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Subject: 2-player Power Grid: the #6 gambit, and re-match rss

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After much reading of the rules and having 3 or 4 attempts cut short by various parental duties and social commitments, R & I at last managed to complete a game of Power Grid.

For a change we tried the US side of the board and decided to play on the Fly-over Zone, omitting New England and the 2 west coastal regions.
And in another departure from previous attempts, R began by bidding the #6 (1G>1). I was somewhat puzzled, but by now both of us had played enough to be able to start developing our own tactics and strategies at least in the opening turn.

I presume R bid for #6 for the sake of fuel-efficiency. I didn't contest it, and bought #7 (3O>2). This gave me a 2-1 lead in capacity, and, despite the game's inbuilt disadvantages for the leader, found that I was able to expand steadily by generally buying the biggest available plant each turn.

The draw pile turned out to be such that these were only 2s and 3s for the first several turns. R followed much the same strategy as me but without the disadvantages of leading, and we both crept towards 10 capacity. Buying enough fuel and connecting enough cities to match capacity wasn't a problem as we both had small but efficient plants. After landing the first big plant (the #25 2C>5, which turned up after I'd just bought the #27 R>3), R went into the lead with 11 cities and triggered step 2.

At this point we needed similar amounts of fuel (3C, 1U and I think 2O or 2G). R had 1 more capacity and 1 more city, but I had more cash as well as the advantages in auctions and fuel of not leading. So I built up capacity and stockpiled fuel and cash while staying behind in cities. As soon as I could afford to I did a big build to 21 cities and won because I could power them all.

In the return I thought I could follow the same pattern, and built up capacity as fast as possible. But we were playing on the Germany map (southern 3 regions), where connecting costs between cities are generally much higher than on the US board. Even though I'd was getting well positioned on the board (basically taking over the northern part of the regions played), I couldn't connect to new cities fast enough to use all my new acquisitions. After a few turns I got my head round this and cobbled together some kind of recovery plan (I forget what, except it definitely didn't involve any more coal plants) and thought I was poised to win. But suddenly R expanded to 21 and when we counted up cash she had a good 30 or so elektros more.

PG is a great game, and is well worth its high rating on BGG. And it's supposed to be even better with more players, so that's another thing to look forward to. Some of the threads and downloads on BGG helped with the rules and, as far as I can tell, we managed to follow them all right.
 
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