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Subject: 3 player game - ugh! rss

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The Seal of Approval
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I had a 3-player game of PG tonight, and I have to say, I haven't had such a bland PG-game ever before!

We used the Central Europe map, and played on Austria, Czech Republic and eastern Poland (interesting choice, I know, but I don't think it made much of a difference).

There were very little interesting decisions. We got a few halfway decent power plants early on, the only crap for a long time. Because we couldn't power too many cities anyway, we didn't built many, and had turn after turn of saving money (I had about 250 in the last turn, which I couldn't spend in any sensible way).

In the end, our game newbie won on a draw of a (the only) plant powering 7 cities. There was no way we could prevent her winning, as we couldn't buy up any of the resources she needed, and we couldn't block her building either (with 3 players, there's not much to block anyway).

It was like there was almost zero interaction. Even when level 3 started, it wasn't very interesting, because suddenly, there were enough 6 plants for everyone, so we didn't even need to bid up on a desperately needed plant. I've rarely seen 3 6-city plants a turn go at face value, but we came close. One with coal, one with oil, one with trash, all nice and no conflict.

Duh.

Was this an unlucky draw of the power plants? Bad choice of map? Or something else?
Did you have good 3-player experiences?
 
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Kevin J
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It's rare that I play Power Grid with any number besides 3! Not because I want to, but because it always works out that there are always three of us to play at a time. Thus, I can't really draw a comparison between a 3 player game and a 4/5/6-player game.

One thing I have noticed though is that there will usually only be one person with a garbage/nuclear plant in the midgame. If the leader is that person, then they don't have to worry about paying more for resources than if they were last. If someone else tries to buy a second plant of that type, then it will be expensive for both of those players to power their plants, and the third player will wind up getting cheaper coal/oil since there is less competition! Hence no one wants to buy the second waste/nuclear plant until the better plants come up.

Of course, that may just be a factor you've got to take into consideration, since you can try to get the first decent waste/nuclear plant and then take a lead in cities.

And of course, there's not too much stress when building. You know that no one will completely shut you out of a city, so your only real concern is whether it is worth $5 to get a city before your opponents.
 
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The Seal of Approval
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It played much like multiplayer solitaire. While I'm fond of such games on occasion, PG simply need the tight bidding and out-building to be a great game IMO.
 
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Kevin Beckey
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I blame the power plant draw. I just played a 2 player game in which 8 random plants are removed. All 8 plants were 5, 6, or 7 Plants. Only a single 5 Plant was available before Step 3! The game stalled for us with nothing but 2 or 3 plants for a long time... eventually two 4 Plants were available in Step 2.

The power plant draw can definitely make or break the game.
 
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The Seal of Approval
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Hmmm...has anyone worked out a selection of cards to remove for a good 2 or 3 player game? I mean, why do it randomly if it risks ruining the fun?

Or something like sorting the plants according to size (but not according to fuel), and then randomly removing 1 or 2 from each stack, so the plant selection is more balanced.
 
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Throknor
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Asperamanca wrote:
Hmmm...has anyone worked out a selection of cards to remove for a good 2 or 3 player game? I mean, why do it randomly if it risks ruining the fun?

Or something like sorting the plants according to size (but not according to fuel), and then randomly removing 1 or 2 from each stack, so the plant selection is more balanced.

I enjoyed the one game of 3-player I played, though it was on the central three of Germany. I did outsmart myself by buying a second nuclear plant forcing my own price up at one point, but I was able to recover.

But I think if there is any flaw with P.G. it's the random removal, especially 2 & 3 player where 8 plants are removed. If most of them are mid-upper plants (say 25-40 ish), then it's possible for a single one of those plants to sneak in early and then have rounds of 15-30 plants that no one wants while one player is cruising with the good plant.

I don't know if I explained that as best I could, but I guess I'm thinking I'd rather do something like break up the upper plants so there will still be enough for all. For example (and I'd have to grab a deck to see if this is a good spread), two from 20-24, two from 25-29, one from 30-34, one from 35-39, one from 40-44, one from 45-50. Or maybe make it simpler and six from 20-40 and two from 41-50. Just something to help guarantee the eight removed aren't weighted heavily from 41-50.

I mostly play 5 or 6 player games so I hardly ever notice this issue, but I have seen it a couple of times. I think part of the reason to remove plants is to make the stack smaller and move it along, but sometimes certain resulting plants combination and orders can drag out the game.
 
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Jim Nave
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It seems that with 3 players (we just played our first game and so I'm no expert) that not being able to block resources is a problem. I'm imagining that this is why a 4-5 player game is better... because of more comepetition in the market... as it was, everyone powered every plant, every time.
 
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