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Subject: Power Grid: 2 First Timers and a Seasoned Player (You guess the outcome) rss

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Ryan Metzler
United States
Glendale
Wisconsin
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POWER GRID PLAY 1

Well, I've grown tired of looking at my blank avatar. Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to beg for GG. And so begins my quest to post enough session reports/reviews of games to earn myself the right to self-representation through silly images! And so that brings us to my first play of Power Grid, a game which has been lingering on my list of games "to try". Two nights ago I had the luxury of finding a friend with the game, and meeting up to get a quick session in. Here are the results:

Upon arrival, my girlfriend and I found the game to already have been set up by our friend. Not an optimal situation for us, as we like to see how set-up goes...but ok, no biggy. We sit down, choose our colors (she chose black, myself green, our friend yellow) and prepare to play. Our friend has chosen the Germany map for the significance which Germany plays in the gaming world.

Selection of the playing area goes relatively quickly, limiting play to the turquoise, brown and red regions of the board. After placement of initial cities (which I failed to place properly, costing me for the rest of the game), my friend found himself in the red area un-opposed by any other player. This led to an easy development and expansion strategy, as his central city was surrounded by cheap paths to adjoining cities. My girlfriend and I were in close proximity, limiting the ease of expansion and crippling my game play (although she flourished).

The first turn went what seemed to be normally, with some minor bidding for coal powered plants to power 2-3 cities. At the end of the turn, everyone found themselves to be able to build, and power, one city. Turn order changes, placing myself in first (boo), my girlfriend in second, and our friend in third. This marked the last time at which said friend would not be first throughout the game.

Subsequent turns saw the gradual rise of our friend in both ability to power cities and the amount of cities built. He had amassed a combination of hybrid plants which were allowing him to power the entirety of his cities on 3-4 coal/oil per turn. My girlfriend was expanding nicely, working with nuke and oil to power her cities after progression in to the second stage (triggered by our friends purchase of 7 cities). Myself...well...lets just say my starting position and horrible attention to my remaining money left me somewhat behind (I believe i had 5 cities or so when everyone else hit 8-10).

Continued play saw more of the same, our friend expanding and powering for cheap, my girlfriend doing her best to keep up using nuke and free power, myself struggling to maintain adequacy. Phase 3 hit and, with trash starting to get cheaper, I bought in to some trash powered plants. Our friend and my girlfriend continued on the same path, building and powering as they had been the whole game. A cheap buy of the 5 city free power plant boosted my money situation, allowing me to quickly expand up to 15 cities. However, at this point both my girlfriend and friend were sitting at a comfy 16, waiting to end the game.

End game rolled around with our friend purchasing and powering 18 cities. His plan was to purchase and power 19 (well within his powering capability), but slight money mismanagement and miscalculation put him a mere $1 short of purchasing his 19th city. Being a combination of both lucky and brilliant, my girlfriend capitalized on this error...expanding from 16 to 19 cities in the final round. Able to power all 19, she squeaked away with her first win...in her first game. I myself ended at 15 cities, but learning a great deal about the strategy and gameplay.

End game results:

Myself (green + novice) : 15
Girlfriend (black + novice): 19
Friend (yellow + experienced): 18


I rather enjoyed this game. I do believe many more sessions are in order...but first I think i'll pick up my own copy and study the board layout a bit more to develop a strategy. I am convinced I lost due to bad starting placement rather than strategic errors during the game. Either way, I think kudos go to my previously non-gamer girlfriend who managed to squeak out a success on her first try at a game which was very new, and very unique, to us.

Thank you all for your read, I hope you enjoyed this first entry in to my hopefully soon to expand line of game session reports.
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Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Nice report and kudos to your girlfriend for winning. One thing that can help at the very beginning is to buy the cheapest power plant available. If you are only planning on building and powering one city in the first round, then you should buy the cheapest power plant to put yourself last in turn order. I couldn't tell if you played this way or not, but after the first power plant auction finishes you should change the turn order based on the plants you bought before purchasing from the supply and buying cities. That is a rule we mis-played for a while and it makes a big difference. Not only will you get cheap energy and first pick on the board, if you tie on the number of cities you build you'll be in the best position for the next round as well. Of course these are all subtleties that would be hard to pick up on your first play through.
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Björn Steffen
Switzerland
Zürich
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Hi,

Thank your for sharing your thoughts.

Quote:
After placement of initial cities


I'm not sure, but it sounds as if you played with a free starting city?

However, the first round of Power Grid goes like this:
1. Randomly determining player order
2. Auction power plants
3. Determine player order
4. Buy resources
5. Build one or more cities
6. Bureaucracy phase

Regards

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Ryan Metzler
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Glendale
Wisconsin
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I appreciate your concern. However, we did PURCHASE initial cities, following the layout as you have specified.
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