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Subject: A Smile Loses The Game (Or: "Why I can't play poker either") rss

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Avri Balofsky
Beit Shemesh
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This week at the BSBGC was a little smaller since we met a day later than usual due to the fast day on Tuesday. Six people showed up and we ended up breaking up into a guy's group and girl's group. The girl's group got through 3 different games (San Juan, Alhambra, Die Sieben Siegel), while the boys only played one game.

Power Grid.
Players: Ari, Avri, Eliezer

The mens managed to play one game for the whole night. It was an exceedingly tight game that lasted over 3 hours. I think I actually managed a half decent explanation this time with only a few minor rules misunderstandings along the way.

We played on the US board. with the East Coast and red area. Eliezer went first and put the 5 hybrid plant up for auction. I passed on it, since I love the 4 plant and had my eye on taking it. Ari followed my lead and passed, letting Eliezer get the 5 for cheap. Ari then put the 4 up for auction and it was bid up to 8 and I let Ari have it. I hate not starting the game with the 4 plant, it throws off my whole game. I bought the 8 and proceeded to not buy any fuel or cities the first turn.

Ari started correctly in Jacksonville/Sevanna, Eliezer started in Birmingham. I built my first two cities on turn two in Norfolk and Raleigh, being greedy and trying to block off the whole North-East for myself. It was a big mistake in the end and I should have taken Norfolk and Washington as Eliezer paid a high connection cost to get into Washington and managed to get into New York Philidalphia before me in the end.

The game opened very slowly as no good plants came down. Every low numbered plant was drawn off the deck and clogged up the markets something fierce. Meanwhile many coal plants were bought and the resources were started to get more expensive to purchase than the income you'd be making from them. Finally the 21 2hybrid->4 came down and looked to be the only capacity greater than three that was going to be available for a while. Ari and I got into a bidding war for it and Ari ended up getting it for 50 or so. I probably should have fought harder for it. At this point Ari had the highest potential capacity at 8 (with his new 21 plant, the wind->2 and 1 nuke ->2), I had a capacity of 6 (wind->1, CCC->2, OO->3), and Eliezer also had a capacity of 6 (CC->2, CC->3, 2(C/O)->1). The only plant with a capacity over 2 in the current market now was the 23 nuke (N->3), and there already was one nuke plant in the game and uranium was at 8. I was hoping here that Ari would break step two open by buying another city, but he showed an amazing amount of savvy for a first time player by realizing that sitting back on 6 cities was definitely to his advantage since he could power his cities for the cheapest fuel cost of any of the players.

When I saw that he wisely chose to not break open step 2, I had to buy the 23 plant and expand out so that Ari wouldn't pull too far ahead just sitting on money. I think I ended up only actually running the 23 once. Staying on step 1 for another turn also had the detrimental effect of keeping the restock rate at step 1 levels, putting a very tight crunch on all the resources except garbage which was relatively uncontested. (We found after the game that the midrage garbage plants were amongst the plants removed from the deck at the start of the game).

Even with step two openened up, the plant market was still clogged with cruddy plants and a few turns were spent with nobody buying a plant. Step 3 couldn't be far off and we were all still hanging around 10 cities. Some decent plants finally came into the market and were bought, and around this point Eliezer and I managed to short the coal so that Ari's CCC->6 couldn't be run. This gave us a turn of catchup as he was clearly in the lead. That turn we all powered 10 cities, though Ari had 12 or so.

Step 3 started aroud now. It was to be the longest step three I'd ever seen. It usually only lasts one turn, sometimes 2. This would last 3 turns. The first turn was spend with everybody upgrading plants and expanding a little. I fought Eliezer for the 50 plant (Free->6), but in the end let him have it for 72 while buying the 32 plant (OOO->6). During the second turn of step 3, Ari had a capacity of 15, Eliezer had a capacity of 16, and I had a capacity of 17. I was behind in money though and couldn't build to 17 cities, but I was able to build to 16 with 5 elektro left over. Eliezer calculated on his turn if he could end the game and joyousless announced that he could build to 17 cities and have exactly one elektro left.

And this is why I can't play poker. I broke into a large grin when he announced that, know that if he built his 17 city the game would end, and we'd both be powering 16 cities and I'd win with $5 to his $1. Unfortunately he saw my grin and didn't buy his 17th city.

The final turn of the game had Ari sitting the last place position which would be key for making sure of being able to purchase fuel. He had to replace his 4 capacity plant with a 7 capacity plant, and I just had to make sure he didn't get the 46 (hybrid3->7) in order to ensure I wouldn't be shorted. Eliezer put the 46 up first, and I bid on it, and Ari passed, when Eliezer bid again I happily passed now that I was assuered getting my resources for the turn. I ended up buying the 38 (GGG->7), and Ari got the CCC->7. Now capacity was Ari-18, Eliezer-18, Avri-19. Everybody was able to build to 18 cities that turn, but I was left with 9 elektro, about 14 short of building my 19th city for the win. I was the poorest that game proabably paying the most for resources than the others and also falling behind in production on a turn or two.

Final Score:
Ari 18 + 100, Eliezer 18 + 45, Avri 18 + 9 (but 19 capacity)

We then looked at the time and were astonished at how long we had been playing.
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