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Power Grid» Forums » Variants

Subject: Alternate Ending - The Cash Conversion rss

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Huge fan of Acquire... trying to get into Power Grid.
Only played a few times, but I find the ending and winner a little random.

Has anyone considered when some one gets 17 cities... convert all to cash to decide the winner...

Have no idea yet what values would make since but something along the lines that powered cities = 100, unpowered cities = 25.
Add to your cash on hand. Winner is the person with the most money.
I would consider alternate values.

Also it seems to me you should be penalized for having a city and not powereing it in a turn. What city would allow a power company to choose not to power it. There would major $ implications...

Again I am a Power Grid Noob. Just my thoughts. Any Ideas?

Love the game play but dissapointed by the ending.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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I suggest two things (and no offense meant here!):

a) Play Power Grid by the original rules at least 10 times.
b) If you want to play Acquire, play Acquire. Do not mess with Power Grid rules.

Power Grid is all about finding the balance between built cities and plant capacity. Your conversion doesn't make any sense. This game isn't about the richest, it's about the better investor - you need to invest your money wisely to power the most cities.
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Welcome to the Geek! One bit of advice, if you are planning on discussing variants to a game, it is best to do it in the variant forum.

Otherwise, you'll get response like mine!

GOODGUYTOO wrote:
Huge fan of Acquire... trying to get into Power Grid.
Only played a few times, but I find the ending and winner a little random.


I don't find much random about the end of the game. If you are surprised you aren't paying attention. You know what cities everyone has so know when they can end the game. You know what plants they have, so you know what they can power. Most people play with closed cash so that would be an uncertainty. But you can still drive the price of resources to hurt a potential player from winning the game. You also need to manipulate the turn order so you can get what you need to win.

So I think the game is perfect as is.
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Daniel Corban
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I find that one of the keys to winning this game is knowing which turn could possibly be the penultimate turn. This allows you to either win on the next turn, or cause the game to extend an additional turn.

It's definitely not random, but I believe you when you say you feel this way.
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Sometimes you will lose money by powering that last city with a big plant, or spend fuel that you might not want/be able to buy for the last turn.

If you have a plant that takes 3 coal, and another plant that takes 3 oil, and you find only 2 coal and 2 oil in the market, then you should have planned better ;-)
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I wasn't surprised by the ending per se.
We had a game where one person was $100 short of winning on one turn.
Went another round and the person who one the last auction won, etc.
Another game where someone failed to upgrade the lowest plant a turn earlier, etc.
I have seen the mistakes that can be made...
Just seems a lot hinges on the last auction.
Agreeded that I need more expereince on the game.

What about my comment on deciding to not power a city. How would that be possible without incurring a huge penalty in real life? Seems highly unrealistic,

Playing as a family without the experience of others, So I was just trying to figure out the ending. From other reviews I have read others also say alot hinges on the last auction and a $100 swing can be a game changer... Just wishing it wasn't that way I guess...

I'll play more by the rules and see if i warm up to it.
PS.... just looking for some discussion, not trying to anger anyone.
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Laurence Parsons
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If someone was $100 short of winning, then he wasn't really anywhere close to winning. $100 is a huge amount.
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Richard Dowdy
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GOODGUYTOO wrote:
Also it seems to me you should be penalized for having a city and not powereing it in a turn. What city would allow a power company to choose not to power it. There would major $ implications...

My theory is that if you don't power a city, it doesn't mean the city suffers a blackout for that month (or however long a turn represents). You're providing the power for that city by buying it from some third party energy exchange and reselling it to your customers. This allows you to meet demand, but doesn't have the profit potential that generating it yourself and controlling the whole pipeline from resources to energy production to distribution does. Such a scenario explains why you make a little money even when powering no cities, rather than losing it to overhead, idle power plants, customer lawsuits, or whatever.
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The last auction can be very important, but usually isn't all that random. Yes, the person who goes last in the auction may get exactly the plant that they need to win...but most of the time in my games, the last auction gets to the point where there are a few great plants that people fight over, and it comes down to who has the money to a) buy the plant they need to have the most, and b) still be able to buy the fuel they need, and c) still have enough money left over to buy any remaining substations they need. So you get these dramatic final round auctions, and money is still very significant near the end, even though the money doesn't directly decide the win (except in the case of a tiebreaker).

But earlier auctions can be equally important. Making the right power plant purchases, to build up capacity faster than the other players, is very important and very tricky to do against good opponents. Often you'll see a few great plants drop early, and the bidding for them can be very intense; overbidding can cripple you, but letting an opponent get one of these early great plants too cheap can give them a big advantage, so these early auctions can be equally critical.
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good guy
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Sorry meant $1.
Now I really sound like a noob. Oops!
 
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Power Grid can leave some flat as the game at first blush appears to be a power plant company simulation. Some are disappointed when they find out it is not a simulation, but an abstract game with auction, space-control and scarcity mechanics (among others) with a power plant theme pasted on.

