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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.


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.