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Power Grid: China/Korea» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Three players on the China map takes a long time rss

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Randall Bart
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Three of us sat down for a game of Power Grid. The others wanted to try the China map. I tried to dissuade them, but they had played all the others before.

I had only played China once, and that was with five players. The game is okay. It's easier to predict what will happen, and that just makes it easier for me, which does not really make for a good game.

We chose the yellow, green and red regions. This is not the cheapest possible map, but at least we left out the purple. Sorting out the plants seemed to make the setup a drag. The once the deck was set, people complained I had an advantage because I knew the plants. I kept showing people the plants to come, up through 29. (After that you can't, because they are slightly random.)

On the China map, the plant market has one less plant than there are players. With five players that is four plants. With three players that is two plants. At first glance, 2/3 is not so much less than 4/5. That's not how it plays.

One would think that both plants would be purchased on most turns. Unfortunately, some plants aren't very good. If one of the plants is unwanted, then there is only one plant getting bids. With only one plant being sold, only one plant is drawn from the deck. This meant there were a lot of turns, bringing lots of money into the game. Since everyone had a lot of money, and only one plant was desirable, everyone bid high, taking money out of the game. This went on, round after round, with the plants selling for over twice face value. The auctions took a long time, partly because players were increasing the bid by small increments. We didn't want to believe the 20 would go for 46, so it took about 20 bids to get there. Even once we realized the plants would go for high prices, we rarely increased a bid by more than 5.

The strict order of the plants means you can't just go for end game plants. You are forced to buy mid game plants to get a good income. When the end game plants finally arrived, we all had wads of cash, so the prices kept rising. Every plant that powered 6 or 7 cities went for over $100. There were two that went for over $80, too. We thought it would end on the first turn of Step 3, but we had to pay so much for plants (and fuel) that it dragged on. We played three turns in Step 3, and this was after a lot of Step 1 and 2 turns.

It just seemed to drag on for a long time. A regular three player game with experienced players takes about 70 minutes, but this took two hours. I was not impressed. I'll play China again with five, but I will discourage three player games.
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Chris Linneman
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Thanks for the insight. I've played the Korea map but not China, for the exact reason you mentioned: no one wants to play with me since I have a much more intimate knowledge of the plants than they have. I've been wanting to play it but I'm glad to hear I'm not missing much.

Out of curiosity, what are your favourite maps by player count? I haven't played maps other than Germany enough to say.
 
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Philip R
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When I play China with my friends, as well as the current market, I turn up all the plants up to 30, as if they were one giant future market.

But I do find China rather boring, most of the excitement in Power Grid is the auction and my experiences with China (5-6 players), there is no shortage of plants, so the auctions never get particularly intense.

Of Germany, USA, France, Italy, China, Korea, favourites are Germany and France, mostly for generally forgiving layouts.
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What do you think are the best maps for 2 players?
 
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