Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Power Grid» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 2-for-2, but I still don't know the rules rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Crowder
Canada
North Bay
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I only need to glance at a couple of other session reports, now that I have specific questions in mind, to realize we totally botched how we played this last weekend. At least it made for an interesting and possibly unique session.

After being none too impressed with Power Grid in my first game, I decided it deserved a second chance. My prior critique was that although it has an interesting start and end game, nothing much happens during the interim and virtually any strategy can get you to where you need to be, rendering decisions moot. I thought this might prove different if I played again, this time knowing the destination so to speak.

My wife and I defer to our husband-and-wife friends who own the game, for rulings as well as for our choice of map. In our first game we'd played France, which had seemed a fine choice for beginners, and I was ready to try any other they suggested. They chose USA, which they hadn't played much themselves since it was apparently 'not good'. I could see the problem immediately, noting that nearly all the easy builds were clustered on the east coast. I won the toss to go second and claimed the southeast sector by starting in Atlanta, after the northeast was taken. My wife chose the area to my north, and Tyler became my immediate neighbour to the west. He was the only one to build a second city; I hadn't realized that could be done on the first turn, but I'm not sure I would have built one anyway. However, it did set him up well to slip into Florida behind me if I wasn't quick enough.

I'd read another session report here on BGG where the winner appeared to succeed on the basis of investing in wind power. I thought I'd give that a try, so my first three power plants were all wind based. That took me out of worrying over resources, but the down side was that with less competition on the market the other three probably had an easier time acquiring theirs. I was able to expand into Tampa before I was cut off, and elsewhere in my immediate area, but I was surrounded after my first six cities were built. Fortunately I was told about being able to skip over other people's cities. My seventh city was isolated in Chicago, and at no small expense.

Tyler was my major competition throughout the game. He took a completely different approach, opting for expensive power plants with high resource costs, but that could power many more cities than mine. I had to keep upgrading my plants every turn while he was able to skip doing it now and then. We were running fairly equal, but as Phase 2 began there was a critical scuffle over a rule. Tyler claimed he could expand into the unused sectors to the west. His wife claimed he couldn't. He claimed they'd always played that way. She claimed they never had. I had the rules next to me and looked it up; they seem to indicate we're restricted to the areas we start in. But I didn't remember playing the France map that way, so I left it up to them. Tyler won the argument and built his seventh city in a western sector. With that resolved and the women trailing, the two of us were remarkably close to a perfect tie: same number of cities in play, our money within a few dollars of each other, both in need of power plant expansion.

The second phase opened and I was able to sweep through the northeast virtually uncontested, though my wife made some inroads from the west. Tyler was taking advantage of his wide open spaces, but they were proving expensive and I got an edge on him with my cheaper builds. His wife began moving into the borderlands herself. I gradually gave up on wind power, feeling more flush with money at this point and willing to grab any large power plant that presented itself. We'd had a weird series of draws and the plant market was getting flooded with a lot of smaller plants that couldn't power more than three or four cities, so the occasional five and six were drawing some moderate bidding battles.

I was the first to build fifteen cities, closing in the important seventeenth. Tyler made it to thirteen, and we both had capacity to power sixteen. At this point I had to play more carefully with regards to manipulating turn order. My builds in the northeast had run out (the Phase 3 marker hadn't come up yet) so I was about to be forced westward, required to skip over a couple of Tyler's cities to find more expansion room. In the next round I held off building my sixteenth so that Tyler would go before me in the turn order. Still the Phase 3 marker would not appear. One more round and the Phase 3 marker finally arrived, just in time: we both had seventeen cities, but I was told this didn't end the game until the next round (i.e. the first round of Phase 3). We could both power only sixteen, so we both needed to upgrade our power plants. Happily I was going second, behind him in the turn order. There was a 'power 6' available, the only one worth his bidding on, and after that a 'power 7' would come down. My obvious, transparent plan was to have him buy the 'power 6', so I could get the larger one and then build two more powered cities to his one more (if this strategy makes no logical sense, maybe you can resolve the question below in my 2nd-last paragraph).

