The bi-weekly meeting of the Kanata board gamers had a good turn out with 11 people. 4 went off to play Settlers, another 4 tried out Goa, which left Mark, Raf and I to play Power Grid. Mark owned the game and had only played once, while Raf and I were trying it out for the first time.
Seeing as how we were all fairly new at the game, the auctioning phase was hardly a worthwhile part of the game as we were never quite sure how to value the power plants which came up. Throughout the whole game, Mark only contested one of my auction bids and made me drive the price up an extra 10 Elektros. Otherwise, everyone got all their power plants that they chose without any opposition.
After the initial power plant purchase, my "4" power plant made me the lowest in turn order so I ended up being first to choose on the map. We used the yellow, purple and red sections so I went up north to Minneapolis, figuring the low connection costs to nearby cities would do me well. Raf grabbed Dallas and Mark took Kansas city.
After the first turn, I grabbed a power plant to fuel 2 more cities. While I knew that being the leader would give me disadvantages going forward, I also couldn't help but want to fuel as many cities as I possibly could and get the moeny for it at the same time. I started connecting cities so I would always run at full capacity. Next round I picked up a windmill to power another 2 cities so built those up. After that a 4 city for 1 oil/coal pushed me up to 8 cities and into step 2.
I figured I liked getting money and my opponents always stayed a few connections behind me, avoiding the dreaded first turn as leader position. I did find because of the variety of power plants available and the ease of winning auctions, I did not suffer that bad. I paid a little more for resources, but since I had more cities and was making more income, it made up for that fact.
At the end of the game I was sitting with 12 citites, Mark with 10 and Raf at 9. I traded in my 2 city windmill for a 4 city windmill to bring my capacity up to 14. This was a mistake I realized as I should have purchased a more expensive but higher capacity power plant (like the 7 city 3 garbage plant) Mark meanwhile grabbed a 7 city coal smokestack. Looking over I could see that his capacity was up to 21 cities! But he also was a little cash strapped. He bought enough resources to fire up his plants this turn and next turn and started connecting a few cities. He was 1 Elektro short of connecting 3 cities so he only connected 2 bringing his total up to 12. Raf connected another 2 going to 11. Knowing that next turn, Mark would use his income to sweep across the board, I forced the end game by connecting 5 cities for 100 Elektro and bringing my cities up to 17. I could only power 14 of those cities, but that was more than Raf or Mark had connected and so I won.
It was likely because of our inexperience, but I felt that as a 3 player game, this game wa slacking in decision making. There was always enough variety in the power plants that no one felt like driving the auctions up especially since they usually wanted to see if something better came up. It also felt like resource scarcity wasn't much of an issue either. Raf collected some coal but usually was buying garbage. Mark and I were always buying coal and oil, but usually not at the same time. In the end, it seemed that buying big power plants and connecting as many cities as possible was the simplest and most effective strategy but future playings will hopefully prove me wrong.