Eli P 14 + $29, Yitz 14 + $10, Avri 14 + $2, Mory 4
I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to actually win Power Grid, there are only many different ways to lose that you discover each time. The one who makes the least fatal errors furthest from the end game wins.
This was Eli's first game of PG, and also the first game he's won at a game night. Well done there.
I started with the 4 plant with two cities in the North East, Yitz had the 5 and started with 2 cities as well in Savanna/Jacksonville. Mory won the 7 and started a bit West of Yitz, and Eli with the 8 went West of me. Step two was broken as soon as possible by Eli who had the most room to grow. This helped me since I got trapped in with only 5 cities as the folk who start in New York tend to be.
Mory kept buying new cities even though he couldn't power them yet, giving him poorer selection in power plants and never getting his capacity high enough to be in the running to win.
Towards the end game I had the highest capacity, and I was in 4th in turn order, but I couldn't end the game that turn (short $15 for the mathematical win). For some reason that meant to me that the game would definitely go another turn, so I double stocked on all resources to last me through to the end game. Since I started buying all the resources everybody else did to. The resource market was entirely drained of everything except uranium by the time it got to Mory, and he had no resources to power anything except his green plant that powers 4 cities. This was a lot of monies. We all spent so much on resources that we couldn't expand out as far as we would have liked. I could power 17, but I could only build to 14. Yitz could power 15 or 16, but also could only build to 14. Then Eli gleefully ended the game, and built to 17 cities even though he could only power 14 of them. At that point Mory just bought more cities for the heck of it and ended with 16 cities, capacity for 12 of them, and only 4 of them actually powered.
I've never seen an empty resource market before. I'm glad I was short on the mathematical win though, those wins are always so anticlimactic, this was much more exciting
Eugene van der Pijll
There are actually 44 ways to lose at Power Grid.
We will meet at the Hour of Scampering.
If you're looking for any, one thing to say that will always be true for victory, you're right. However:
1) Always be aware of your location, it's expansion possibilities, and places where you can get cut off, and where you can cut off opponents.
2) Always pay attention to what fuel is highest in use. If you want to try a "fuel" strategy, buy into that type of plant, and always make sure you have the fewest cities. If you want to avoid the fuel issues, make sure you invest in other types of power plants.
3) Do not expect to be able to expand, buy a new plant, and obtain fuel on a single turn. In most cases, you will not be able to, and will have to alternate turns. Pursuant to that, make sure you buy the new plant before you have the cities for it, as this way you'll be lower in fuel-purchase and placement order, when it comes time for that new plant to earn its keep.
4) If you find yourself confined to a certain part of the board, try to prepare yourself for the turns on which Step 2 or Step 3 seems imminent. That is, do not find yourself without expansion funds just when you get a chance to break free.
5) Stay focused during power plant auctions. All that glitters is not gold. If a power plant fits your strategy perfectly, it's usually best to pursue it single-mindedly, and if a power plant looks really great, but does not fit your strategy well, do not chase it. (Except perhaps to jack the price up.)
6) Do not purchase power plants that do not get you closer to the amount of cities powered needed to win the game. That is, do not waste money on a power plant that powers 3 cities to replace a power plant that already powers 3 cities, simply because it's a better option fuel-wise. You'll only get to buy so many plants during the game - keep your purchases on an upwards curve towards the total needed to win the game. To this end, you're usually looking at 3 "steps" during the game, for power plants - the 1- or 2-city plants, the 3-5 city plants, and the 6- or 7- city plants. Don't waste time and money on "lateral improvement".
7) Either stay very close to the leader, city-wise, or jump well ahead of everyone in income. Anything else, and you will lose.