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Subject: Rule Changes for an often Faster Power Grid rss

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J G
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It is often stated that Power Grid can be a bit slow at the beginning of the game. These changes below, affect the strategy slightly, but speed up the game whilst making higher Power Plants slightly more available to all players.

With standard rules there is a very slim chance that a highly base-priced Power Plant Card will make it into the Current Actual Market. This is because it requires 5 high priced Power Plant Cards in a row. Last game I was able to outbid everyone on the 35 where 1 oil powers 5 cities. This one bit of luck caused me to win the game. However, if mid ranged and a few higher Power Plant Cards come out more regularly using the rules variation below making the game more balanced. Because midrange and high costing power plants are a little more likely to make it onto the Current Actual Market, this speeds up the game somewhat.

There are 3 changes needed that all deal with Power Plants in the market.

(FIRST CHANGE)
INSTEAD OF THIS AS THE POWER GRID RULE
The player chooses one power plant from the actual market (top row) and then makes a bid to purchase it (the player must bid at least the minimum bid (number of the power plant), but may start with a higher bid. Continuing in clockwise order, the other players can make higher bids or pass. If a player passes, he may not re-enter the current auction. Players keep bidding or passing until one player remains. He pays his highest bid to the bank and takes the power plant. Players then immediately draw a new card to replace the card sold and place the new card in the market. They rearrange the power plants in ascending order: the four lowest in the actual market, the four highest in the future market.


HAVE THIS
The player chooses one power plant from the Current Actual Market (top row) and then makes a bid to purchase it (the player must bid at least the minimum bid (number of the power plant), but may start with a higher bid. Continuing in clockwise order, the other players can make higher bids or pass. If a player passes, he may not re-enter the current auction. Players keep bidding or passing until one player remains. He pays his highest bid to the bank and takes the power plant. (FIRST CHANGE) Players move the lowest Power Plant from the Futures Market into the Current Actual Market. Players then immediately draw a new card to replace the card sold and is placed in the FUTURES market.

EFFECT ON THE GAME
This way:
1) The Futures Market actually acts like a futures market.
2) Speeds up the game in Step 1, as the occasional higher Power Plant makes it into the Current Actual Market. While previously there had to be 5 higher power plants in a row for a higher power plant to be there.
3) The player potentially auctioneering a Power Plant from the Current Actual Market, has to make a judgement decision as to whether to start an auction or not (it is not a guess). This is because they are aware of what the Futures Market holds for at least the next player and are also aware of what the next player needs.
4) It increases the likelihood of bidding on higher Power Plants as the next Power Plant is known, and if not worth so much raising the stakes for the current Power Plant on auction. This extra bidding reduces the effect of capturing a higher Power Plant and adds to the game.
5) It decreases the likelihood of bidding on lower Power Plants as the next Power Plant is known and if worth a lot removing the need for the current Power Plant being auctioned.


(SECOND CHANGE)
INSTEAD OF THIS AS THE POWER GRID RULE
If, in later rounds, no power plant is sold in a round, the players remove the lowest numbered power plant from the market, placing it back in the box, and replace it by drawing a power plant from the draw stack. They then rearrange the market according to the rules.


HAVE THIS
After the first player reaches 3 Power Plants (no matter what type), everytime PHASE 2 has been completed by all players playing, the players remove the lowest numbered power plant from the Current Actual Market (it is considered outdated), placing it back in the box. To replace the outdated power plant, players move the lowest power plant from the Futures Market into the Current Actual Market. Players then immediately draw a new Power Plant Card from the deck to replace the outdated power plant card that was removed. This new card is placed in the Futures Market.

EFFECT ON THE GAME
1) Speeds up the game in Step 1 and therefore the reaching of Step 2. (Shortening the game slightly)
2) Potentially shortens Step 2 by speeding it up also. (Shortening the game slightly)
3) May mean that only the 3 lowest Power Plant Cards are in the Current Actual Market.
4) Reduces the likelihood of removing a Power Plant Card(s) at the end of PHASE 4.


(THIRD CHANGE)
PHASE 5
INSTEAD OF THIS AS THE POWER GRID RULE
Update the power plant market: Place the highest numbered power plant from the Future Market face down under the draw stack and draw a new one to replace it. Rearrange the market appropriately (see phase 2: this will change in Step 3, see the steps of the game). Because of this, the highest numbered power plants are collected under the »Step 3« card and become available during step 3 in the game.