Nothing wrong with trying to improve the simulation part of the game out of the abstract Euro that it is as written. I enjoy the game as written, but long ago accepted the fact that it isnt a business simulation, and the ramp up to the final turn is simply an artifact of this Euro.
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Jake Waltier
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GOODGUYTOO wrote:
I'll play more by the rules and see if i warm up to it.
PS.... just looking for some discussion, not trying to anger anyone.

Welcome to the Geek, where games are serious. laugh

Really though, you are welcome to do whatever you want with your game to make it fun for you and your family. I routinely make up little house rules for this game or that. However, a lot of work went into making this game fun, so you should give it a fair shake and learn the ins and outs of how it plays out, if only to have a better shot at making effective house rules. 10 sessions (20 hours) of a game your family doesn't enjoy is a lot to ask, so you won't hurt my feelings if you just try different house rules or move on to something they will enjoy. Have fun!
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Thread moved from General Forum to Variants Forum.
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Eric Brosius
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It seems you might want to peruse Paul Harrington's series on "How to Lose at Power Grid". It's a humorous way for Paul to convey just how much is going on (and how much that initially appears to be luck isn't.)

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/81071/how-to-lose-at-pow...
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Daniel Corban
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Keep in mind that Power Grid is essentially an auction game. The boardplay is secondary.
 
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good guy
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Question... What % of games come down to a tie and comparision of cash.
Might be higher than I thought anyway.

I recant on the cash conversion part of my original post.
Seems like a bad idea now.
Had a great game last night. Before I read the how to lose.
I discovered 3-4 ways on my own in one game.

1. Bought 7 and 8. Bad idea.
2. Was in the lead the whole time. Not as great as I thought.
3. Locked up Capacity for 17 early to take the final auction out of play or so I thought.
4. My 12 year old son monopolized coal by buying 10 in one turn. Thus I couldn't power all my cities. Had 16 ready to end the game but could not.
5. Next auction I had to switch out that plant. He bid me to $1 over his cash amount. Had no choice but to pay it.
6. My wife waiting in 3rd the whole game won since we destroyed our chances.

So the game was much deeper than I thought... I hadn't encountered the severe scarcity of resources before on the forced buy auction.

Also never really realized that game ends when 1 person gets 17 cities, but you can still build and power 18, 19 in that last turn.

THE HOW TO LOSE THREAD WAS A GREAT READ AFTER OUR ENLIGHTENING GAME.

With all that said I still think the following proposed house rule might add realism to the power simulation.

If at any point in the game you choose to not power or cannot power a city you previously powered you must pay $10...per city due to the black out.

This rule doesn't prevent you from building a city but not powering it...That would be like infrastructure constructed but not online yet.

Not sure how this would change the game and if $10 is the correct penalty, but to me that makes since from a power supply standpoint.

Thanks for the post especially the link to the how to lose post.
I hope to discover more losing ways in the near future.
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Nate Straight

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GOODGUYTOO wrote:
With all that said I still think the following proposed house rule might add realism to the power simulation.

If at any point in the game you choose to not power or cannot power a city you previously powered you must pay $10...per city due to the black out.

This rule doesn't prevent you from building a city but not powering it...That would be like infrastructure constructed but not online yet.

Not sure how this would change the game and if $10 is the correct penalty, but to me that makes since from a power supply standpoint.


The problem with an idea like that is that the game already has a built in balancing mechanism to provide an incentive for players to power as much as they can; namely, you don't get any profit if you don't power a city that you have built.

That's an economic cost just like your proposed penalty is, only it is an implicit one [profit foregone] rather than an explicit one.

Another obvious problem is that you would have to start keeping track of which cities you've powered. As it is, it's an arbitrary count.
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I understand....The reality is if you get in a position where you are powering less than before, you seem to be losing ground and in a bad position anyhow! So it likely would be double penalty...

Don't know the game needs it. Just doesn't make sense that you can decide to not power a city you did before...One reason is that you don't get full value from it and resources are more than the gain in powering, it... But I can't imagine a power company being able to not power a city because it doesn't make financial sense that month.
So in this case you would be forced to power to avoid the penalty.. and would then have to get your resources again next turn.

Don't think keeping track would be that hard.
You only need to know if you were powering less than last time... The actually cities wouldn't matter since I am saying you can have more cities and unpowered cities without penalty, you just can't power less than the turn before. So it could even reset.

Turn 1 power 6
Turn 2 power 5, $10 penalty
Turn 3 power 5, could be $10 penalty or even no penalty. I think I like no penalty for a second occurrence.

I am not sure how the game would change or if it even comes up that often. Just an idea that to me makes sense... Maybe penalty is only $5.. half the city construction cost??
 
