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Funkenschlag

first edition


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Product Awards:  
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2002

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 120 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Friedemann Friese

Manufacturer(s): 2F Spiele

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Product Description

A different take on a railway game, where you try to connect tracks. Here you try to connect POWER! Players string together power lines by using oil, coal, or uranium. 2F's games always use some interesting new mechanisms and this game is no exception.

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2002

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Friedemann Friese

  • Manufacturer(s): 2F Spiele

  • Artist(s): PeKa, Maren Rache

  • Year: 2001

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Time: 120 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 641 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components contain foreign text that does not impact play. An English translation of the rules is provided.

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.8 in 4 reviews

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great depth, little luck, weak components
April 10, 2002

I have played 6 games so far, and this remains one of my favorite games. The components are really pretty poor (the map and score track are too large to fit in the box and get bent, and the yellow crayon can't be seen on the map), but I like it well enough I have redone my own boards that fit in the box. The only places luck enter into the game are the initial draw which only affects the initial power plant auction, and the order power plants appear -- the first doesn't really make an impact and the second provides enough variability that blindly sticking to a strategy will fail. The resource market works well, and being in the lead is punished enough by buying resources at higher rates (or potentially not being available) and building last that you have to decide at which point it is valuable to be in the lead (which typically means you are getting more income). Highly recommended.

 
 
 
 
 
An excellent business game
February 19, 2002

This is an excellent, slightly meatier, economic game. Players are competing to build power lines to cities (sort of a la Eurorails), purchase power plants to generate the power, and buy resources on the open market to fuel the plants.

The supply side of the game is quite well-done. There are 4 different kinds of fuel (coal, oil, trash, and uranium) which are available for different prices and have different rates of supply (which change as the game goes on). Plants are then sold by action, with value of a plant being affected not only by whether or not its capacity matches your current needs, but also the state of the market for the requisite fuel (and some plants can run on either coal and/or oil, or do not require fuel). This is always the stuff of good auction games, when the commodities can have complex and very different values to different players based on their current and future situations.

A lot to like here, as the game has simple rules but is hard to master. The game is not a typical Euro as it presents tough choices and similarly tough penalties for getting them wrong. Still, the game is not too long (should be about 2-3 hours, although number of players and playing style can make a big difference - 4 players is probably ideal, as more seems to lengthen the game quite a bit). One of the best games from Essen '01, a very unique and interesting design and so far Herr Friese's best, in my opinion.

 
 
 
 
 
Very good game of electric power generation.
December 01, 2001

Funkenschlag is a resource management game of building power plants and transmission lines.

The game is played in several phases:

  • Auctioning off power plants: Each plant is represented on a card and has a minimum price (from $1 - $60), uses a particular type of fuel (coal, oil, garbage, nuclear) or no fuel (wind or fusion), and has varying efficiencies--how much fuel you need to power a certain number of cities. As the game continues, newer, more efficient plants will be cycled into the auction.
  • Building power lines: This phase is reminiscent of Mayfair series of games of drawing lines on the map with erasable crayons. The longer or more difficult the route, the more you pay. One difference is that a limited number of players can occupy a city at any time--making the competition for building lines fierce.
  • Buying fuel: Fuel is purchased from a market. If a lot of a type of fuel is bought or held, the price will go up.
  • Revenue: The players are paid according to how many cities they connect to and power plants they decide to run.

The goal is to have the most cities connected to and supplied with power.

What makes this game work is all of the decisions are finely balanced--you have to be careful on how to divide your limited cash resources. You need early revenue that a cheap power plant can provide, good lines built to nearby cities and still have enough to buy the fuel you need. Rarely can you get all three.

As the game progresses, you have to worry about upgrading plants and finishing lines to more distant cities and getting fuel supplies. Do you risk pouring money into an expensive new plant or getting the cheapest route to a different part of the map or buying up fuel while it is relatively cheap? You really can't sit on your laurels in this game.

The game is a bit on the long side (the 6 player game I played took about 3 hours--but I expect that to drop with fewer players and more experience), but the game was fun all of the way through.

 
 
 
 
 
by Doug K
Great game, but beware the 'short' version windmills
January 21, 2002

We had a good time playing this game; so good we played it twice in one day. The mechanisms for supply and demand and the effect on prices is simple and clever, and the power plant/resource mechanism is pretty well balanced.

One caveat: the components are dreadful. You'll almost certainly want to make photocopies of the map to draw on rather than use the one provided and expect to be able to erase the crayons.

Another caveat: Both times we played the 'short' version which took only about an hour. Both times the player who acquired a large windmill (takes no resources) ran away with the game. There are a variety of reasons for this, but suffice it to say that the short game could be quite fun if you remove the windmills. Otherwise you'll just have to play the long game, which I imagine would be quite satisfying since the windmills don't supply enough power to connect a large grid.

A cautious recommendation for those who are not big business-game fans, but a hearty one for fans of 1830 and its ilk. We had fun!

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