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Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America» Forums » General

Subject: Overall thought on game balance rss

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Andrew M
Canada
Vancouver
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Hi -

I'm new to posting, but have been lurking for a bit. I played the original Power Grid once, and really enjoyed it. Got PG Deluxe for Christmas, and have played it ~5 more times. I really like this game. I want it to be a favourite. However, I've observed that in every game I've played, all with different opponents, I can see in turn 4 or 5 who's going to win, and it seems impossible to stop them from winning.

Is this predictability (which borders on inevitability in my mind during the game, which is what prevents PG from being an all-time favourite) common to other players? It seems that the progressive nature of the game makes it hard to 'come back'. When you can power that one extra city early, you get 10 extra Elektro, allowing you to outbid others in the next auction, etc, etc.

I've thought that maybe what I'm doing wrong is that I'm seeing who's winning, but not doing anything to stop them (assuming it's not me, of course!). But the beauty of/dastardly thing about this game is the resource management decisions.

For instance, at one point mid-game in our session last night, I bought the max coal I could buy, so as to make the predicted winner's coal more expensive. However, I hadn't thought it through (stupid IPA), and wound up 3 dollars short of being able to place a generator in a city that I would have been able to power. And while I recognize that these sort of decisions that seem small at the time and have large repercussions are exactly what make Power Grid great, it also makes it difficult to 'interfere' with other players, as it can hamstring you in the process.

Anyhow - is this a common experience? Am I just playing badly?

TLDR: I can predict who's going to win early, and it has always been accurate (small sample size), despite attempts to stop it.
 
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Russ Williams
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fullmonty27 wrote:
Is this predictability (which borders on inevitability in my mind during the game, which is what prevents PG from being an all-time favourite) common to other players? It seems that the progressive nature of the game makes it hard to 'come back'. When you can power that one extra city early, you get 10 extra Elektro, allowing you to outbid others in the next auction, etc, etc.

Just to check: you're aware that the turn order is based on how many cities each player has built, and that in auctions, the player with the most cities has the disadvantage of having to start the bidding first, while in buying resources and in building in cities, the player with the most cities has the disadvantage of buying last, right?

Quote:
TLDR: I can predict who's going to win early, and it has always been accurate (small sample size), despite attempts to stop it.

I'm thinking small sample size, and perhaps suboptimal playing by people who are "behind" in number of cities. (I.e. being currently behind in number of cities does not necessarily mean one is "losing".)
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Andrew M
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russ wrote:

Just to check: you're aware that the turn order is based on how many cities each player has built, and that in auctions, the player with the most cities has the disadvantage of having to start the bidding first, while in buying resources and in building in cities, the player with the most cities has the disadvantage of buying last, right?


Yes, we are aware, and that has been an element of people's strategy (intentionally having fewer cities, in order to position themselves at the front of the resource market and city purchasing lines). The other thing was that the player going first didn't seem all that disadvantaged by going first in the auction, though I see why it's a disadvantage in theory.

fullmonty27 wrote:
TLDR: I can predict who's going to win early, and it has always been accurate (small sample size), despite attempts to stop it.
russ wrote:
I'm thinking small sample size, and perhaps suboptimal playing by people who are "behind" in number of cities. (I.e. being currently behind in number of cities does not necessarily mean one is "losing".)


Thanks for the response! I can live with that being the explanation. I suppose it's this exact fine line that I love about this game: It feels as though you can't make a mistake if you want to beat a smart player. And that 'overpurchase' of coal I mentioned was a mistake that set me back last night. Pretty cool game, that has so much riding on so many little decisions!
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Jim Temple
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Quote:
Yes, we are aware, and that has been an element of people's strategy (intentionally having fewer cities, in order to position themselves at the front of the resource market and city purchasing lines). The other thing was that the player going first didn't seem all that disadvantaged by going first in the auction, though I see why it's a disadvantage in theory.


The first person to start an auction only has the potential to win any plants they put up for auction. No one is allowed to participate in an auction once they've either a) won an auction, or b) passed on picking a plant to auction off. So don't let that first player keep selecting plants to put up for auction.

Obviously this is situational, but that first player can easily be stuck with either taking that first plant or getting no plant for the turn. The last player (aka the one who buys resources first) gets the advantage of waiting and seeing as new plants are drawn to replace those that were purchased. If they wait until the end and a good plant is drawn, they get it at face value because no one else is allowed to bid. That's a risk, and that press your luck element is one of the many great things about this game.
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russ wrote:

Quote:
TLDR: I can predict who's going to win early, and it has always been accurate (small sample size), despite attempts to stop it.

I'm thinking small sample size, and perhaps suboptimal playing by people who are "behind" in number of cities. (I.e. being currently behind in number of cities does not necessarily mean one is "losing".)

Agreed, I have played it a lot and I would rarely be able to pick a supposed winner by turn four or five and even then I would probably be wrong! Certainly being ahead in the number of cities count early is generally not an indication of who is going to win. There is often an ebb and flow of who has the most cities as players position themselves in the turn order. You can jump to the front and stay there all game for the win, but in my experience that rarely happens.
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Alex Drazen
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The only Power Grid map I know of with a runaway leader is India.

It happens when there is a blackout/power outage - if the leader can power 3+ more cities than everyone else when there is also a blackout, especially early in the game, the blackout really crushes everyone else.

But on other maps, the winner should not be super clear unless you're playing with open money. There will be clear people who can't win but usually there are at least 2-3 people jockeying for a win; in my group at least half the games come down to a money tiebreaker (and we even had to use the "highest plant number" tournament tiebreaker once!!)
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Andrew M
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Thanks everyone! I appreciate the input.
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