The last round began. Tyler selected the 'power 6' plant. His wife bid higher. I passed to keep the bidding cheap and tempting. Tyler passed and his wife walked off with the 'power 6' plant at a bargain price. The 'power 7' came down, with another 'power 6' waiting behind it. Someone was getting the good one, and someone was getting the leftovers. My turn. I selected the 'power 7' and opened the bid. We locked eyes.

The bidding began in the forties. He outbid me by one, then I'd jump to the next multiple of five, back and forth. When it reached a hundred, I had to take stock and count my money. I wanted to build two more cities, and I still needed resources. Tyler had a full stock of resources, so he had no worries there. It didn't look like anyone could contest me for the city locations I wanted; I'd expanded beyond Tyler in the southwest, and it would be prohibitive for him to cut me off when he had the cheaper Seattle area available to him anyway. All in all, it didn't look promising for me, but I wasn't about to give up the fight.

I resumed bidding, and it kept creeping up. 110, 120, 130. Tyler's wife remarked this was getting a bit crazy. When it got to 160, I was feeling the pinch. Any higher than this and I didn't think I could power all nineteen anyway. But if I let him have it now, I was done for anyway. It didn't seem like I had any choice. I went to 165 and he kept up with me. 170, 180 ... Now Tyler wanted to get to the point. We were both being open with our cash, and he demonstrated he had six more dollars than me. His next bid leaped up to $221: one dollar more than my entire bank. The 'power 7' plant was his.

I paid less than $40 for the 'power 6'. Tyler conceded the game to me, as did our wives. In the heat of our bidding he'd forgotten to save money for city expansion. I guess knowing he didn't need resources had thrown him off about what he did still need to do.

But ... I remain a bit confused about what actually triggers the game's end in this "delayed Phase 3" circumstance. If we both have 17 cities going into the last round, would the game end immediately as soon as either of us builds an 18th? As long as I built one more (18th) powered city by playing first in the reverse turn order, even if Tyler could have built and powered two more (18th & 19th) on his turn afterwards, would I have immediately ended and won the game, 18 to his 17? In that case, this game was virtually decided as soon as the final turn order was worked out, before all our crazy bidding action. The more I wonder about this and other things, the more I realize I need to read the rulebook for myself some time.

In any case, it was a satisfying and fun conclusion, and I enjoyed this second game more than my first. I think I'd look for agreement in advance about expanding into other regions, and I lean towards "no", since I think on another map where there was more equity in building costs across all regions that this could be quite unfair. Even as it was I know the wives weren't too happy with the ruling, and I think I could have dominated the latter half if Tyler had been trapped with insufficient expansion room in our extended Phase 2. Having that restriction in place could also make a large difference to the middle game, which hasn't been very tense in these two matches I've played so far ("well duh in that case", you're probably thinking). We would have to jockey for turn ordering much more carefully, to grab our expansion locations ahead of the competition. Looking forward to a third game on a third map (and hopefully a better understanding of the rules).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Schlatter
United States
Shreveport
Louisiana
flag msg tools
badge
It's The Winslow!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not sure I follow all the rules issues above, but I'll try to help.

1) You play with the number of regions equal to the number of players (with one exception: six players, five regions). So your group should only have played in four regions. You can't even use the connections in other regions --- for all purposes, those regions don't exist. Our group chooses the regions before the game starts and marks off any connections to any other regions.

2) I don't follow at all the "delayed Phase 3". The game ends after the building phase in which one network includes at least 17 cities. The Phase 3 card is not needed to end the game. It sounds like y'all played one extra round.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eugene van der Pijll
Netherlands
Leidschendam
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cecrow wrote:
I won the toss to go second and claimed the southeast sector by starting in Atlanta, after the northeast was taken.

What do you mean by "claiming a sector"? The third player can still start in Savannah, for example, even if you build in Atlanta.

Quote:
My seventh city was isolated in Chicago, and at no small expense.

Strategy tip: if you had let another player build their seventh city first, you could have built yours almost for free next round. And because you had all green power plants, every round that Step 1 lasts, you're making more profit than the other players, so there's no need to end Step 1 yourself.

Quote:
Tyler claimed he could expand into the unused sectors to the west. His wife claimed he couldn't.