HAVE THIS
Update the power plant market: Place the highest numbered power plant from the Future Market face down under the draw stack and draw a new one to replace it in the Future Market. Because of this, generally the highest numbered power plants are collected under the »Step 3« card and become available during Step 3 in the game.

EFFECT ON THE GAME
This:
1) Increases very slightly the random nature of the Power Plant Cards coming through in step 3.
2) Increases the bidding on the higher cards that make it into the Current Actual Market, as the Power Plants are just a little more randomised during Step 3.

OVERALL THIS
1) Speeds up the game slightly,
2) Adds to the strategy of whether to put a plant up for auction or not.
3) Adds to the strategy that can be employed in auctioning.
4) Increases the likelihood on bidding for the more powerful plants.

These changes speed up the game a little and increase the strategy around the auctions of Power Plants with few negatives, if any.
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Paul Oakes
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These changes seem reasonable rather than radical and will probably achieve their aim of a quicker game through making desirable plants available more often without radically altering the game.

As with 50 or 20 overs cricket compared to 4 or 5 day matches, the shortening of the game removes some subtlety and the tension that builds over time, but there are compensations.

Also an excellently presented post.
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David Jensen
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Do I understand your third chang correctly?

First, phase 5 should read phase 2?

Second, don't re arrange the plants in the future market. Keep the order and just replace the plant, keeping the new plant in the position freed up by the removal the largest plant.

I may propose this with my next play. We need a way to speed up play for newer players.
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Alex Drazen
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This seems to unduly punish the player in the first position, as anything they buy will advantage the others. It takes the tension right out.

For a faster game, I just slap the Benelux plant market rules on any map. Very simple and straightforward to implement.
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J G
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PaulinTheLion wrote:
These changes seem reasonable rather than radical and will probably achieve their aim of a quicker game through making desirable plants available more often without radically altering the game.


Exactly what I am looking for.... Most people who play but are not addicted to these games, like shorter games. This seems to achieve that.

PaulinTheLion wrote:
Also an excellently presented post.

Thanks
 
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J G
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notyetsuperman wrote:
Do I understand your third chang correctly?
First, phase 5 should read phase 2?

PHASE 5 should read PHASE 5, because at the end of PHASE 5 the highest Power Plant in the Futures Market is removed. However, also with the original rules, if the new Power Plant Card drawn from the deck was lower than any in the Current Actual Market then the new Power Plant Card drawn off the deck would go straight into the Current Actual Market and skip the Futures Market. This also would send the highest card in the Current Actual Market back into the Futures Market, thereby making higher Power Plant Cards less available.

notyetsuperman wrote:
Second, don't re arrange the plants in the future market. Keep the order and just replace the plant, keeping the new plant in the position freed up by the removal the largest plant.


Exactly....

With these new rules rearranging according to the size of Power Plants is less needed, because you are consistently simply moving the smallest Power Plant present in PHASE 2 or PHASE 4 from the Futures Market into the Current Actual Market. Also in PHASE 4 you are still removing the smallest ones from the Current Actual Market (this comes from the original rules).

While PHASE 5 you are removing the largest from the Futures Market, thereby not needing anywhere near as much re-arrangement of the cards.


notyetsuperman wrote:
I may propose this with my next play. We need a way to speed up play for newer players.
Because of less re-arrangement needed this speeds up the game too.
 
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alexdrazen wrote:
This seems to unduly punish the player in the first position, as anything they buy will advantage the others. It takes the tension right out.


It might make it a little bit harder but I have not noticed it. But this potential hardness I believe is completely offset with the ability to know what the next power plant is going to be; rather than guessing. This potential hardness is also passed onto 2nd 3rd 4th players etc... as they all aware what the next plant is going to be and have an idea of what the next player may need. That's why I suggest that it increases the strategy available, whilst speeding the game up at the same time; rather than making it harder for any individual player.

However what it does do, is it makes getting higher and mid-ranged Power Plant Cards early in the game just that little bit easier (speeding up the game too).

While with the original rules if a player happened to get a higher power plant card early in the game (because 5 high Power Plant Cards need to come out in a row for that to happen) then they were almost guaranteed to go on and win the game. This does not occur with these new rules.
 
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Randall Bart
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jglazebrook wrote:
But this potential hardness I believe is completely offset with the ability to know what the next power plant is going to be; rather than guessing.

Precision guesswork is a big part of the game. You know some, you estimate some, and you give it your best guess. Knowing too much leads to analysis paralysis. The game gives more advantage to the mathematically inclined as it is.

jglazebrook wrote:
While with the original rules if a player happened to get a higher power plant card early in the game (because 5 high Power Plant Cards need to come out in a row for that to happen) then they were almost guaranteed to go on and win the game. This does not occur with these new rules.