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NateStraight wrote:
Another obvious problem is that you would have to start keeping track of which cities you've powered. As it is, it's an arbitrary count.

The notion of "which cities you've powered" is strange anyway, since you simply specify how many cities you're powering, rather than naming specific cities.

So really his proposal seems equivalent to keeping track of the maximum number of cities you've powered so far, and then penalizing you if you power fewer than that number.
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Nate Straight

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GOODGUYTOO wrote:
I understand....The reality is if you get in a position where you are powering less than before, you seem to be losing ground and in a bad position anyhow! So it likely would be double penalty...


Yes, exactly.

More like a triple penalty, actually, because there is yet another implicit cost, in the sunk construction cost of having built that city that you don't intend to / cannot power, in addition to the lost profit from not powering it.

Quote:
Don't know the game needs it. Just doesn't make sense that you can decide to not power a city you did before...


It's not particularly common for a player to go backwards in number of cities powered. It happens, but usually as a result of miscalculation in adding up the costs for that turn, or failing to account for a potential resource / map block.

In other words... it's not common for a player to "decide" not to a power a city when they have the resources to do so [though that, too, does happen occasionally]. It's usually a player being forced not to power because they're in bad shape.


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GOODGUYTOO wrote:
With all that said I still think the following proposed house rule might add realism to the power simulation.


As far as realism goes, consider this:

Any city you don't power still has its energy demands met by a 3rd party not involved in the game (ie a public utility company/crown corp). Those city still have all the lights on, but because you didn't generate the power, you don't get paid for it.
And/or the 3rd party might kick you enough cash to use your infrastructure to cover operating costs, but at zero profit to you.
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NateStraight wrote:
It's not particularly common for a player to go backwards in number of cities powered. It happens, but usually as a result of miscalculation in adding up the costs for that turn, or failing to account for a potential resource / map block.


On the second-to-last turn a player might not run a large plant if they can see that they will likely be unable to acquire the fuel for it on the next (last) turn. I agree, though, that it's often a sign of poor planning (or rarely a sign that your plans changed dramatically on a plant drop.)

It doesn't matter how many cities you power throughout the game, it only matters how many you power on the last turn. Powering cities during the game is only important if you need the income.

Now that would be a violently different game: get 1 VP every time you power a city. It would make the penalty for jumping ahead in city count so very much lower...
 
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Was beat again by the entire table conspiring to take all the coal at the end. Again led by my 12 year old son, he needed table help this time.

They then knew they had to end quickly so it ended that turn in a three way tie (before the money tie-breaker) with each of them powering 13 cities. I had the capacity for 17 but was short 1 coal by the tables plan. Came in last.

Is the shortage of coal a common theme. It can happen very quickly if the table wants it too. I guess I could have not powered that plant the turn before to save the resources (didn't see the shortage coming as there seemed to be alot of coal the turn before). I was killing all with money.

So this to me even adds to my theory that powering less cities than before should cost you money. Next time if in a big lead I plan to conserve resources before the final push... And that strategy I think should have a finacially penalty.

Might add it to our games to see how it plays out.

Not sure the appropriate value of the penalty.

10...for the first
9.. second... and so on...

I also sorta like the 1 VP per powered plant by round too
...
Game makers develop variants all the time (for $30)... Why can't we/I fiddle a little without receiving the scorn of the entire power grid community??
 
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Well, if everybody's using the same resource, then yes, it's common for that to run out. Coal is particularly susceptible since its replenishment rate drops in the late game.

However, if you were "killing all with money", then it's solely your fault. Not only should you have recognized the possibility that you'd get locked out, you were in prime position to eat the losses necessary to address it (buying more resources, switching resources, or simply not running a plant). Note that this strategy does have a financial penalty attached, within the bounds of the game as it exists.

As for the last question: much of the PG community in this case, and developers in the general case, have a level of experience that you don't. Suggesting that the entire endgame be thrown out while simultaneously noting that you're a "Power Grid noob" -- well, I'd think the issue there is obvious.
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Point Noted and Agreed, I am not qualified yet to complain.
I can see if some noob started posting that the endgame of Acquire was busted.. I would let em have it.

I am just still struggling with the end game dynamics...
I could have ended the game earlier... but it seemed somewhat conniving.
I really wanted to let it run full course and power 17+ cities...
I was playing against kids, for crying out loud, two of them for the first time, so i was helping them, and to some extent even helped them beat me, but was still shocked when it actually worked.

You are correct... I could have easily won this game by not powering the plant. The others players were hurting for money and honestly could't really afford all the coal they bought that last turn, but did so just to keep me from winning at the urging of my 12 year old. He actually won.

So in one turn it seems like 18 coal were bought and I went from first to last and the game ended... In affect the 2nd place player my son, used the 2 other players to defeat me... He was the only player that could afford 17 cities after the great rush on coal.

I am about to give up on coal...at least against him.





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