.  War in Europe, climate crisis, exploding energy and food prices, the pandemic, social debates about cohesion and diversity. There are enough pressing issues facing many of us, and since games are a cultural heritage, they – like any medium – address real challenges and conflicts, says Jens Junge, Director of the Institute for Ludology (the study of games) at the SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences. Energy issues, for example, often play a part in the world of games. While they used to be about tapping new oil wells, as in Dallas, the game about the Ewing family, today everything revolves around wind and solar energy. In “Kyoto”, players sit opposite each other as representatives at the Climate Change Conference. And in the board game “Keep Cool”, which is sponsored by the German Foreign Office, players have to choose between renewable energies and fossil sources. Then there is “Powerline“, the objective of which is to supply cities with green electricity.

Also brand new is the energy board game “Kennst Du den Preis?” (“Do you know the price?”), which promises knowledge, fun and excitement. As in real life, you are rewarded with cash if you keep your energy, gas and electricity price costs under control and know where the biggest possible lever is to save money sustainably. But how do you do that , where can you start, and what’s the benefit in the end? “Do you know the price?” shows you how to do things properly in a playful way. “We want to support consumers very consciously in saving energy and motivate them further to do so,” say the game’s developers. A rudimentary knowledge of gas and electricity is definitely helpful in the new board game, but isn’t a must, because there are also plenty of questions where you have to guess the answer. But if you’ve no idea about energy saving tips or you don’t know what the gas price brake and gas price cap actually mean, you’ll have a hard time scoring points and collecting the energy saving bonus. Because whoever has the most points, gets a refund of one euro per correct point from the Ministry of Finance or alternatively a food hamper. “No one gets anything for free in this game. You have to seize the initiative yourself, otherwise you won’t save energy and the blackout will descend on you,” says the game’s maker. “Blackout” is also the title of the follow-up game, which is eagerly awaited by the gaming community in mid-2023.

The Gigaset games team has already played the new energy game and has summarized its main impressions in this article.

The gas price cap game

Monopoly was yesterday, the new parlor game is called: “Do you know the price?”. It’s a brand new energy saving tip game where you can also win money. Anyone who knows how to save gas or electricity and has an understanding of the gas price brake and gas price cap can join in. The game’s simple: There’s a board with as many fields as the square root of the number of members in the current German parliament, in other words, 27 (after rounding up), and two dice. Two to six people can play. In addition, there are an app and lots of knowledge, event, guessing and “belief” cards. Knowledge cards are red for gas and electricity, green for renewable energy, and yellow for nuclear energy. There’s an event field and a surprise field, and a booklet in which you can write down savings tips along with the correct costs you save. That sounds more complicated than it is, so here’s an example of how it works.

Whoever rolls a 6 gets to start and then always moves as many spaces forward on the board as the number they roll with the dice. If you land on the Olaf Scholz Surprise Field, you have to write down his savings price tip. However, if you land on the Christian Lindner Surprise Field, you have to erase the tip you wrote down. If you don’t know a savings tip, you have to pay a penalty of €10, which is deducted at the end of the game.

Knowledge and belief

All the tips can be verified using an app on your smartphone. That’s done by expert AI. If the savings tip is correct and the price is right, 40 points (= €40) are awarded. If only the tip or the price is correct, 20 points are awarded. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game. These points are then exchanged for euros. You can send them to the Ministry of Finance and, as soon as the tax ID can be digitally linked to the IBAN number, the money is remitted. As in real life, the amount you can win in the game during a year is capped. The maximum amount you can win will be set next spring. The money is a further incentive in the game to motivate the players to save energy sensibly in real life, too.

The new board game is all about knowledge, guessing and belief. For example, there’s a yellow event field with tricky questions to test your knowledge and guess answers on important energy-related issues: coal, oil, liquefied gas and nuclear power. Here, for instance, the players have to know the names of the three nuclear power plants that will be allowed to continue running until April 2023. Or they have to estimate how heavy a fuel rod for a nuclear power plant is. The green community field, on the other hand, is about questions of belief on the topics of the climate and solar, wind and renewable energies. The “belief” cards include questions such as: Where do you believe Germany gets the fuel rods for its nuclear power plants? Or: Do you believe that a temperature increase of 4.8 degrees is possible by 2100?