BUWHAHAHAHA!!! The last player to buy a plant, still gets a plant at face value. Maybe there won't be much bidding on the plant before, but someone still gets that plant. You are increasing the number of early high plants, and thus increasing the chance that someone coasts to victory on that early high plant.
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Barticus88 wrote:
jglazebrook wrote:
But this potential hardness I believe is completely offset with the ability to know what the next power plant is going to be; rather than guessing.

Precision guesswork is a big part of the game. You know some, you estimate some, and you give it your best guess. Knowing too much leads to analysis paralysis. The game gives more advantage to the mathematically inclined as it is.


Yes it does give an advantage to those that are mathematically inclined, but isn't that part of the skill of this game. It would also be true that my change in the rules may slightly increase this, but only in a manner that a 10 year old could understand. That is, higher and mid-ranged power plants will occur more regularly.

Yes it eliminates some of the precision guesswork.
However, "precision guesswork" is either mathematical brilliance with "you estimate some" by estimating / counting the whole deck of Power Plant Cards.... OR it is guesswork like you see in Monopoly. My rules would eliminate some of the events that contribute to both of those, because of simplified predictability (an increase strategy), suggested in the paragraph before this.

Analysis paralysis is a fair point for some, but not something we have experienced.



Barticus88 wrote:
jglazebrook wrote:
While with the original rules if a player happened to get a higher power plant card early in the game (because 5 high Power Plant Cards need to come out in a row for that to happen) then they were almost guaranteed to go on and win the game. This does not occur with these new rules.

BUWHAHAHAHA!!! The last player to buy a plant, still gets a plant at face value. Maybe there won't be much bidding on the plant before, but someone still gets that plant. You are increasing the number of early high plants, and thus increasing the chance that someone coasts to victory on that early high plant.


It would also be true that guesswork is not totally eliminated because of the last player's advantage to buy a Power Plant and the opportunity that might arise for them. This means that there is more pressure on the auction beforehand to raise the price and win / lose the auction.

Additionally, the last player in a PHASE 2 knows that
1) in PHASE 4 a low plant may be removed followed by
2) that in PHASE 5 the highest card will be removed.
Meaning that the predicting carries onto the next round and therefore the last player may well know who the first player will be in the next round and what they will want... Thereby keeping the decision making strategy thinking in place.



Barticus88 wrote:
You are increasing the number of early high plants, and thus increasing the chance that someone coasts to victory on that early high plant.

We have actually seen that it creates more balance. Because with the old rules a person getting 1 high power plant and everyone else missing out occurs probably once every second game.

However, with these new rules it would occur MORE THAN twice as often....
Why do I emphasise more?
These rules really only affect the rate at which the lower Power Plant Cards are discarded as opposed to the overall discard rate. If the rules did just affect the overall discard rate, then the higher power plants would occur twice as often. But as these rules really only affect the discard rate of the lower Power Plant Cards, the result is the highest Power Plant Cards appear at a much quicker and more consistent rate.
This also occurs to the mid-range power plants too... Also adding to the balance of the game. This takes away from the advantage of 1 person getting the 1 higher plant card that might occur.

So instead of once per game (or 2nd game) of getting a disproportionately higher power plant card, we have found it happens 4 or 5 times per game, making for a more balanced game for us.

So I would definitely agree with your points Barticus as they are right. My experience with these proposed variant rules have for me said that your points are right but the affect is on the entire game, speeding up the game (slightly) and balancing the game (slightly) more so than the original rules.
 
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Shane Loader
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Overall, I like it very much!
I will implement this in future games as I have seen too many games stall waiting for the step 3 card when no one can reasonably win until it does.
I have also seen several games won or lost by the turn of the plant card for the last place player who either gets a great plant for face value or nothing that will help.

I would suggest changing it to only removing the lowest plant if it did not change during the round. (From being purchased or discarded.)

Another variant we play with for a faster game is live auctions, to reduce AP and inatentiveness. I personally feel they also add an element of excitement to the game.
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bonnyaclyde wrote:
Overall, I like it very much!

Thanks.

bonnyaclyde wrote:
I will implement this in future games as I have seen too many games stall waiting for the step 3 card when no one can reasonably win until it does.


Because all players typically have opportunity to get higher or mid range cards even on 2 or 5 players games where the board is least crowded, it is possible for people to win before the step 3 comes out.
bonnyaclyde wrote:
I would suggest changing it to only removing the lowest plant if it did not change during the round. (From being purchased or discarded.)

