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Subject: Tons of fiddly rules? rss

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Christian K
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I played this for the first time and was surprised at how many fiddly rules.

The setup is already very convoluted, and there are like 100 different cases where you put the smallest or largest power plant in the bottom.

Also when you reshuffle discard of ressources you put new cards in, is that really needed for the game?

The game seems like it could have been streamlined a lot (weird thing to say for 'the card game') are all these fiddly rules really necessary? I never played power grid so that may be the reason.
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Jonathan Schindler
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I've not played the card game, but Power Grid has some fiddly rules with power plants. Most of the game is so smooth, but I still have to look at the rules for setting up the power plant market when we change to step 2 and especially step 3.
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Eric Brosius
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In the original game, the fiddliness is needed to make the game play work as well as possible. I suspect it's the same with the card game.
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I am very familiar with Power Grid, and I found the rules fairly intuitive. The card game could benefit from a postcard-size summary sheet, but it isn't essential.
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Jon Wooden
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I played this for the first time and was surprised at how many fiddly rules.

The setup is already very convoluted, and there are like 100 different cases where you put the smallest or largest power plant in the bottom.

Also when you reshuffle discard of ressources you put new cards in, is that really needed for the game?

The game seems like it could have been streamlined a lot (weird thing to say for 'the card game') are all these fiddly rules really necessary? I never played power grid so that may be the reason.


I can see how it may appear a little 'fiddly' if you've never played Power Grid before, but once you understand the reasoning behind the rules, I think that you'll find it easier to understand -

In order to ensure that there are a number of the higher value power plants available in the last round of the game (which is essential to ensure that the ending is tense), the largest power plants in the market at the end of each round get placed under the deck.

The smallest value power plants sometimes get removed as well (discarded, NOT put under the deck) in order to stop the market clogging up with useless plants. If a power plant is ever revealed which has a LOWER value than the plant with the 1 elektro token on it, simply discard it.

You'll soon get the hang of this, and it's actually a very clever way of ensuring that the market functions in a meaningful way.

Putting extra resource cards into the deck when you shuffle up simulates the market becoming slightly more plentiful with resources, as players increase their power plant capacity throughout the game. Again, necessary and relatively simple.

The really great thing about the game is that it gives an experience very similar to the original board game (which, remember, is relatively heavy in weight), in half the time, and with many fewer components. In order to achieve this, some of the mechanisms couldn't have been streamlined any more, or else the 'essence' of Power Grid would have been lost. Despite being a 'card game version', this is still a real meaty game!

Hope that you persevere - it's well worth it!
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Randy Espinoza
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I played this for the first time and was surprised at how many fiddly rules.

The setup is already very convoluted, and there are like 100 different cases where you put the smallest or largest power plant in the bottom.
...
I never played power grid so that may be the reason.
I watched the Essen demo by F. Friese and he explained the game (or tried to) as if everybody knew Power Grid. That says a lot about who this game is aimed at, I don't think he could do a good job explaining it to an audience that knows nothing about the board game.

I've watched a few other videos about it and I must agree with you, a lack of experience with PG makes it very difficult to make sense of, or care about, this game with all its rules and apparent fiddliness. It feels natural (maybe even fun) only to PG players, for everybody else there's a big barrier of entry towards enjoying it.
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Christian K
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Emsdad wrote:
Muemmelmann wrote:
I played this for the first time and was surprised at how many fiddly rules.

The setup is already very convoluted, and there are like 100 different cases where you put the smallest or largest power plant in the bottom.

Also when you reshuffle discard of ressources you put new cards in, is that really needed for the game?

The game seems like it could have been streamlined a lot (weird thing to say for 'the card game') are all these fiddly rules really necessary? I never played power grid so that may be the reason.


I can see how it may appear a little 'fiddly' if you've never played Power Grid before, but once you understand the reasoning behind the rules, I think that you'll find it easier to understand -

In order to ensure that there are a number of the higher value power plants available in the last round of the game (which is essential to ensure that the ending is tense), the largest power plants in the market at the end of each round get placed under the deck.

The smallest value power plants sometimes get removed as well (discarded, NOT put under the deck) in order to stop the market clogging up with useless plants. If a power plant is ever revealed which has a LOWER value than the plant with the 1 elektro token on it, simply discard it.

You'll soon get the hang of this, and it's actually a very clever way of ensuring that the market functions in a meaningful way.

Putting extra resource cards into the deck when you shuffle up simulates the market becoming slightly more plentiful with resources, as players increase their power plant capacity throughout the game. Again, necessary and relatively simple.

The really great thing about the game is that it gives an experience very similar to the original board game (which, remember, is relatively heavy in weight), in half the time, and with many fewer components. In order to achieve this, some of the mechanisms couldn't have been streamlined any more, or else the 'essence' of Power Grid would have been lost. Despite being a 'card game version', this is still a real meaty game!

