Unique titles I've played in 2018
Four of us played Power Grid two weeks ago for the first time and we ended the game partway through step 2 as it was getting late. The first game took some time for teaching and moved fairly slowly. We played our second game and did get through the whole thing though it took about 2 hours and 45 minutes. We had to spend 15 minutes reviewing the rules and the first several turns were very slow as everyone got back into the swing of it.
Once we were going though, the game was great. We all learned some things our first time through (keep in mind that some of these things we "learned" may not be totally accurate for experienced players, but they were true in our game). What we "learned" from the first game:
- I bought renewable plants early to avoid buying resources which was mostly good, but I overpaid a bit and then resisted replacing my wind plants and didn't grow very fast.
- Some of us got bogged down in the exact same area of the board early and were somewhat stuck until step 2 started.
- We kept buying and replacing plants and I'm not sure we always got a good return on our investment.
- We didn't really pay attention to who needed which resources.
This time around, everyone was more calculated with what we were buying. We all had somewhat similar plants and quantity of cities through the first several turns of the game. Then, something interesting happened. Ma had been buying plants to power 8 cities but only owned 4 cities. At the end of a turn, she bought 4 or 5 cities, powered 8 left us all in the dust while we were powering 4 and 5.
At first, we all thought it was kind of a dumb move and was going to bite her because she would be the first player everytime. However, she ended up with SUCH a major money advantage over the rest of us that turn order didn't seem to matter much for her and she was first player for the rest of the game. She just bought whatever she pleased at whatever price. None of us were ever able to get close and she ended the game fairly quickly.
Ma - 16 cities powered
Me - 13 cities powered
Mo - 12 cities powered
D - 11 cities powered
At least it was close for the rest of us. Afterward, we all realized that the biggest mistake was allowing Ma to build in the region of Germany where the connections are very cheap (around Essen) without ANY competition. I don't think that will happen again. The top two regions were the closed regions. D and I love this game and Mo and Ma appear to like it too. I think we've found another favorite to go along with Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence.
The ratio of people to cake is too big.
Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler...
Glad to see you enjoying such a great game. There were plenty of typical first game mistakes, but they'll come with time.
1. There's usually competition for the cheap cities, because well, they're cheap. The lack of competition is what makes the more expensive connections viable for the 1 or 2 players who avoid the competition.
2. Don't worry too much about the resource market. It's not usually worth the effort to over-buy just to drive up the price for the next player. Only really pay attention if the goods you need will be completely gone.
3. The concept of "end-game plants" is one that will really improve your games. You can only have 3 plants at a time, and you need to get up to 15-17 cities at the end game. So you should be looking at plants that power 5+ (and maybe a 4 depending on the how the game flows). Upgrading to a plant that powers 1 city to a plant that powers 3 cities, only to replace it 2 turns later wtih a 4 then a 5, is terribly ineffecient. Obviously the game system forces the good plants to the end game during the bureacracy phase, but you should be really careful not to buy too many plants in the mid-game. My general plan is after my first 3 plants, to only buy 1 (maybe 2 depending on how the plants come out) that I don't plan on using at the end of the game. More than that and I'm wasting money and giving my opponents more opportunity to buy good plants as I clear the market for them.