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Subject: My first game of Power Grid - a great first impression rss

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Chris
Netherlands
's-Hertogenbosch
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Power Grid has just been released in Dutch and last night my FLGS had a demo from the publisher. I really looked forward to play this game and last night I finally did.

We started the game with six players and somebody would explain the game. The game was surprisingly easy to teach, with only a few rules that need to grow on you (At the end of a turn, the most expensive plant goes to the bottom of the stack of plants, saving it for the third period, for example). But after two or three turns all of us knew what we were (supposed to be) doing. The auctioning of the plants was tricky, since none of us had really an idea when we would pay too much. After buying plants, you buy resources to fuel that plant. It’s a great idea to let the first player get the first pick of a plant, but the last player the first pick of resources. Again, especially in the beginning, it’s tricky not to spend too much, because you still have to spend more in the same turn. You also have to buy cities to possibly power with your fueled plants. If you buy a second city you’ll also have to pay the connection between your cities. Again, the last player gets to pick first. Each city can be occupied by one player in the first period, when one player has 7 cities the second period starts and two players can occupy the same city. After a number of plants are auctioned off, the third period starts and three players can occupy the same city. But, the second and third player have to pay more.
Finally, you get some more money for the number of cities you can power with your fueled plants, the turn order is decided and a new round begins.

During our game, two-thirds in the first period, two players had to leave and Janneke, Arno, Peter and myself decided to continue playing. With advice of the game explainer we blocked off an extra region on the board, to maintain the scarceness of the cities. By this time, we had two runaway leaders, Janneke and Arno, and Peter and myself lingered on behind. They were making lots and lots of money and we had no idea how to get back in the game. When the second period started things opened up again for us, we could buy some more cities without paying a lot for the connections. But this also worked for the runaway leaders. Luckily, the rise in income of Peter and myself was a lot steeper than Janneke’s and Arno’s and this way we were able get to catch up a little, but it was not enough. Fairly quickly in the third period, Janneke was able to buy her 17th city and she was able to power them. Arno could power more, but only had 16 cities. Peter and myself were far behind with only 9 cities. I just invested a lot of money in a nuclear fusion plant, that needs no resources and can power six cities. My single most powerful plant, but I never got to use it properly. It did however prevent me of being last, being the most expensive plant.

Even though my crushing defeat, I really enjoyed my first play of Power Grid (the Dutch name in English would be High Voltage and it comes standard with the transformator). I enjoyed the number of mechanisms that fit nicely together and I look forward to be able to come up with strategies to win this game. Money is scarce and you have to spend it on not just plants, but also of fuel each turn and on cities and connections. The price paid for fuel is decided by turn order and demand. If you’re the only one who wants garbage you can get it pretty cheap, even when you’re last to buy resources. If everybody needs coal, you’ll get it cheap when you’re in last place, but prices can get really high when you’re in first place. Also, you have to build a network of cities. This way you can block people and force them to pay a lot for their connections it they want to buy more cities.

As I said, this is a surprisingly easy game for a game with this much depth. You have to play it to master. Since we were all new players, we were all groping in the dark here, so it was not really a problem, but I can see this game go bad when experienced players play with rookies, though.

I did not yet buy the game, since I still have a few questions about the replayability after just one game.
How replayable is this game? And where does the replayability come from?
If more experiences players could help me out here, their help will be really appreciated.
I do look forward to play again, either at the FLGS of with my own copy.
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Smies wrote:
How replayable is this game? And where does the replayability come from? If more experiences players could help me out here, their help will be really appreciated. I do look forward to play again, either at the FLGS of with my own copy.


This is one of my favorite games, Christiaan! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

This is a very replayable game. The main driver of the replayability is the random order in which the power plants come out of the deck. In some games you get low-numbered plants early and high-numbered plants late, while in other games the opposite happens. To win, you must adjust your strategy depending on the plants that come out. The power plant order also introduces a luck element, so that the most skillful player does not always win (though skill matters a lot.) If you are the only player who has not yet bought a plant, you may sometimes get lucky when a great plant comes out and has a low enough number that it goes into the current market, allowing you to buy it for list price. But on the other hand, you may get a new plant that you don't really want to buy. In addition, some games feature many early coal plants, while others may feature early trash plants or nuclear plants or windmills.

Of course, as you may know, there are various maps available, and this also introduces variety, but even with a single copy (one map on each side of the game board) you can play many times without feeling that it has become repetitive.
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Erwin Lau
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
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I just finish a game a few hours ago. My group has been playing this for several years. Granted, we have expansions and sometimes play with the new plant deck. But the basic mechanism of the game gives it different feels with different number of players and when different regions are blocked off. Even the number of players and regions are the same, the cards and first pick of cities make the games vary a lot.

We are so addicted that we need to find some excuse to say no to a game of power grid to play something new. Usually at the end we still play one game of power grid in a session.
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Sean Shaw
United States
Idaho
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I agree, excellent game, and I think it has some good replayability as well.
 
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Arnold Vincent Canaria
Australia
Kensington
South Australia
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Always nice to see another player enjoying this game The economics of the game is simple but hard to master. This is where I find the replayability: the different combination of starting regions, cities and plants always affect what overall strategy you'd want to use. Playing head-to-head over cheaply connected cities can play differently in a map with gold connections all around. Different numbers of players also significantly affect play from my experience. Do try it again sometime soon so you can make the decision to get it
 
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Mark van den Boer
Canada
Richmond
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Power Grid (Hoogspanning) has huge replay value. Part of the charm of Power Grid is that you nearly always feel like you're in with a chance and that when you lose, you tell yourself that next time you won't make that same mistake again.
It does take a while to play though and I have never been able to finish a game in the indicated time of 2 hours. Probably 3 hours is a more regular occurrence.
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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syrinx2112 wrote:
Power Grid (Hoogspanning) has huge replay value. Part of the charm of Power Grid is that [...] when you lose, you tell yourself that next time you won't make that same mistake again.


Yes, that's exactly right! In fact, Paul Harrington wrote a whole series of articles about "How to Lose at Power Grid":

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/81071
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Matt Albritton
United States
Tupelo
Mississippi
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I totally agree with Eric. Of all the games I own, it's my most played game.

Replayable? I've played 1400+ games since I started keeping track and I would jump at the chance to play another right now.
 
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Paul Edgar
Australia
Victoria
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I agree - great replayability.

Our group has been playing it for nearly two years now - still regularly requested.

The addtional maps (including downloads from BGG ) and the expansion powerplant deck can freshen things up if they get stale.
 
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