You cannot play in the sectors that were not selected before the start of the game, so his wife was right.

Quote:
One more round and the Phase 3 marker finally arrived, just in time: we both had seventeen cities, but I was told this didn't end the game until the next round (i.e. the first round of Phase 3).

This is wrong: a game can end in any Step, even in Step 1. If you built your 17th city, you're in the final round.

Quote:
But ... I remain a bit confused about what actually triggers the game's end in this "delayed Phase 3" circumstance. If we both have 17 cities going into the last round, would the game end immediately as soon as either of us builds an 18th?

So this is impossible: you can't have 17 cities going into a round, because the game would have ended the previous round. Even then: you always finish the round, so all players get the chance to build a 17th (and even 18th) house.

I'm glad you liked the game, even if you used a few "house rules".
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eugene van der Pijll
Netherlands
Leidschendam
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mschlat wrote:
1) You play with the number of regions equal to the number of players (with one exception: six players, five regions).

Two exceptions: two players, three regions.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gene Platt
United States
Houston
Texas
flag msg tools
STOP POKING MEEEE!
badge
This is not my pokerface... I'm just really dull.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The game ends at the end of the last complete round. You don't win by building your 17th (or whatever number is required in a given game size) city just before someone else. You simply become the player that triggers endgame.

Also, in a four player game, the round in which the 17th city is built is the round in which the game ends. (Again, though, you still play out the complete round in which this happens). A "delayed" phase 3 has no bearing on end of game, and in fact it is possible (though not a daily occurrence) to win before the phase 3 card appears.

I prefer to teach the new players in the following way:
1) The game ends at the end of the round in which someone builds their nth city.
2) The winner is the player who has the highest income level on that last round. (The originally written rule is confusing to some).
3) The tiebreaker is total money, followed by total cities.

The colors you selected to play in, in your game, constituted the entire map. The unselected colors should be treated as if they don't exist. It might serve you well to cover up those parts of the game in the future.

While it is true that any strategy can get you where you need to be, the question is how quickly you get there. Generally, saying "I would have gotten there next turn" at the end of the game is just another way to say that you finished last. This is a game where micro management of your money is necessary, because that one dollar you're short on one turn compounds greatly throughout the course of the game.

Finally, one concern about another rule you might have gotten wrong: The only way that your first plant could have been a wind plant would be if you played a six player game. The 13 (lowest wind) plant cannot become available on the first turn except in that size game, and you are required to buy a plant on the first turn. So your first three plants could not have been wind based.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cecrow wrote:
I only need to glance at a couple of other session reports, now that I have specific questions in mind, to realize we totally botched how we played this last weekend. At least it made for an interesting and possibly unique session.

After being none too impressed with Power Grid in my first game, I decided it deserved a second chance. My prior critique was that although it has an interesting start and end game, nothing much happens during the interim and virtually any strategy can get you to where you need to be, rendering decisions moot. I thought this might prove different if I played again, this time knowing the destination so to speak.

My wife and I defer to our husband-and-wife friends who own the game, for rulings as well as for our choice of map. In our first game we'd played France, which had seemed a fine choice for beginners, and I was ready to try any other they suggested. They chose USA, which they hadn't played much themselves since it was apparently 'not good'. I could see the problem immediately, noting that nearly all the easy builds were clustered on the east coast. I won the toss to go second and claimed the southeast sector by starting in Atlanta, after the northeast was taken. My wife chose the area to my north, and Tyler became my immediate neighbour to the west. He was the only one to build a second city; I hadn't realized that could be done on the first turn, but I'm not sure I would have built one anyway. However, it did set him up well to slip into Florida behind me if I wasn't quick enough.

I'd read another session report here on BGG where the winner appeared to succeed on the basis of investing in wind power. I thought I'd give that a try, so my first three power plants were all wind based. That took me out of worrying over resources, but the down side was that with less competition on the market the other three probably had an easier time acquiring theirs. I was able to expand into Tampa before I was cut off, and elsewhere in my immediate area, but I was surrounded after my first six cities were built. Fortunately I was told about being able to skip over other people's cities. My seventh city was isolated in Chicago, and at no small expense.

