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Power Grid» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Placing the first house - the unbalance in the map areas rss

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Davi Rosa
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I'm new to power Grid, having played it twice so far (all 3 player games). My group enjoys multiplayer-solitaire kind of games, so, intuitively, when we played this game, we set our starting houses as far away from each other as possible. Needless to say, the people in the cheaper areas fared better than the others. The result was the players feeling the board was unbalanced and that whoever takes the cheap spot will win. Now, I know this game has many subtleties and that there is a learning curve and all, but my question is: how is it more frequent for experienced player when placing their first houses? Do you all get together in the cheap area so that no ones benefits from it? Do you keep close enough so that you threaten areas close in hopes that you will foil each others plans? Or do you do something else (which I can't think of)?
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It's less of an issue than you might expect and the first player can often find him- or herself surrounded.
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Billy McBoatface
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You can't just place your initial substations (houses) far from others. This game is not multiplayer solitaire. Once all the cheap areas are taken, the next player typically jumps in one of the already-taken cheap areas, forcing the first player there to share it with them. If a cheap area is big enough you may get several players all forced to share it. You would only take an expensive area if all the cheap areas are really packed, and even then it's usually best to take a border city, where you might get one or two cities in the cheap area but you also have access to an expensive area where you won't have any competition.
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Tucker Taylor
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I do hope your group enjoys Power Grid, but it's very much not a multiplayer-solitaire kind of game. The map's deliberately unbalanced (especially the US map) and if you all play in yout own sections then the person in the cheap area will have a significant advantage.

That being said, yeah, usually two or three people will place in the cheaper region, near(ish) each other. It's not so much about blocking other people, necessarily, as positioning so you can't be easily blocked, and still have access to cheaper connections.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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wmshub wrote:
This game is not multiplayer solitaire. Once all the cheap areas are taken,

Once all the cheap places are taken!? Shoot, in last night's 4-player game, I was the first to place a house, and the second player put his house right goddamn next to mine, and for the next 30 minutes I complained about how he'd hosed both of us. (That's usually how our games start.)

He would've won, too, if another player hadn't bought an extra coal just to keep him from being able to run all his plants in the last turn, which I felt was justice, as he had encouraged the other two players to keep me from running all my plants a few turns earlier.
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Robert Ell
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gorondil wrote:
Do you all get together in the cheap area so that no ones benefits from it? Do you keep close enough so that you threaten areas close in hopes that you will foil each others plans? Or do you do something else (which I can't think of)?


This is all part of the ebb and flow of power grid strategy, and what makes it so great. If you notice 4 players bunching up around the cheap areas, go build in California. I've seen people win in the worst areas of the board because everyone else was busy fighting over the areas with cheap or free connections.

You can *not* play this game multiplayer solitaire, it's a very confrontational game. As you noticed, if you do that, the player in the best spot will easily win.
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Jorge
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gorondil wrote:
The result was the players feeling the board was unbalanced and that whoever takes the cheap spot will win.

- Bid up the early factories.
- Build next to these players to corner them in.

Remember, it's an auction game. Feeling a power plant is worth more? Bid it up. Not every element in an auction game is supposed to be "balanced", be it a power plant, some resources, a map position... balance is created by the players through bidding. A stronger option costs more, a weaker option costs less.
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Davi Rosa
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Thanks for the quick replies!
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Stephen Roney
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My personal preference is to position myself to take the cheap areas in Step 2 or Step 3. Let the other people grab the cheap cities early, causing them to be ahead in the number of cities, then try to have enough money when Step 2 comes along to grab enough to make it harder for someone else to horn in.
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Dan Huffman
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gorondil wrote:
I'm new to power Grid, having played it twice so far (all 3 player games). My group enjoys multiplayer-solitaire kind of games, so, intuitively, when we played this game, we set our starting houses as far away from each other as possible. Needless to say, the people in the cheaper areas fared better than the others. The result was the players feeling the board was unbalanced and that whoever takes the cheap spot will win. Now, I know this game has many subtleties and that there is a learning curve and all, but my question is: how is it more frequent for experienced player when placing their first houses? Do you all get together in the cheap area so that no ones benefits from it? Do you keep close enough so that you threaten areas close in hopes that you will foil each others plans? Or do you do something else (which I can't think of)?


My strategy (which hasn't lost big enough for me to abandon it yet) is to buy a spot just outside the expensive area that no one wants. -- So if it goes Red/Yellow/Green is expensive/medium/cheap .... I would buy a house just inside the Yellow area. If they both build in the Green, then I buy into the Yellow, trying to get closer to Green. This does several things: 1) It means that I can control when we get to 7 more easily ... as they are competing for 13 cities even if I don't take any of theirs. 2) My Stage 2 will be moving into the Green area, competing with them to split it up and at least one of them will be paying Red prices in Stage 2.

Hope that all makes sense. It isn't fool proof, as I spend too much money in auctions, but I'm working on that part of my strategy. I feel my city strategy is solid, though.
 
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Vaughn Van Asten
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Did you remember to only play in three regions for a three player game? I can't tell from the context of your post if you did or not. With three players you must build to 17 connections, so there is no possible way that only one person gets the cheaper areas of the map since you must eventually have a second connection in some cities to trigger the endgame.

There are seven cities in each region, so you should only be playing with a maximum of 21 cities that you can build on. You should have been building the second connection (the 15 Elektro one) in some cities around the time that Step 2 is triggered.
 
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Davi Rosa
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Yes, I meant for step 1. Later on, the player from the cheap area would have saved more money and would be better off already. I but I got the gist of the strategy, you cant ignore one another.
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Stephen Roney
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vvanasten wrote:
Did you remember to only play in three regions for a three player game? I can't tell from the context of your post if you did or not. With three players you must build to 17 connections, so there is no possible way that only one person gets the cheaper areas of the map since you must eventually have a second connection in some cities to trigger the endgame.

There are seven cities in each region, so you should only be playing with a maximum of 21 cities that you can build on. You should have been building the second connection (the 15 Elektro one) in some cities around the time that Step 2 is triggered.

You CAN'T build in the second connection until Step two is triggered.
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Stephen Roney
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gorondil wrote:
Yes, I meant for step 1. Later on, the player from the cheap area would have saved more money and would be better off already. I but I got the gist of the strategy, you cant ignore one another.

But he might not have saved that much more money. If he gets ahead in the number of cities (because they are cheaper), then he will buy resources last and have to pay more for them.
 
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Russ Williams
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gorondil wrote:
My group enjoys multiplayer-solitaire kind of games

FWIW you cannot play Power Grid as multiplayer-solitaire, doing your own thing and ignoring the opponents, and expect to win against a competent opponent. The game has significant player interaction, not only on the map, but also with the auctions and resource buying.
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