After trying to decide what to play with 3, I begged and pleaded with my wife to sit down to one of her favorite games, Power Grid. Ann, Sabrina, Chris, and I sat down to play.
We played the Germany map. The regions selected were the central regions, which meant that the brown and purple regions were not in play. Chris started off in the Ruhr Valley, while Ann started in the Lower Elbe valley. I started in Weisbaden and Frankfort Am Main, and my wife started just north of me.
After buying our initial plants, Ann had an advantage as she was able to buy the 20 plant, but the other plant she had was the 5. Chris and Sabrina had a bunch of junk. This is literal for Sabrina as she had the 19(?) trash plant. I had the 21, 13, and 4. We gradually built up to 6 cities, I cordoned off the southern cities other than that, everyone pretty much made connections to their region's cities.
Sabrina decided that she would be the one to build out to 7 cities. This was primarily determined by the position of the power plants that were out. They were mainly the lower teen plants on the top row. Ann built out to 12 connections in one turn. Meanwhile, Chris and I built out to 8 and 9 cities. I moved inot the middle of the map, while Ann built into the Ruhr. Chris spread a little north and south, while Sabrina built into my cities. At this point, the big move in the game took place. I was "stuck" with the 27 power plant. This replaced my #4 plant. With the 21 hybrid plant, I was able to power 8 cities for all of $10! With coal and oil costs in the 4s/5s, this was a major boon to my fortunes. I was able to stash a huge wad of cash away. Meanwhile, Ann was only powering half of her cities. A new Dark Age settled in over the northern cities. Meanwhile, the southern cities experienced a period of light.
But, there was a fly in the ointment. My 21 plant could only power 4 cities. Moving into the end game, I had a problem. I needed at least one of the three 7 power plants. Ann did not have as much cash as I did, but she only needed two plants, and had an advantage in the number of cities she already had. Chris had a decent power plants, and Sabrina had build a number of connections one short of Ann, and had two 5 power plants.
I had a major problem. At this point Ann was relatively cash poor. Sabrina had an advantage in cities, but was only able to power 13 cities. I had bought the 36 plant which gave me a capacity of 14 cities. Chris was not far behind, and was actually well positioned to possibly eek out a win, because he still had to replace one of his early plants and was still able to power 13/14 cities (I had more connections than he did as well as cash).
Phase 3 arrived late. But, the plants that were available going into the last turn were nice. The 50, 46, 31, and the 40 were all available. I needed at least a 6 plant, but if I could snag the 46, I could build out to 18 cities and not rely on a tiebreaker. Additionally, with the 46, I could be flexible and buy either oil or coal and not be locked out of the resource market. The 50 got put up, Sabrina was trying to bid me up, and she wound up stuck with it. One player out as she could only power 16 cities. That left Ann, Chris, and I. I believe Ann got the 40, which didn't bother me. She was capped at 17, and I should have a cash advantage against her. I had a plan, I only needed three coal, and I knew that Chris wasn't loaded with cash. I had my finances figured out, I could go up to 56 for the 46 and still be able to but the resources and connections to win. I put up the 46, and figured that I would go to 55. If Chris bid 56, I would pass and take the 31 plant to give me 17 a city capacity. Chris had to pass, and I was able to get the 46. I built out three more cities and powered 18 cities for the win.