The Heuristic Games team have designed and run training games for over 20 years, engaging business, government and academic audiences in unique learning experiences.

Our Games

Transport Planner

25 Years of Transport Planning in one day.

Power Trader

How will your company keep the lights on?


Engage key stakeholders in your research.

#1 Impact!

The Game

This one-day workshop is designed to give you experience of identifying, prioritising and managing relationships with those needing your research outputs. The main activity in the workshop is a business game designed with input from the EPSRC and other academic colleagues to ensure realism. It will give you experience of making effective decisions around stakeholder engagement, delivering effective communication of your work and, of course, designing and delivering high quality research projects…whilst having fun!

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#1 On The Day

On the day you will work in a small team with colleagues who have different levels of research experience. The simulated research environment will take you through 3 years of an energy-related research career, starting from the point at which
you are awarded your PhD. You will be given

resources (funding) which you will have to spend wisely to build influence and academic excellence with the aim of maximising your research impact through engagement with other academics, industry and government. Various elements of chance will influence how your careers progress, based on what you do with the opportunities these ‘chances’ create for you.

#2 Learning Outcomes

If delivering impact from your research is new to you, this workshop will help you to gain a basic understanding of the concepts and help you to make your research more effective. If you are a more experienced practitioner, this workshop will allow you to test impact delivery concepts in a safe environment. Whatever your level of experience this workshop is designed to provide you with greater confidence in your current practices and new ways of thinking about planning for

impact. The rich learning experience will allow you to explore the following aspects of delivering impact from your research:

  • The importance of taking an ‘impact-based’ approach to project development
  • Creating effective research ‘outcomes’ not just project ‘outputs’
  • Working out who to engage with to achieve outcomes
  • Defining benefits for stakeholders that meet their needs
  • Developing key relationships to deliver the greatest impact
  • Clarifying objectives and prioritising actions

#3 Agenda

This agenda is only illustrative and can be adapted to suit the needs of the client

09:30 Intro (0.75 hour)
10:15 Year 1 (1.5 hours) 11:45 Review Year 1 (0.5 hour)12:15 LUNCH
13:00 Year 2 (1.25 hours)
14:15 Review Year 2 (0.5 hour)
14:45 Year 3 (1.25 hours)
16:00 Impact for your own work (0.5 hour)
16:30 FINISH

#2 Power Trader

The Game

This workshop is designed to give you experience of the commercial aspects of generating, trading and supplying electricity. The main activity in the workshop is a business game, designed by a team who, between them, have more than fifty years’ experience of working within the energy sector. It will give you experience of strategic decision making, the business risks that commercial organisations face, and the day-to-day challenges of operating an energy company …whilst having fun!

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#1 On The Day

On the day you will work in a small team to run an energy company participating in a simulated version of an electricity market. You will be responsible for sourcing and delivering power to your customers by operating electricity generating plant and trading with other teams. The imperative of keeping the customers’ lights on whilst making a profit for your shareholders will become clear as you also strive to minimise your emissions.

The simulated environment will take you through a typical year of operating the company, experiencing the effect of weather on generation and customer demand. You will be able to choose whether to generate with clean wind, baseload nuclear, flexible gas or just buy from the market place. You will have an opportunity to expand your company through acquisition of further generation or retail businesses or even by investing in community energy schemes.

#2 Learning Outcomes

If energy trading is new to you, this workshop will help you to gain a basic understanding of how it works. You will discover the advantages and disadvantages of differing sources of power and appreciate the need to trade energy on wholesale markets. If you already have some knowledge of the system, this workshop will allow you to explore the challenges facing those who run the system on a daily basis, and appreciate the constraints on policy makers and strategists designing future energy systems. This will help you in your day to day work as you better understand how it fits within the generation, trading and supply value chain.

#3 Agenda


(1 Hour)

Introduction: Host Organisation
Talk: Challenges of the energy system
Explanation: Game rules
Game: Setup and initial investments

Game Play

(2.5 Hours)

Game: Spring Day
Game: Summer Day
Game: New Investments
Game: Autumn Day
Game: Winter Day

Wrap Up

(1/2 Hour)

Results: Winning teams
Feedback: On the game from facilitators
Discussion: Lessons learnt

Dr Mark A. E. Jepson BEng(Hons), PhD, FRMS, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy and Microscopy

I cannot recommend this course highly enough!
At Loughborough University, we have used Heuristc’s Energy Trader game for two consecutive years for a postgraduate module for MSc Materials students and EngD students with research interests in power generation technologies. Mike and Andy are excellent presenters who run the session as a highly interactive, energetic and lively game interspersed with explanatory presentations covering a range of industrial and academic perspectives on the use of energy.

Within the game, participants experience the changeable seasons and their effects on renewable power generation, the ever-changing political landscape and options to enhance their own energy portfolio. In our most recent session, Mike and Andy hosted industrial consultations for how to manage renewable incentives and firm power options which resulted in some heated, yet productive discussions within the group! This all contributes to an evolving energy landscape within the room and simulates the real challenges faced within this highly complicated industrial sector.
Overall, this is a fantastic session for any group wishing to explore the intricacies of the energy sector or would like to experience high-pressure business decision making or quickly build teams. I would highly recommend the session.
Thank you Heuristic!

