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Subject: Returning to Power Grid after a while away rss

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Merric Blackman
Australia
Waubra
Victoria
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I like expansions. I really do - and I buy them for games that I like. I'm currently sitting at owning four expansions for Power Grid, which has been sitting on my shelf at home rather than being played for the last year and a bit.

Urgh.

Anyway, Jesse's been urging me to bring Power Grid into Good Games Ballarat for a while now, so I acceded to his request last Saturday. I was also able to have a game of it. Hooray!

Unfortunately, Jesse was working, so he could only watch this game between Nash, Marcus, Harley and me. I was the only person who'd played the game before. Harley and Marcus soon understood the basic mechanics of the game, but they never quite managed to convert that understanding to a strategy that would lead them to victory: they bought plants for too much and that wouldn't help them power 17 cities.

Early game: Merric=green, Nash=purple, Marcus=yellow, Harley=black

One effect of Marcus's and Harley's enthusiasm and lack of financial sense was that Nash and I really had to fight for the good plants. As with many games of Power Grid, the plants came out in waves: a few nice plants would come out, then we'd have two or three turns with horrible plants, and then the good plants would come back again.

The plant-buying went as follows:

TURN 1: Merric #04, Marcus #05, Nash #07, Harley #08
TURN 2: Marcus #13, Harley #10
TURN 3: Harley #11, Marcus #15, Nash #16, Merric #19
TURN 4: Marcus #21, Harley #23
TURN 5: Harley #24, Marcus #25, Merric #26, Nash #36
TURN 6: Nash #17, Harley #20, Marcus #28, Merric #30
TURN 7: Nash #35, Marcus #40, Harley #42, Merric #50
TURN 8: Marcus #32, Nash #38, Harley #46

As you can see, Marcus and Harley went for new plants almost every single round... There were one or two rounds where no-one bought new plants, but my notes don't indicate when they were (one was in Stage 1, the other in Stage 2, both times when the plants were dreadful).

Midgame: Merric=green, Nash=purple, Marcus=yellow, Harley=black

Meanwhile, on the board, Nash was claiming the east coast of the USA whilst I started in the centre-north, with Marcus and Harley to the south of me. As Stage 1 ended - triggered by Nash - I grabbed a couple of extra cities to take me to 8, with Nash on 7, Harley on 6 and Marcus (who was mostly blocked) on 5.

It was pretty obvious to me that only Nash or I could win, and I did my best to try and restrict his expansion opportunities; inadvertently aided and foiled by the inexperienced play of Marcus and Harley. (At times, they may have been actively working to stop both of us, but generally they were just claiming the cheapest cities they could).

Nash and I traded the lead back and forth, and got very anxious about the powerplants on offer. I was very worried about Nash's #36 (3 coal->7), although plant #30 (3 garbage->6) was keeping me in the running.

Nash "let" me get plant #50 for about 60 Electros, and promptly took #35 (1 oil->5). I would have very much liked to have connected up all 17 cities at this point, but I was very much short of money. I had the power for 17 cities, but I couldn't connect them. The trouble came in the next round, when Nash bought #38 (3 garbage->7) and could potentially power 19 cities. Harley and Marcus were far short of the total; so it came down to me and Nash.

I miscalculated: acting before Nash, I could have bought 3 extra garbage (I had the money) and made his costs more for running his new plant. I connected my extra cities to take me to 17, placing them so that Nash would have trouble getting cheap links... and then it was Nash's turn.

Nash's final placement took about 10 minutes as we all peered at the board, looking to see if he could connect to 18 cities. It took so long because he was so close: he needed 4 more cities, but he was 1 Elektro short! Eventually he conceded that he couldn't connect all the cities and the game was mine: I had 72 Elektros left to his 23, and won with us both powering 17 cities.

End of game: Merric=green, Nash=purple, Marcus=yellow, Harley=black

I'm very glad to play Power Grid again. It's just heavy to transport around - especially with the poker chips I use for money. (Red=50, Black=10, White=1).
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John Bandettini
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London
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That one not so much
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The Power Grid Principle
At some stage in every game you ever play of Power Grid, you will be 1 Elektro short of being able to do what you plan to do.
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Jeff Weber
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Nice report! I'm still new to the game I try to get some good insight from these.

Question: Would buying the 3 extra garbage have raised the price enough to prevent Nash from powering 17 ? I'm assuming so.

If not, it seems like it would have been a bad move since the game came down to a tiebreaker with money. Buying extra garbage would have just depleted your end of game cash.
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