This would likely be a better option for 2, 4 or 5 players; where room on the board is not at such a premium as they are for 3 or 6 player games.

bonnyaclyde wrote:
Another variant we play with for a faster game is live auctions, to reduce AP and inatentiveness. I personally feel they also add an element of excitement to the game.

Could easily raise the price quickly in the auction and definitely more lively.
Any problems in equal maximum bid situations? Same high bid at same time but both can't go higher? A possibility early on the game maybe. Maybe the auctioneer should decide?
 
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jglazebrook wrote:
bonnyaclyde wrote:
Overall, I like it very much!

Thanks.

bonnyaclyde wrote:
I will implement this in future games as I have seen too many games stall waiting for the step 3 card when no one can reasonably win until it does.


Because all players typically have opportunity to get higher or mid range cards even on 2 or 5 players games where the board is least crowded, it is possible for people to win before the step 3 comes out.
bonnyaclyde wrote:
I would suggest changing it to only removing the lowest plant if it did not change during the round. (From being purchased or discarded.)

This would likely be a better option for 2, 4 or 5 players; where room on the board is not at such a premium as they are for 3 or 6 player games.

bonnyaclyde wrote:
Another variant we play with for a faster game is live auctions, to reduce AP and inatentiveness. I personally feel they also add an element of excitement to the game.

Could easily raise the price quickly in the auction and definitely more lively.
Any problems in equal maximum bid situations? Same high bid at same time but both can't go higher? A possibility early on the game maybe. Maybe the auctioneer should decide?

The reason for the game stalling is not the lack of power plants but for the lack of reasonably build-able spaces on the board where no one could really get to 15 cities until the phase 3 spaces opened up.
By chance we just played last night and had 2 players call a bid at nearly the same time but it was when plant was just chosen and the auction went much higher. Other than that I've never had a simultaneous bid of the same amount. But it definitely makes it much faster game not having to wait for each player to decide to pass on every plant auctioned.
 
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bonnyaclyde wrote:
The reason for the game stalling is not the lack of power plants but for the lack of reasonably build-able spaces on the board where no one could really get to 15 cities until the phase 3 spaces opened up.

Yes so, speeding up the turn over of Power Plants, would make for step 3 to come quicker.

bonnyaclyde wrote:
By chance we just played last night and had 2 players call a bid at nearly the same time but it was when plant was just chosen and the auction went much higher. Other than that I've never had a simultaneous bid of the same amount. But it definitely makes it much faster game not having to wait for each player to decide to pass on every plant auctioned.


I like that idea.... I will see if I can get my friends to implement this.

What I have noticed is my rules speed up Step 1 quite a bit, making step 2 comparatively longer (to step 1) and therefore making step 2 more important.
 
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Denis q.
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Great post.
Great house rules.


Second change:
PHASE 2 start when the first player reaches 3 Power Plants (and all players can build on cities paying 15 instead of 10).

So the question is:
with your house-rules,from now and for each turn, players remove the lowest numbered power plant from the Current Actual Market ?
 
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pallando wrote:
Great post. Great house rules.
Thanks

pallando wrote:

Second change:
PHASE 2 start when the first player reaches 3 Power Plants (and all players can build on cities paying 15 instead of 10).

Do you mean Step 2????
If so Step 2 still starts as per normal game play.

The change to Phase 2 of removing the lowest Power Plant only starts after the first person(s) possess 3 Power Plants.


pallando wrote:

So the question is:
with your house-rules,from now and for each turn, players remove the lowest numbered power plant from the Current Actual Market ?

Yes....
And then move the lowest Futures Market power plant into the Current Actual Market before drawing a Power Plant Card off the deck.
 
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Denis q.
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yes I mean step 2..
Do you think that your rules will work well on all expansions included deluxe ed. ( http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/155873/power-grid-deluxe-... )
and/or "Power Grid: The New Power Plant Cards" ?
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/29416/power-grid...

regards
 
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pallando wrote:
yes I mean step 2..
Do you think that your rules will work well on all expansions included deluxe ed. ( http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/155873/power-grid-deluxe-... )
and/or "Power Grid: The New Power Plant Cards" ?
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/29416/power-grid...

regards


Not sure... But we have been playing my rules quite a bit more recently and are finding that, because we are aware that a good Power Plant is much more likely to turn up the bidding war for a good or mediocre power plant is less volatile.
 
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