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Subject: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missing? rss

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Dan Mixer
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Ok...finally got a group together to play Powergrid. Everyone is having a great time.. several people got blocked off early, played smarter, etc. etc. etc.

About the.. (actualy, I cant remember the turn #, but it was about 6 from the end), we realized there was no reason to play to the end. Only 2 players had managed to build each turn, so it was a simple matter of just extrapolating which power plants would go dead in Step 3, and figure out who the winner was.

All had a good time, so we played again the next week. Again, the game was fun, exciting.. till the end. We just sat back and counted off the last 6 or so turns and had a winner. Once all the power plants have been purchased, there really is no reason to play the game out. The only reason we can see to actualy finish a game is if there are players who will end with the same amount of powered houses, and then the game would degenerate into those players fighting to get the most cash while the rest of the players just twiddle their thumbs.

What are we missing? This game is rated so highly, and yet noone wants to play it anymore at our group do to the fact the game ends 2/3s of the way through. We have played 4 times now, and each game ended exactly the same way. Once the powerplants are sold, just some simple math to figure out how the game will end...

So... what's going on? Has anyone else found this to be true? Any house rules?
 
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Mike Bazynski
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
it is possible you'll find it easier to get people to answer if you ask at the power grid forum, not general one...
 
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
I don't think it's as simple as you're suggesting. The market of the resources is unpredictable to some degree, since you're at the mercy of those ahead of you buying up the resources you need to power your plants, which affects how much money you make. The money goes toward how far you can build, so it might affect what you do in later turns.

Plus, there's no limit to how much you can build on one turn. While those two players have built on every turn, that doesn't mean that another player can't jump back into it, building many connections to come within fighting distance of those two players. Besides, you can also build aggressively, shutting other players out of areas where they would be paying less for connections, forcing them to spend more money for alternative connections.

There's an element of chaos to the game, based on what players decide to do on their turns. I don't think extrapolating the endgame is a feasible prediction as to who's going to win.
 
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I can't figure out exactly what you're doing wrong, but it sounds like you have some rules wrong.

I've almost never see a game where all of the power plants are purchased before the games ends. Once in a while the game will end in Step 2.

Your comment about only 2 players building every turn seemed odd. It's not uncommon for people to make their purchases in bulks. Connect to 3 cities. Hold for a turn and drop back in turn order. Connect to 3 more cities. Hold for a turn again. etc....

I suggest you find a detailed session report and go through it very carefully to make sure you are not misinterpretting rules.
 
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Mike Bazynski
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
on the other hand it is also possible i am not understanding something about forums here as i see that question duplicated in PowerGrid >> General and Gaming Related >> General Gaming, with my reply visible in both places also...

[edit: it must have been moved while i was jumping between the 2 places... you live and learn... serves me right :-)]

as to the question: I am not that great Power Grid player having played about 10 games, but I'd say you must be doing something wrong. I usually buy 5 power plants during the entire game, i've even won twice buying just 4. I can't see how is it possible to buy all powerplants. As to waiting for last 6 turns - our games end not much later then 6 turns into the game... Basicaly it's waiting for someone to build 7th city, and very often 2 turns later the game ends. (Again, I haven't played that many games, so that might sound funny to veretans).

my guesses: you might believe a player can build only one city per turn, and you might believe you _have_to_ buy power plants each turn. then i guess it'd be possible to see stuff happening as you describe.
 
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Also you don't seem to be taking into account the fuel market. It is possible to create shortages that will leave the leading players unable to fire their plants on the final turns.
 
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Brian Newman
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Not only can you cause a physical shortage of resources, but you can also drive the price up enough so that the player may have enough money to build the winning city but not enough by one or two Electrobucks short to power it. In my group, that's often the winning and losing factor.
 
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Paulo Soledade
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The thing (great thing) about power grid is that it can be diferent every game. You and your friends must be doing something wrong. Or else I can't understand why is that occuring to you.
Every small step in power grid can (and will) influence the end of the game. And the winner is not pre determined as you say. The end of the game actually can have an impredictable twist.
 
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
Oh, and there's also the issue of how strategies change between phases in the game. There's a very direct way of slowing down your opponents in Phase 1, when you can only have one person in a city at a time. Once the game opens up to allow more people in on Phases 2 and 3, the strategies for blocking (and expanding your own power grid) change dramatically.

I hate to say it, but I think I'm in the same camp as everyone else: You must be playing something incorrectly.
 
