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Subject: Player interaction in Power Grid rss

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Hunga Dunga
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Ok, so I've been excited about playing this game for a while. I finally got my family into it the other day. Everyone enjoyed themselves, but afterward, my wife complained about a lack of player interaction. (The good news is that my kids loved it.)

But the wife is important, right? She claimed there was more player interaction in Settlers than in PG.

Now, we only played the First Step, per the suggestion in the rules. We had some auction interaction, but not much. A litle bit of interaction in the resource market once my wife and I both fired up garbage plants.

I'd like to know people's opinion on this. Is there more interaction once we play Step 2 and 3?

Any other observations?

Much obliged, H.
 
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Just call me Erik
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Which map did you play on? I would have thought there'd be some map interaction with 4 players. Step 2 and 3 do make it interesting.
 
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Brian Walker
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Did you remember to exclude areas of the game board based on the number of players?
 
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Barry Figgins
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Power Grid actually has really good interaction. Everything you do - buying plants, buying resources, building to cities - directly affects the other players, at least by limiting their options.
 
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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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I'd agree with all the previous three commentors. Only playing step one can drastically reduce the interaction though (especially if you have forgotten to exclude a few areas from play). Once you hit step two and three interaction in cities will start occurring.

You also get some quite interesting interaction in bidding for power plants and buying fuel too.
 
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Jeroen Harkes
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I don't think misinterpretation of the rules are an issue here. Yes it is true that in later Steps other players are in your way, and resources are running out.

But I think the issue here is that SoC is partly a negotiation game, which requires you to communicate with others to get the resources you want. In PG your level of communication is generally lower.

If your wife really want's more player interaction/communication try Lifeboats devil


PS. No, obviously I am not serious about Rette.
 
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zippy grey wedge owner
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Hungadunga, what is your benchmark? A game with lots of interaction that I know is Traders of Genoa. A game with absolutely minimal interaction [that I know] is Reef Encounter. I'd say PG falls somewhere in between, as illustrated by dipdragon [author of the excellent http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/132846]
 
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Warren Cheung
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This also really depends on what you mean by player interaction. Power Grid generally doesn't encourage deal-making, and there is no direct trading. However, it is as far from multi-player solitaire as things get. Everything you do affects the other players in pretty substantial ways - anything you buy is something other players cannot get. I guess maybe that's why there's not so much negotiation in PG - since other players, far from helping you out, really only exist as evil people stealing your resources/power plants/cities, everyone gets into a competitive, energy monopoly frame of mind.
 
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Joe Grundy
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Hmmm. Absolutely, direct player interaction is very limited in Power Grid, and is the crux of Settlers, so yes your missus is correct... low peer engagement in Power Grid.

A few people have noted that players are in each others way more as the map fills up in steps 2 and 3, and then there's the "competition" for resources. But for many players this isn't players interacting, this is each player interacting with the dynamic system. It will never feel like player interaction for folks like us.

PG is competitive, and not multiplayer solitaire since so much of what you do does change the system state for other players. But most of the moves (honestly) if you're trying to bring down another player explicitly you hurt yourself about just as much.

Somebody mentioned Traders of Genoa for high high level direct player interaction. Yes, absolutely... if you're skills are refined through Settlers and you don't mind the game length, you'll do well with ToG.
 
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Hun Yang Ng
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I find there's low player interaction too, primarily because there's no trading! But as noted, it's far from a multi-player solitaire because every action has impact on subsequent decisions.

The player interaction comes when there's analysis paralysis. Offer suggestions what to do. Mess up your opponent's thinking!
 
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Barry Figgins
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I'm pretty sure the rules allow you to trade money, if you're really wanting to make a deal.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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Wow, great comments! Thanks everyone!

We played by the rules, and used four areas for four players using the map of Germany. In the end we all had 7 citiies and there was some "conflict" in the last two turns: "HEY, I was going to go to that city!"

Has anyone come up with variants that would allow for more interaction? The first thing that comes to mind is resource trading between players. E.g. I could buy coal since I can get it cheap even though I don't have coal plants, knowing I could make a profit by selling it or trading it with another player.
 
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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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Hungadunga wrote:
Has anyone come up with variants that would allow for more interaction? The first thing that comes to mind is resource trading between players. E.g. I could buy coal since I can get it cheap even though I don't have coal plants, knowing I could make a profit by selling it or trading it with another player.


I'd suggest playing the full game a few times first, you may find you don't havea any need for variations once you have the complete game under your belt.
 
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Chris Jones
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I agree. You can't judge Power Grid by having on ly played Step One. ALL the competition and game development occur in the latter 2 thirds when resources become scarse and the need to increase capacity rather than cities raises the interaction and tactics considerable.

CHRIS
 
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Travis Hall
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Playing only step 1 in Power Grid is really more equivalent to playing standard Settlers of Catan to 4 points than playing a full game of Settlers. Try doing that, and see whether your wife still thinks the game has enough interaction for her tastes!
 
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Hunga Dunga
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Thanks, Travis. We're going to give it a go this weekend. I also picked up the France/Italy map today.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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Update
So my family and I played Power Grid through to the the end. My youngest daughter (12) and I had a great time (she won) mainly, I thiink, because we figured out the balancing strategy.

My eldest daughter (14) avoided the resource market by investing in green power, but the cost of doing so prevented her from ultimately having 3 power plants that could power up enough cities, and she had to compete in the resource market at the very end.

My wife decided that while the game was interesting, it was "too much llike real life" to be enjoyable. (!)
 
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LC
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Yea I can see why. Unlike SoC, PG is fiercly competitive. Every move you make in PG directly impacts everyone else and vice versa. PG is a zero sum game i.e. if player A takes a larger piece of the pie, then the pie is smaller for everyone else.
 
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