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Subject: The Great Wall of America rss

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This played at Halesowen Boardgamers 2 April 2008.

On the final table, Gordon joined Steve, Matt, Jonathan & I for Power Grid. It's nice to play this with him again as we always seem to have good games. In this case, the board was the USA, with Power Plant deck 2. The North East region was eliminated.

After the initial purchase of power plants, I ended up second in the revised player order (hence fourth in the forthcoming purchases) having bought the number 6 plant, which seems a much better choice than in the original deck powering 2 cities as opposed to the original 1, particularly in the 5 player game, where the initial refresh rate of 3 will bring the price of trash down quickly. Having bought fuel Gordon placed on the east coast with Jonathan in the Duluth/Minneapolis area and Steve, I think somewhere around Kansas City. There seemed to be enough action in the east so I set up in Billings and Cheyenne expecting that Matt, going last having picked up plant 7 would take a place somewhere south of me. Instead he set up between Gordon and Steve making things very crowded in that part of the board.

Moving on some 4 capacity plants came on the market and I was able to pick up number 30 after dropping out of bit of a battle with Jon for plant 27, I was a bit reluctant to give up my trash monopoly, but 27 still only used 1, so hopefully the price would still drift down and I didn't really expect to be using number 6 for that long a time.

It was at this point that things started to wobble a bit. I was able to build down to Denver and Santa Fe, creating a North South wall with everyone else on one side needing to pay large connection costs to get to the other side with me, I also picked up Seattle and Boise to give me 6, while on the other side of the wall Gordon also had 6 but was hemmed in on the east coast and the others had 5 each. This was good, but the bad thing is that I was always first to pick in the plant auction and for a couple of turns I was faced with nothing that would power more than 3 cities and ended up passing. Plants were bought, however with Matt in particular who had missed out on a better plant earlier at one point sitting on 5 capacity in 3 plant perhaps thinking even 3 capacity was a good deal. The result of this was that Jon and Steve, going later in the order were able to capitalise when high value plants dropped at the end, leaving me with the crap again when I picked the following turn.

I have to admit that I was beginning to think that the game had got away from me when I was still sitting on 6 capacity and everyone else had gone past me. Jonathan was sitting on 14 with Steve on 11; also Steve had picked up no.21 and was starting to buy a lot of trash. Significantly though, I had only bought 2 plants, whereas others had bought 4, also I felt confident that I was managing to run more efficiently up to that point, so while the situation remained there was no incentive to trigger step 2.

Things eventually broke with Steve taking the plunge and breaking through the wall to bring his total to 6 and then triggering step 2 on the following turn. Coinciding with this, some good plants became available and I finally expanded my capacity to 11, quite cheaply after dropping out of an auction with Matt which had gone up to about 60. It was also at this point that the step 3 card appeared; meaning both the 15 & 20 sites would be available when we came to build. I settled with building to my 11 capacity and would have been in trouble at this stage if the game had ended, because my capacity was still one of the lowest, but Steve who was the only one to follow me did not have the cash.

The following turn the game ended. I picked up a 7 capacity plant and finally retired no.6 which had served me well since the beginning. Going into what was the final building, Matt had gone to 17 capacity, I had 16 with Gordon on 15 with Steve (who had not increased) Jonathan still sat on 14. I was able to build to 16 cities, while the others built to 15. I had underestimated how much extra cash I had made early on by running more efficiently and buying fewer plants than anyone else. Gordon won the second place tie break, while Steve took 3rd by one elektro.

Scores Dave 16, Gordon 15++, Steve 15+, Matt 15, Jonathan 14.
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