Hope that you persevere - it's well worth it!

Thanks a lot for your post. You also have to remove the lowest power plant when you shuffle ressources (why? )
And you remove the 1 power plant if it has not been bought at the end of phase one but you remove the largest at the end of phase three (why not at the same time). Maybe some kind sould will make an easy overview of what causes you to remove power plants and when.
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Y P
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Muemmelmann wrote:
Thanks a lot for your post. You also have to remove the lowest power plant when you shuffle ressources (why? )
And you remove the 1 power plant if it has not been bought at the end of phase one but you remove the largest at the end of phase three (why not at the same time). Maybe some kind sould will make an easy overview of what causes you to remove power plants and when.

Removing the lowest power plant is so that as the game progresses and everybody's buying power increases the market isn't clogged up with old and ineffective power plants that don't generate enough power. You're limited in the number of power plants you can have at a time, so nobody wants to buy the weaker ones later on in the game as they're a waste of a power plant slot by then.
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Fraser
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I never played power grid so that may be the reason.


Yes, this would be the reason.

It is Power Grid The Card Game. It is Power Grid without the map and cities converted in to card game and speaking as somebody who has played a lot of Power Grid over the years it does it very well.
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Evan Duly
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It was a one and done play for me. The amount of fiddliness and overhead for what essentially amounts to a very, very simple auction game (with some extremely basic resource management) is just ridiculous.

There are so many more streamlined and exciting auction games with more exciting mechanics that don't require even close to the amount of overhead.

I've played Power Grid a small amount of times and I'm not an expert, so I know a similar amount of overhead is there but the resource market is much more intuitively represented on the actual board and somehow, maybe the route building makes the fiddliness feel more worth it for the effort.

Plus this game takes an hour minimum(!) when the board game takes maybe 2 hours? If you want the Power Grid feel just play Power Grid imo.
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Jonathan Schindler
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I've played the card game twice now, and I really enjoy it. But it IS fiddly. I think it will appeal mostly to fans of Power Grid and won't have much reach outside this audience, but for those who want Power Grid in an hour or less, this is great.

I've found a few things have helped this to be less fiddly (or at least less annoying):

1. Make a player aid. One should have been included, but I made one for me with the niggling rules that are easy to forget (e.g., when to toss power plants).

2. Don't explain all the "bureaucracy" rules to new players. As long as you know them well, you can facilitate the game without bogging it down in unnecessary information.

3. It's okay to warn new players that the game is fiddly. If they know Power Grid, they know this already. If they don't, it's best to be up front about it.

Our first (5p) game lasted a little over an hour with all new players, three of whom were new to Power Grid. The second game (4p) involved one player who was new to the card game but not to Power Grid, and with teaching, it lasted 45m. So it's possible to bring the time down and still get Power Grid flavor.
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Evan Duly
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Goatcabin wrote:


I've found a few things have helped this to be less fiddly (or at least less annoying):

1. Make a player aid. One should have been included, but I made one for me with the niggling rules that are easy to forget (e.g., when to toss power plants).

2. Don't explain all the "bureaucracy" rules to new players. As long as you know them well, you can facilitate the game without bogging it down in unnecessary information.

3. It's okay to warn new players that the game is fiddly. If they know Power Grid, they know this already. If they don't, it's best to be up front about it.


Good that you enjoy it but you're sort of feeding into my point above. Instead of having to create your own player aid and a list of teaching do's and don't for a very simple auction card game, I'd rather just break out Ra or Medici or Amun Re. Less than 10 minutes to teach to anyone, same play time as this card game, much more interesting mechanics and layers of decisions all the way through.

The ratio of overhead/fiddliness to actual interesting gameplay in this is way off IMHO.
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Matthew Sanchez
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EvanDevan wrote:
Goatcabin wrote:


I've found a few things have helped this to be less fiddly (or at least less annoying):

1. Make a player aid. One should have been included, but I made one for me with the niggling rules that are easy to forget (e.g., when to toss power plants).

2. Don't explain all the "bureaucracy" rules to new players. As long as you know them well, you can facilitate the game without bogging it down in unnecessary information.

3. It's okay to warn new players that the game is fiddly. If they know Power Grid, they know this already. If they don't, it's best to be up front about it.


Good that you enjoy it but you're sort of feeding into my point above. Instead of having to create your own player aid and a list of teaching do's and don't for a very simple auction card game, I'd rather just break out Ra or Medici or Amun Re. Less than 10 minutes to teach to anyone, same play time as this card game, much more interesting mechanics and layers of decisions all the way through.

The ratio of overhead/fiddliness to actual interesting gameplay in this is way off IMHO.


I haven't Played Amun Re yet. But the auctions in Ra and Medici work very different from a traditional round robin auction. And they are much less of economic games. Don't get me wrong. I love Ra and my one play of Medici was very much enjoyed. I just don't think they are comparable to this. Like you said... for Me. Not to mention this is really Portable.

