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Subject: Monopoly Power! A Power Grid solo variant session report and mini-review rss

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Robert B
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Power Grid is a great game, but with “so many games in the closet and so little time” it doesn’t hit the table very often with our gaming group. I investigated some solo options and opted to try out a variant posted by knickpoint: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/3235843#3235843 .
In this variant, the player must connect to 21 cities before the plant market runs out. There are three steps in the game: when players connect to cities 1-5, 6-10 and 11-21. As the steps advance, the player must pay a larger premium to buy a plant, pay more to build, and receive less when powering cities. Resources only refill at 1 per round, except for garbage which adds 2 per round.

Session Report:

Map: US: green, yellow and red regions (Midwest and southeast)
Plant deck: base game, randomly removed 3 from plants 3-20 range and removed 3 from 21-35 range

Round 1: Purchased plant 04 for +$5 ($9 total), acquired coal and started the game in Atlanta. Powered 1 city at -$5 power pay.

Round 2: Purchased plant 09, bought coal and oil, connected to Birmingham and powered 2 cities.

Round 3: Purchased plant 13, bought coal and oil, connected to Knoxville and powered 3 cities.

Round 4: Did not pick up a plant, bought coal and oil, connected to Raleigh, but only powered 3 out of 4 cities.

Round 5: Purchased plant 18, bought coal and oil, connected to Norfolk and powered all 5 cities.

Round 6: Last round of buying plants at +$5 – picked up plant 32 and discarded plant 04. Bought oil and added Memphis to my grid. Because this was the 6th city, it would trigger more expensive plants, more expensive building and less power pays next round. Powered all 6 cities.

Round 7: Purchased plant 29 (at +$10) and retired plant 09. Added New Orleans and Houston to the network and powered all 8 cities (at -$10 power pay).

Round 8: Did not buy a plant and did not purchase resources. Went on a building spree and added Dallas, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati and Savannah to the grid. This brought the total to 12 cities. Next round plants would be +$15, building at $20 and -$15 for power pays. Powered 10 out of 12 cities.

Round 9: Purchased plant 34 and retired “lucky” plant 13. Bought uranium and oil. Added Jacksonville and Tampa to the network and powered 13 out of 14 cities.

Round 10: Purchased plant 38 and retired number 18. Bought garbage, coal and uranium. Added Miami and St. Louis to the network and powered 16 out of 16 cities.

Round 11: Purchased plant 40 and retired plant 27. Bought uranium, garbage, coal and oil. Added Chicago and Kansas City to the grid and powered all 18 cities.

Round 12: Did not purchase a plant. Added Minneapolis, Duluth and Fargo, bringing the total to 21 and ending the game. This would have been the last round because all of the remaining plants would have been discarded. Finished with $55.

Impressions of the Variant:

This was an interesting solo variant. It does not feature a robo-player. This changes the complexion of the game for its “normal” play mode, but has the strong advantage that the player does not need to record keep and function as a robo player. It also simplifies the gameplay, as there is no need to remember a bunch of rubrics and rules for the robo player’s actions. However, it does change the experience to “beat the clock” rather than beat the opponent. The player can add or subtract to the difficulty by changing the number of plants removed in the setup (this increases/decreases the number of rounds the player has to win) or by selecting different parts of the map. The variant plays fast and although it is a somewhat different experience than playing with others, it does satisfy that Power Grid itch when opponents aren’t available.
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LotB 2002
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wow, did you bought 11 plants ??
In my normal multiplayer games I try to buy only 5 plants at all...

What was the idea behind all those plants?

JeVo
 
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Robert B
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I bought 9 total (none in rounds 4 & 12). The solo variant only allows 1 each of coal, oil and uranium, and 2 of garbage, to be replenished each round. I was trying to keep my plants diversified so the resource market wouldn't get too expensive. This is why I like to post sessions - it is interesting to see how others play!
 
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