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John Stimson
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While I can't say why your experience is different. I have played at least 30 games and I have never seen a game where the winner could be predicted until they had won. I have never played a game where every powerplant is purchased. If your group is wasting time and money by buying every single power plant something is wrong.

Several things come to mind: Are you removing the correct number of power plants randomly based upon the size of you group? Are you placing the phase 3 card under the deck? Are you placing the highest number powerplant under the deck during the bureaucracy stage (and the lowest and highest when stage 2 comes)? Are you tossing out unpurchased power plants when the are obsoleted? Do you know the game ends when someone builds X number of cities (not when they power x number of cities)? Are you replentishing goods at the correct rate as it sounds like in your games there should be extreme resource shortages? Are you doing things in the correct player order, ie the first place place buys resources and builds last etc...?

I can't put my finger on what's going on for you, but your experiences are totally different that any game I have ever played.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
The funny thing is that I've never felt the resource market to be a decisive factor at the end of my games. People have so much income that the difference between 15 or 30 for fuel is never an issue. And speaking for myself: it doesn't matter what I do, I always lose at this game anyway. Then again, I'm usually the only one who tries to drive up the price of the plants, often to to detriment of my own game. I really ought to instate a house rule that if someone is after a plant, everyone should collectively drive up the price---otherwise the game breaks down.
 
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John Stimson
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One other thing you mention people blocking eacho ther off, not sure what this means as there is no way to block someone in power grid. Only make it more expensive.
 
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
Well, I don't see how you could tell so far in advance who would win!

I mean, OK, so if you are one house ahead of me, and you have better power plants, and you have more cash, and you are less blocked in than me in expanding to new cities, then sure, there's just no way I can catch up.

But any other way, I will have some sort of advantage, and be able to build more houses than you one turn, and catch up or pass, right? It may be unlikely, but unless you are better off in every way, it is possible...so how did you know so far in advance who would win?
 
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
I think I have it!!!

To the original poster: Are you only letting people buy at most one house per turn? Then you could see that somebody will, for sure, be able to build one more house each turn, and if they are ahead in houses, nobody will catch, and they will win!

So my guess is that you are doing this. Stop it!!! Let people buy as many houses as they can afford each turn!!! That should make the game a lot more interesting.
 
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Dan Mixer
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
Thank you all for the replies... I am INDEED playing wrong. We were under the impression that you could only build one house a turn!!!!! Doh!!!

Well, that explains alot!
 
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
Dan,

One thing many people overlook: You aren't necessarily blocked in by people. You can build in a new city by paying the total connection costs along a line until you reach a city that is open to build in. In this way you can leapfrog over occupied cities, paying connection costs along the way, until you can build somewhere. I have done this in tighter games (like the nasty Italy map) which can get crowded quickly.
 
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Paul Pressley
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This is exactly what happened to my group two years ago for our first couple games of Power Grid. We thought we could only build one house per turn. Sure enough, I declared the game broken at the end of the second game because I chose not to build in the second turn to set myself up in player order, and it was impossible to catch up once I missed that one building opportunity.

Ha, ha, ha! Glad we're not the only ones!
 
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Re: Power Grid.. why play the last 6 turns? What am I missi
cymric wrote:
The funny thing is that I've never felt the resource market to be a decisive factor at the end of my games. People have so much income that the difference between 15 or 30 for fuel is never an issue.


Cost probably isn't in the end game, but supply definately is. And was in my game just this weekend.

We had just finished purchasing plants for the turn, and was about to declare the winner as he had 13 citys, could build 2 easily as Step 3 had come out during power plant purchase. While he had 15 capacity, the next highest was a 3-way tie for 12.

But because someone who would buy resources before him contended for the same resources, she just raped the market, and he was only able to purchase enough resources to power 9. The three of us at 12 were at a stale mate situation where if any of us purchased enough cities to break 15 that person wouldn't have enough cash to still be winner.

The next turn while others upgraded thier capacity to 15, I as was able to upgrade mine to 17, but it was soley dependant on who could buy resources before me and how much. Thankfully the only person before me was the person who had cleared out the market and due to her new power plants could only purchase 1 resource unit, therefore allowing me to buy the power plant I did, and therefore win the game.

This is also a good example why you always play it out. When the Step 3 card came out most of us were ready to call it. The "rapist" and the "victor" were the only two protesting the called game.
 
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