#3 Transport Planner

The Game

Come and spend a day walking in the shoes of a transport planner – exploring the issues they face as they play their role in supporting the development of a local economy whilst also addressing the challenges of air quality and climate change.

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#1 On The Day

Working in a team with your own physical model of a small city, you will be responsible for delivering transport services on a 5-year planning cycle.  You will be planning an integrated network and so control all modes of transport.  Your aim will be to get the population of your city from home to work / school during the morning peak hour each working day.  Residents will be happy if they get to their destination on time, they travel by a mode of transport that they like, and they don’t have to interchange.  Success is defined as maximising the number of happy commuters and this will affect how your city grows.

It doesn’t stop there… as the day progresses you will have the opportunity to upgrade your transport network, implement policy interventions that influence people’s travel choices, and make changes that improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Your decisions will affect your residents’ happiness and impact upon the economic success of your city.

#2 Learning Outcomes

You won’t be doing this on your own – the Team from Heuristic will be there to help you explore the issues and make your decisions.  Between us we have considerable experience of transport planning, low carbon innovation, policy making, system modelling and running business game workshops.

You will also learn from one another.  Each team will have a different city – geography and history will affect your starting point, so you will all be making different decisions around how to develop your system and meet the challenges facing today’s transport planners.

#3 Agenda

This agenda is only illustrative and can be adapted to suit the needs of the client

10:00   Introduction
10:20   Round 1 – the first 5 years
10:55   Round 2 – one decade in – your city is growing
11:35   Transport Challenges
11:50   Round 3 – interventions to address the challenges
12:30   LUNCH
13:20   Pulling the Policy Levers
13:35   Round 4 – managing change
14:10   Air Quality
14:25   Round 5 – cleaning the air
14:40   Greenhouse Gases
14:55   Round 6 – tackling climate change
15:30   What have we learnt?
16:00   FINISH

Feedback Comments:

It was really useful to learn about how transportation planning differs for cities with different geography.

I have learnt about all of the aspects of transport planning.

The upgrades between levels – policies, emissions, CO2 levels etc are all realistic!! And they helped me to understand real life problems.

Using four different models to simulate different types of cities was really helpful in understanding the different situations.



Ideal for training new staff. New and experienced staff can play a business game together, tailored to your market and your organisations interactions to learn how the organisation ticks in a hands-on memorable way.
Safe environment for learning about new situations. Your organisation may be faced with fresh challenges as its environment changes. A business game is a safe place to make mistakes whilst before they have to be faced for real.
Proving ground for strategy. A game is an ideal tool for strategists and decision makers to test new strategies or put themselves in their competitors’ shoes, learning to think how they think and understanding their options.
Developing softer skills. These events are ideal for developing negotiating skills, decision making and conflict resolution. They can be coupled with input from a professional behaviour analyst to help participants learn from their experience.
Team building event with a purpose. This is an event that can be used for team building, but unlike raft building or paint balling, it will be highly educational for staff as they learn about the market they operate in.

The Heuristic Team have designed and run games in other businesses over the past 20 years. These include:

  • A game for a government department to test changes to regulation before implementation
  • A series of games to allow generation, retail and trading staff at a utility appreciate each other’s roles
  • A launch event for 150 staff at an energy trading organisation
  • An event for an equipment manufacturer to gain understanding by playing in the market of its clients
  • A 3 day event for board members and senior management prior to the liberalisation of an energy market
  • A game for early career researchers to understand how to plan their research for maximum impact.
  • An event for university research staff to understand the electricity market.
  • Games within schools to help students appreciate the way electricity is produced and distributed.
  • A simulation of an auction for certain contracts to understand how competitors might behave.



Andy Boston

Game Facilitator

Andy Boston provides energy consulting services through Red Vector Ltd. Andy has more than 30 years experience in the energy industry starting with the nationalised CEGB, through privatisation firstly with PowerGen and thence E.ON, and finally with the Energy Research Partnership.

Over the past 20 years Andy has designed and run games for events of up to 150 people attended by students, lecturers, new staff, middle managers, strategists, traders, senior staff and board members. As well as organising business games his skills include modelling energy markets, developing decarbonisation scenarios and understanding issues around the integration of renewables on to the grid.


Mike Colechin

Game Facilitator

Dr Mike Colechin is director of Cultivate Innovation Ltd …working with the organisations and individuals who are delivering innovative, low carbon energy solutions.

Prior to setting up Cultivate, Mike was the Energy Technologies Institute’s Partnership Manager, supporting organisations delivering low carbon energy innovation, informing government policy, and building investor and industry confidence in these new approaches.

Mike is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the transport and energy sectors, with time spent both as a Combustion Engineer and as a member of E.ON’s R&D Management Team.