Tyler was my major competition throughout the game. He took a completely different approach, opting for expensive power plants with high resource costs, but that could power many more cities than mine. I had to keep upgrading my plants every turn while he was able to skip doing it now and then. We were running fairly equal, but as Phase 2 began there was a critical scuffle over a rule. Tyler claimed he could expand into the unused sectors to the west. His wife claimed he couldn't. He claimed they'd always played that way. She claimed they never had. I had the rules next to me and looked it up; they seem to indicate we're restricted to the areas we start in. But I didn't remember playing the France map that way, so I left it up to them. Tyler won the argument and built his seventh city in a western sector. With that resolved and the women trailing, the two of us were remarkably close to a perfect tie: same number of cities in play, our money within a few dollars of each other, both in need of power plant expansion.

The second phase opened and I was able to sweep through the northeast virtually uncontested, though my wife made some inroads from the west. Tyler was taking advantage of his wide open spaces, but they were proving expensive and I got an edge on him with my cheaper builds. His wife began moving into the borderlands herself. I gradually gave up on wind power, feeling more flush with money at this point and willing to grab any large power plant that presented itself. We'd had a weird series of draws and the plant market was getting flooded with a lot of smaller plants that couldn't power more than three or four cities, so the occasional five and six were drawing some moderate bidding battles.

I was the first to build fifteen cities, closing in the important seventeenth. Tyler made it to thirteen, and we both had capacity to power sixteen. At this point I had to play more carefully with regards to manipulating turn order. My builds in the northeast had run out (the Phase 3 marker hadn't come up yet) so I was about to be forced westward, required to skip over a couple of Tyler's cities to find more expansion room. In the next round I held off building my sixteenth so that Tyler would go before me in the turn order. Still the Phase 3 marker would not appear. One more round and the Phase 3 marker finally arrived, just in time: we both had seventeen cities, but I was told this didn't end the game until the next round (i.e. the first round of Phase 3). We could both power only sixteen, so we both needed to upgrade our power plants. Happily I was going second, behind him in the turn order. There was a 'power 6' available, the only one worth his bidding on, and after that a 'power 7' would come down. My obvious, transparent plan was to have him buy the 'power 6', so I could get the larger one and then build two more powered cities to his one more (if this strategy makes no logical sense, maybe you can resolve the question below in my 2nd-last paragraph).

The last round began. Tyler selected the 'power 6' plant. His wife bid higher. I passed to keep the bidding cheap and tempting. Tyler passed and his wife walked off with the 'power 6' plant at a bargain price. The 'power 7' came down, with another 'power 6' waiting behind it. Someone was getting the good one, and someone was getting the leftovers. My turn. I selected the 'power 7' and opened the bid. We locked eyes.

The bidding began in the forties. He outbid me by one, then I'd jump to the next multiple of five, back and forth. When it reached a hundred, I had to take stock and count my money. I wanted to build two more cities, and I still needed resources. Tyler had a full stock of resources, so he had no worries there. It didn't look like anyone could contest me for the city locations I wanted; I'd expanded beyond Tyler in the southwest, and it would be prohibitive for him to cut me off when he had the cheaper Seattle area available to him anyway. All in all, it didn't look promising for me, but I wasn't about to give up the fight.

I resumed bidding, and it kept creeping up. 110, 120, 130. Tyler's wife remarked this was getting a bit crazy. When it got to 160, I was feeling the pinch. Any higher than this and I didn't think I could power all nineteen anyway. But if I let him have it now, I was done for anyway. It didn't seem like I had any choice. I went to 165 and he kept up with me. 170, 180 ... Now Tyler wanted to get to the point. We were both being open with our cash, and he demonstrated he had six more dollars than me. His next bid leaped up to $221: one dollar more than my entire bank. The 'power 7' plant was his.

I paid less than $40 for the 'power 6'. Tyler conceded the game to me, as did our wives. In the heat of our bidding he'd forgotten to save money for city expansion. I guess knowing he didn't need resources had thrown him off about what he did still need to do.

