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Subject: What is the one piece of advice you'd give to a first time player? rss

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Graham Dean
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I will shortly be playing my first ever game of Power Grid against some fairly experienced players. While I will obviously be doing my best to win, I'm not expecting to. However, I would like to have a positive experience, and get up from the table feeling that I hadn't made a fool of myself.

I have read through the rules and a few articles, but there is a lot to take in, and I was wondering if there was a short punchy list of tips (what to do and what not to do) which would be useful for first time players. i couldn't find one, so I thought I'd start one.

So come on, all you experienced Power Grid players - what is the one piece of advice you would give to a first time player?
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Atte Loikkanen
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What first came to my mind is that you don't need to have all the resources (oil, coal etc.) stored up to their max on your plants. I still do this and somehow always seem to be a little behind others in money. Just buy the resources you need and IF it gives others problems with the higher prices, you indeed should buy them!
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Atte Loikkanen
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And another thing. Try to not end up "locked" in some area of the map. If you get the chance, try to look for the cheapest place and surrounding area for your starting house. But be aware that others might bump into your paradise and try to have something out of it themselves.

So before the game starts and at the beginning have a look at the map and, if needed, ask for tips as to where to put your first house.
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Avri Balofsky
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Don't buy too many plants. You ideally only want to buy three more plants after your initial plant (though it is quite common to have to buy a mid-range plant just to get buy). Plant churn is very bad for your cash.

Capacity is king. It's nice to have cheap fuel and alternative plants, but the number that matter is how many cities they can power. Don't end up buying three plants with 3 capacity each. At least 2 of them will need to be replaced.

In short, buy fewer, better plants.
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Christopher Hill
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You want to be selective with your power plant purchases. I like to focus on plants that use resources not everyone else at the table are using. The other thing is try to keep pace with the other players with regard to the number of cities you can power. Keep an eye on your opponent's power plant capacity. If someone gets an edge they may try to build out and end the game prematurely. Remember, the victory condition is not building in the required number of cities, it is how many cities you can power when someone does build out.
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J Chav
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I think there are two main factors that help decide the winner.

A. Buy end game plants. What this means is if you are playing to 17 try to make your 2nd or 3rd plant purchase a 5 or 6. Next you will need a 6 or 7 followed by whatever number you need to reach 17.

B. Plan ahead and know how much cash you need. Often the plant you NEED comes up and you chicken out of the bid because you are worried about cash. Count up how many cities you want to build. Estimate how much your resources will cost. Subtract that from your cash and use the rest to bid!

There are a lot of other important factors like power all your cities using all of your plants if possible but between A & B you should give them a good run for their money.
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Mike Nelson
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Here is generally the strategy that I try to follow for playing Power Grid - it usually works pretty well, I've gotten either 1st or 2nd almost every time I play with my friends.

In my favorite way to play power grid, I would:
-only build cities that you can power, otherwise you are just sacrificing turn order
-get 04 or 05 plant, build 1 city (put your starting city in a area of low connection costs, even if other people surround you, but try to be able to build to about 6 cities or so)
-hopefully get a high capacity plant of 5 city capacity the next bid round or the one after that
-build up to that plant capacity (maybe even taking the city building lead or going into 2nd place)
-hopefully get another high capacity plant soon of 5 city capacity (but don't build to that capacity yet)
-then gradually fall to last or 2nd to last place before step 2 hits by not building any more cities (by having either 5 or 6 cities)
-so that you can build 1st in step 2, thereby getting first dibs on building (and buy an extra stock of resources if you're going to make a huge jump over everyone)
-then try to either keep building after this for the win, or just hold off on building until everyone catches up again, potentially even dropping back to get cheaper resources and better plants until you can make 1 more final push for the win

One of the main pieces of advice I would say is that I rarely if ever buy extra fuel resources (other than the first turn of the game if you have the 04 plant, if you know you are going to build a ton of cities to leap over everyone at the first step 2 build, or on the 2nd to last turn of the game if you know you are going to be buying resources last or 2nd to last). If you buy extra resources too often, you might be short of cash to build a city, and this is really costly - much more costly than saving a couple bucks on fuel resources.

Have fun!
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Daniel Corban
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Here is my official most basic tip I can give a Power Grid newbie:
ignore the green plants

That's right. Don't even think about it. Yes, they do have their place and experienced players will know how to value them, but newbies always, always, overvalue them. Don't touch them. They are a trap.
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J Chav
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dcorban wrote:
Here is my official most basic tip I can give a Power Grid newbie:
ignore the green plants

That's right. Don't even think about it. Yes, they do have their place and experienced players will know how to value them, but newbies always, always, overvalue them. Don't touch them. They are a trap.


Unless you can get the 13 for cost or really close to it! Just don't be afraid to ditch it.
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Travis Hall
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Uncle G wrote:
what is the one piece of advice you would give to a first time player?

Ask for more than one piece of advice.
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Steven
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I was a first time player just this past weekend! Here's the most useful thing I learned from the other players before stepping into the game:

1. Budget your money. You only get income at the beginning of each turn, which you can then spend for (a) plants, (b) resources, and (c) cities. Thank carefully about the latter two purchases before blowing all of your income in the auction.

Please note that this is not really advice for winning -- it's just a way to ensure that you won't be shut out of various phases of the game.

And three more pieces of advice:

2. When buying plants, think long term. The goal of the game is to have the most powered plants when somebody builds the 17th city. You only get three power plants. That means, to be competitive, your plants need to be powering between 5-7 cities each by the end game. Don't waste your money on the more piddling 2-4 city plants (and especially don't waste your money replacing those minor plants with other minor plants).