As an experienced power grid player you get used to the fiddliness in a couple games and it's worth it IMO. Only one person needs to know how to manage the markets. Everyone else will catch on to that quickly.
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Evan Duly
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You're right that it's not so much a side by side comparison of mechanics with those Knizia auction games. It's more for me that if I say to myself: "hey, I want to play an auction game tonight" I would reach for almost any other auction game (including regular Power Grid) before touching this one.

To each his own of course. Everyone should enjoy playing the games they like!

However, I think this one will be in discount bins before too long . What's the target audience? Experienced Power Grid players who want a game with less decisions but the same amount of overhead as a regular game of Power Grid?

 
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Jonathan Schindler
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If I'm reaching for an auction game, I would never reach for Power Grid anyway--the board game or the card game.

If I'm interested in a long economic game, I'll reach for Power Grid. If I'm interested in (or time constraints force) a short economic game, I'll reach for Power Grid: The Card Game.

The auction is one feature of Power Grid, but to me, it's not the distinguishing feature.
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Chris
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The rules are no more fiddly than power grid the board game. The setup in the rule book is poorly worded and the way you move/restock resources. If you never played the board game you might be confused. I found when I read them I had to then think what we did in the board game and then it clicked as to what they meant.

To me, the card game is good for when I want to play a quick and dirty game of power grid. Or if you dislike the math of building houses on cities.
 
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Richard Collins
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I've not played PW:tcg yet but am looking forward to it greatly. The original Power Grid occupies a strange spot for me. I really love the auction and the resource market from the original and salivate at the thought of optimising my bids within that framework. However, I hate the impact which the board has upon the game (blocking in particular) and ABHOR the use of three phases to try to mitigate the impact that the board has upon the flow of the game.

PG:tcg seems to harness my favourite aspects of the original while ditching the elements which ruined the game for me.

Sure, there is still admin but this is absolutely necessary to keep the game from stalling. In any case, as long as the admin becomes second nature to at least one of your players you can just let them take care of it while you enjoy the game!

I'll report back when I've, y'know, actually played the game....
 
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Alec Usticke
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Clawbeast wrote:
I've not played PW:tcg yet but am looking forward to it greatly. The original Power Grid occupies a strange spot for me. I really love the auction and the resource market from the original and salivate at the thought of optimising my bids within that framework. However, I hate the impact which the board has upon the game (blocking in particular) and ABHOR the use of three phases to try to mitigate the impact that the board has upon the flow of the game.

Based on that, you're going to love it.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I played this for the first time and was surprised at how many fiddly rules.

I agree. I created 2 quick references (and posted them here on BGG). Without it, I was constantly making mistakes. The rulebook could be clearer, but part of the problem is the rules themselves. What bothers me is that the rules feel like they *could* have been streamlined.

Start with the setup. Is it *really* necessary to remove 1, 2, or 0 starter plants at different power plants? Why not always 1? Why remove 2 when there are 3 players, but 1 when there are 2-players (where a neutral "trust" player is also in the game) or with 4?

Adjusting turn order after the first auction is a fiddly exception, but I see why it is necessary. Well, probably not in a learning game, but after that.

The discounted plant is bought maybe once per game, and a smaller plant is drawn maybe on average once a game. Is it really worth including?

As Muemmelmann points out, you remove the smallest plant at the end of the auction phase, but you remove the largest plant during the Bureaucracy phase. Couldn't those have been combined somehow?

As Muemmelmann points out, you remove a small plant when shuffling the resource cards. That happens twice per game, so is it really necessary?

The rules for handling the "one more round" card are quite different depending on whether it comes out during the auction or bureaucracy phase. Could those have been unified, or at least made less different?

I actually find the resource market and resource cards pretty non-fiddly, once you understand them. Good job there.

I have now internalized almost all those rules, although I still use my quick reference to be sure I don't forget anything. They still feel fiddly. Or, more precisely, they feel *more fiddly than they should need to be*. It just feels a bit under-developed. I very rarely feel that a game needs a reference card. This is one of those exceptions.
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Christian K
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Intersting that someone agrees it does feel as if nost powergrid players are happy with the rules.
 
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Anthony Davies
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This game really needs a reference sheet, which is why I created my own. I love Friedemann Friese games, but they all seem to have challenging rulebooks. Not sure if this comes down to just the translation, or if it's just the organization. Having setup organized into a few bullet points really helps instead of trying to sort through paragraphs of text.

What I tried to do was emphasize the trigger each time something "special" happens. This really brings your attention to all of those fiddly rules. The rulebook has all those special triggers buried in a bullet under the respective phase.

I've only played it twice, but each time we've overlooked a rule or two. Can't wait to try out our reference cards, because it will hopefully alleviate some of those issues.
 
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