But ... I remain a bit confused about what actually triggers the game's end in this "delayed Phase 3" circumstance. If we both have 17 cities going into the last round, would the game end immediately as soon as either of us builds an 18th? As long as I built one more (18th) powered city by playing first in the reverse turn order, even if Tyler could have built and powered two more (18th & 19th) on his turn afterwards, would I have immediately ended and won the game, 18 to his 17? In that case, this game was virtually decided as soon as the final turn order was worked out, before all our crazy bidding action. The more I wonder about this and other things, the more I realize I need to read the rulebook for myself some time.

In any case, it was a satisfying and fun conclusion, and I enjoyed this second game more than my first. I think I'd look for agreement in advance about expanding into other regions, and I lean towards "no", since I think on another map where there was more equity in building costs across all regions that this could be quite unfair. Even as it was I know the wives weren't too happy with the ruling, and I think I could have dominated the latter half if Tyler had been trapped with insufficient expansion room in our extended Phase 2. Having that restriction in place could also make a large difference to the middle game, which hasn't been very tense in these two matches I've played so far ("well duh in that case", you're probably thinking). We would have to jockey for turn ordering much more carefully, to grab our expansion locations ahead of the competition. Looking forward to a third game on a third map (and hopefully a better understanding of the rules).


Hmmm, if I were you I'd read the rules yourself before you play any game that your friend teaches you, as he is not doing a great job of it...

You can find a lot of them right here on BGG.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
tibbs2 wrote:
Hmmm, if I were you I'd read the rules yourself before you play any game that your friend teaches you, as he is not doing a great job of it...

Also read the BGG wiki page Power Grid FAQ.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Crowder
Canada
North Bay
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, we got even more wrong than I thought. Like the subject says ...

They sounded pretty certain that once a player builds their first city in a coloured region, no one else can choose to build their first city in that same coloured region (although they can expand into it later). I never thought to question that one. Maybe it's a special case for one of the expansion maps? They must have picked up the notion from somewhere. I never thought to question it.

I have no idea how I had access to wind power immediately. I'm not familiar with how the opening selection of power plants was arrived at, but there was a wind plant available when we started.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Cecrow wrote:
Wow, we got even more wrong than I thought. Like the subject says ...

They sounded pretty certain that once a player builds their first city in a coloured region, no one else can choose to build their first city in that same coloured region (although they can expand into it later). I never thought to question that one. Maybe it's a special case for one of the expansion maps?

I have all the published expansions, and none of them say this. For some reason, many people simply make up this pseudo-rule based on the fact that the number of regions equals the number of players (which isn't even true for 2 and 6 players).

Quote:
I have no idea how I had access to wind power immediately. I'm not familiar with how the opening selection of power plants was arrived at, but there was a wind plant available when we started.

Then they definitely screwed that up as well.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Crowder
Canada
North Bay
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Huh. Guess it's up to me to tell them how to play their game, lol.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nigel Clarke
England
Dursley
Gloucestershire
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The other thing that stands out from your good session report is that it appears that you assume that to win the game you must be able to power up 17 cities. In a game I played on the 5th April, 2 players had 10 connected cities and one had 9; I had 12. I could only power 12, whilst the other two with 10 could power 12 and 14, but I was watching carefully. If no-one else built more than 12 cities, I figured that I could build another 5, power 12 and I calculated that I would have more money than anybody and therefore win the game! As it happened, the 14 capacity player built 13 so I was not able to put this plan into action, as he would have been able to power 13 even if I did connect another 5, so I would lose, even though I had reached 17 first! This is what makes the endgame great - always looking to get the jump on your opponents and I have won a few games this way.
For the record, I managed to win anyway, by connecting 17 and powering 16, whilst my nearest rival could only build 15, even though he had the capacity to power 16 as well.
Power Grid, played with people who know the rules, is a fantastic game. Keep at it, it's worth it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
tex tex
United States
Houston
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

One of their ideas has merit. When playing with two husband-wife pairs, that house rule of starting out spread out in separate colours can make sense. It sure beats sleeping on the couch.

Of course, every now and then relax that rule, roll up your sleeves, and play up-close-and-personal in the cheap areas.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.