3. Don't expand too much in each step. Keep in mind that each Step significantly expands the map by allowing ever more cities to be built in each location. Furthermore, remember that a city is a city is a city: spending a ton of money to build one far away gives you nothing extra, but costs you a lot more. So rather than wasting money expanding your network to ridiculous lengths in Step 1 (or 2), it may make sense to wait until Step 2 (or 3) to nab extra cities more cheaply.

4. The key to the game is turn order. You'll see.
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Ben Pinchback
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It's been said a bunch in this thread, but I will concur.

Capacity.

The most common Nooby mistake I see my friends make when they're new is getting to the endgame and realizing that are out of the game because they can't hang with the number of cities the top players can power. Often times they even have tons of cash. Doesn't do you much good when you didn't hang with capacity.
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Nick King
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Don't bid on a plant you don't plan to buy.

Plan on buying 4-5 total plants all game.

Be patient, don't be afraid to pass. Buying crappy plants because you haven't gotten one in awhile is a bad decision.

Turn order is king.
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Catherine Raymond
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Never forget that the winner is NOT the player with the most cities--it's the player who can POWER the most cities after somebody owns enough cities to trigger the endgame. I believe the most embarrassing way to lose is to try to buy a lot of cities, only to have someone else with fewer cities beat you because he has more plant capacity and can power more of what he has than you can.
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Paul Kidd
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dcorban wrote:
Here is my official most basic tip I can give a Power Grid newbie:
ignore the green plants

That's right. Don't even think about it. Yes, they do have their place and experienced players will know how to value them, but newbies always, always, overvalue them. Don't touch them. They are a trap.

This is very, very good advice.

My first "ah-ha" moment with Power Grid was when I realized that the value of power plant purchase was not how good it was but how much better than the one it would replace it was. If you take your generation capacity from 7 to 8 you're not really getting that far, but if you take it from 5 to 8 you're really making progress.
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Steven
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dcorban wrote:
Here is my official most basic tip I can give a Power Grid newbie:
ignore the green plants

That's right. Don't even think about it. Yes, they do have their place and experienced players will know how to value them, but newbies always, always, overvalue them. Don't touch them. They are a trap.

How do you value the green plants? Don't you just estimate (by looking at other people's plants) how much money they'll save you by not requiring you to buy resources?
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Brad Weage
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Okay, most everything has been said.

This wouldn't be the one thing I would tell someone, but it is worth knowing and it was only slightly touched on.

You don't want to get boxed in on the board. That is more than just picking a good starting place.

Here it is:

If you think things are getting tight around you - then figure out the cheapest route through to a more open area and pay for that just that once.

Note: That may be hard to determine for a first time player, but if you get that tightening feeling, don't forget that you can expand to a non-adjacent city. But you don't want to do it, and you certainly don't want to have to do it repeatedly.
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What is the one piece of advice you'd give to a first time player?

Nobody likes to see a man cry. laugh
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jim raynor
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I would say 18 at price is good, so does an high-cap(4+) early green.
A dilemma of the green is, it helps to lower the market price, which in fact lower the benefit come from not buying reserouce.
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B C Z
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Take your starting money and put $1 into your sock. Forget about it.
Take another $1 and put it in your pants pocket. Forget about it too.

Play.

The first time you find you can't make your connection costs by a dollar, think to yourself "If I only had a dollar..." and then stick your hand in your pocket.

The second time you find you can't make your connection costs by a dollar, think to yourself "If I only had another dollar..." and then check your sock.
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Daniel Corban
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celiborn wrote:
dcorban wrote:
Here is my official most basic tip I can give a Power Grid newbie:
ignore the green plants

That's right. Don't even think about it. Yes, they do have their place and experienced players will know how to value them, but newbies always, always, overvalue them. Don't touch them. They are a trap.

How do you value the green plants? Don't you just estimate (by looking at other people's plants) how much money they'll save you by not requiring you to buy resources?


No.

If you buy them based on how many resources you will save, you will overvalue them.
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Craig Macbride
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dcorban wrote:
Here is my official most basic tip I can give a Power Grid newbie:
ignore the green plants

I believe that should be "ignore the green plants unless others are ignoring them".

If everyone ignores the green plants (or they just don't come out), the prices for oil and coal can be huge, which in turn makes the green plants very worthwhile.

Also, a green plant shields you somewhat from the negative effects of turn order so, if you expect to be near the top of the turn order, a green plant is good.
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Nate Owens
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Danath wrote:
A. Buy end game plants. What this means is if you are playing to 17 try to make your 2nd or 3rd plant purchase a 5 or 6. Next you will need a 6 or 7 followed by whatever number you need to reach 17.


QFT

The other advice I'd give is not to bid on a plant you aren't serious about buying. If you are bidding purely to bid someone up and make them pay more, they'll pick up on it and leave you to foot the bill.
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David Hoffman
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Not that you'll get away with it, and not that it's remotely unbeatable but IF you see an opportunity and IF you can get away with it (even temporarily), being the only one buying a certain type of resource can save a nice bit of money.

We played a game recently and I was the only one buying coal, I believe, for like three turns. This saved me a bundle, which I was able to use for bidding and expansion.

By the time other folks started in on coal, it was really too late. Good play by me or bad play by them? A little of both.

Basically, keep an eye out for opportunities, don't be afraid to take them, but don't wave your hands around drawing attention to it -- you just might pull it off.
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Vince Lupo
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atteloikkanen wrote:
What first came to my mind is that you don't need to have all the resources (oil, coal etc.) stored up to their max on your plants. I still do this and somehow always seem to be a little behind others in money. Just buy the resources you need and IF it gives others problems with the higher prices, you indeed should buy them!



Sometimes I buy some extra resources when I expect to be the player with the most cities the next round.
 
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