Alex Ansari
United States
Temple City
California
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So my girlfriend and I just received this game and decided to try out the 2-player "Against the Trust" variant. While we eventually understood the game mechanisms, something seems to be off. In our first game, Step 3 happened before Step 2 (I initially put this down to the notion that we were just inexperienced) and we ran out of power plant cards several turns before the end game was triggered. In our second game, despite a much more aggressive play-style from both of us, we still only had one turn of Step 2 before Step 3 hit and we once again ran out of power plant cards way before the end of the game. In both cases, the end of the game became a boring race where we would just buy resources, build some generators, power them, and get paid. So I wanted to check a few things to make sure we weren't burning through the cards too quickly:

1) At the beginning of the game, the two live players cannot build on the six cities taken by the trust until Step 2 begins.

2) At the beginning of Phase 2 (on N.A. map), the discount "1" marker is placed on the lowest power plant in the current market. If this plant is not purchased by the end of Phase 2, it is removed from the game.

3) After the first power plant is purchased during Phase 2 or if the first player has passed on an auction, the trust will always take the highest power plant in the current market (fourth or sixth), but only if that plant is higher value than the lowest value plant already held by the trust.

4) At the end of Phase 5 (in Steps 1 and 2), the highest value power plant is removed and placed at the bottom of the draw deck (below the Step 3 card). In Step 3, the lowest value power plant is removed from the game.

5) Whenever a power plant is replaced (fourth power plant purchased), the scrapped power plant is removed from the game.

I think all of these are correct, but maybe I am missing something. It seems like too many cards get removed which makes it difficult to expand early on when money is hard to come by. Considering how tight the map is, expansion past six generators is quite expensive when combined with the need to constantly upgrade power plants. The game is working, but I don't feel that this particular variant is paced very well. By the time we get to seven generators, Step 3 is already upon us and it becomes a slog to spend every electro you have to build more and more generators while trying to nab the higher efficiency plants needed to power 18+ cities. The switch is so sudden that it feels anti-climatic.

It could be that we are just playing wrong or that our inexperience is hindering our initial plays of the game, but if anyone notices something we are not doing, the help would be greatly appreciated.

 
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Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
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Quote:
expansion past six generators is quite expensive when combined with the need to constantly upgrade power plants.

FWIW, without knowing details, this sounds as if you were both making a strategic error of spending too much money buying too many new power plants.
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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To expand on what Russ said:

There are three groups of plants in the game:

- cheap inefficient early-game plants
- solid mid-game plants powering 3 or 4 cities
- end-game plants you can keep to the end

See if you can reduce the number of plants in the middle group you buy.
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Alex Ansari
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Temple City
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I think you are both right. I checked out some playthroughs and all of them featured the same idea: limit the number of power plants purchased, focusing instead of grabbing the right ones at the right time. We'll try it again tonight and see how it goes. Thank you very much for the advice.
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Also, the discount marker is placed on the cheapest plant at every single phase at the beginning of a turn.

And did you notice that you can build past the trust owned cities, just pay the connection cost between all the cities? Me and my wife missed this rule at first and were confused when we were boxed in corners and "unable" to build anymore generators.
 
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