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A game you play with your heart


When it comes to collectible card video games, we’re used to familiar controls: mouse and keyboard or a touchscreen for dragging and dropping cards onto the virtual board.

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Champions of the Shengha’s magic transmitter, which players clip to their ear.

What we’re not used to is playing with our heart.

Champions of the Shengha is a new game you play through a heart-rate monitor. Like Hearthstone, you build a deck of cards and then deploy them in multiplayer duels. But unlike Hearthstone, to cast spells you have to control your emotions.

The app is a free download, but you need to buy the 40 wearable sensor, which the developers call a “magic transmitter”, separately. This bluetooth ear-clip sensor tracks the player’s Heart Rate Variability (HRV) – a psychophysiological marker of stress and anxiety.

BfB Labs design director Simon Fox tells Eurogamer the transmitter measures your blood as it moves through your body by shining a light onto your skin. It takes a measurement on the skin the light is being shone onto and a measurement on the skin where the light emerges from to determine your heart rate over time.