Gas price cap and double whammy

The red surprise field “Gas Price Cap” is completely new and politically in tune with the times. If you land on it, you have to answer a question about the gas brake or the gas price cap correctly. If you can’t, you have to put on the red gas price cap in the shape of a red bucket. That looks funny and removes any tension that may occur unintentionally during the game. The red cap stays on until another player lands on the “Double Whammy” field. This field can be pretty nasty. Players need to demonstrate skill and fine feeling, because they have to put together 10 large puzzle pieces blindfolded. The puzzle shows a picture of Nord Stream 2. Only if you assemble it correctly can you take off the red gas price cap. You have 5 minutes to complete the task. The digital component in the game is also completely new: So that nobody can cheat or spread nonsensical and wrong savings tips, there’s the accompanying free app “Frag den/die Expert:in” (“Ask the Expert”). It is AI that works in a similar way to Alexa or Siri and which compares and checks the correct energy saving price with the submitted savings price tip. Players can choose the expert they think knows the answer, in other words, the correct price. The following can be selected: Habeck, Lindner, Scholz, März, Baerbock, Weigel and Eskens. Karl Lauterbach can also be chosen as a joker.

€1,520 can be saved with the right tips

The current tips for the game can be found on the web, in the media, on forums and blogs or on the SZ Energy website. It states that the figures for the individual saving tips have been calculated by the non-profit consulting company Co2online for the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). They relate to a sample apartment with 70 square meters of living space, in which two people live. The calculator adds up all 25 possible savings and also knows the amount that can be saved extrapolated over the year. If all 25 tips are followed, the total savings amount to €1,520. So it’s worth heeding them.

Here are a few tips from the article: “You shouldn’t get it into your head to do the washing up by hand,” says the Bavarian Consumer Advice Organization. If you wash the dishes under running hot water, you pay €140 more for water, gas and electricity, according to Co2online. This tip alone means you’re already a step ahead in the game. But there are more. Use the kettle to boil water instead of heating it on the stove, which also usually takes longer. “That’s always more efficient and you also have no residual heat,” the energy expert Alter is quoted as saying. According to the experts, you can save €10, at least if you have an older stove. Now to showering, where the right low-flow shower head is important: “A low-flow shower head uses six to seven liters of water per minute. That’s half that of a conventional shower head. The water is mixed with air. Two people can save up to €250 a year. Low-flow shower heads start at €25.” Or you can take shorter showers, as Economics Minister Robert Habeck is already doing. That makes a big difference: If everyone in a two-person household shortens the time they shower by one minute a day, you can save €100 a year.

Did you know?

In times like now, with coronavirus infection numbers going through the roof again in some federal states, the following tip is important. “Soap is more important than heat. The water temperature has no influence on reducing germs when you wash your hands, according to the German Federal Center for Health Education. So cold water will do as long as you use soap. Savings: €30 a year.” This isn’t exactly a hot tip anymore, but it always helps save money: Turn down the heating. If you lower the temperature in your home by an average of two degrees, you pay €185 less a year for heating. The temperature can be set precisely with electronically programmable thermostats. And as canny savers know: Vent your radiators. If the radiator gurgles, energy is lost. Because then there is air in them – and it conducts heat more poorly than water. That’s why you should regularly vent the radiators. That can save you up to €75 a year.

And finally, two classic tips everyone knows. First, switch off appliances. If you switch off all appliances in the household as soon as you stop using them, you can save up to €80 a year.  Short, intense airing also has a positive effect on your wallet. “When the room gets stuffy, people like to tilt the windows. But that hardly causes any exchange of air – and the walls cool down. Instead, you should open the windows wide: Five minutes three times a day is enough in winter. That can save you up to €195 a year.”

Don’t freeze – play instead

All tips can be found in the SZ article “So spart man Hunderte Euro bei Strom und Gas” (“How to save hundreds of euros on electricity and gas”; German only). According to experts in the scene, the brand-new energy-saving game “Kennst Du den Preis?” (“Do you know the price?”) is to be improved in some points and will be launched together with the gas price cap in the spring 2023 at the latest. However, a beta version may appear for Christmas, if a sponsor can be found. If everything works out, we could then play the new energy board game with our loved ones and friends at Christmas – so then the motto will be: “Don’t freeze – play instead” with the newcomer game 2022: “Do you know the price?”.

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