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Subject: this or the original? rss

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Tadeu Zubaran
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I`m a fan of medium/heavy euro games (Agricola and Troyes are my current favs). I played Powergrid once, I liked it but I was a bit annoyed by the fact that you must hold back a few times and that the last turns is so inviting to AP while you wait for that final sprint to end the game. I do feel I did not even scratched the surface of Funkenschlag since I played only once and my opponents were noobs as well.
Based on that what do you recommend me buying, the original one or this one? This seams to be a bit lighter then the first, did the people who already played feel that this simplification affected strategy depth and/or replayablity?
Im also curious about component quality, is it as good as the original? By the look on the videos it sure looks but I would like opinion of people who bought it.
 
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J Chav
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I'm far from an expert on First Sparks but I think this is a lighter game and more accessible. Don't get me wrong PG is my third favorite game but I think this one would see the table more.
 
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Jason Reid
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tkzubaran wrote:
I played Powergrid once, I liked it but I was a bit annoyed by the fact that you must hold back a few times and that the last turns is so inviting to AP while you wait for that final sprint to end the game.


Can't help with any AP you're seeing in your group, but the idea that you "must" hold back is false. Even as an experienced player, I've lost games to players who were basically in first place the entire game. Like you, I once didn't think it could be done, but it's possible.
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Scott Nelson
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Without the auctions as PG does it going up to where all but one quits, is a little off-puting for beginners, so it will shine in that aspect. The theme may be more or less engaging. Power is easy to see the use of, animals and food gathering might be less "cool" for some.

I think it will hold it's own quite well, and beginners will like it more, and may lead them to the heavier PG as well.
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Danilo Festa
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while playing 2p games would this one be better than Power Grid+The Robots or not? tnx!
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Tadeu Zubaran
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Thanks for the answers.

What do you think about the overall replayability in comparison with the original?

I actually don`t want a less heavy game the the original, the only (small) problem I had is that the final turns seem to stall a bit in the original.

For the theme I think both are OK, I like the original theme a bit better but not too much.

It`s my impression that being considered behind in the first spark game seem to be more important in this game then the original because of the drafting mechanic for the "factories".
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Banjo John
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I can't say anything about First Sparks, but I will say that if you liked Power Grid just at least a little, then I'd get it if I were you.

It's the one game in my collection, that has grown the most on me. The more I play it, the more I love it. It is far better now, then after my first few games.
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Tadeu Zubaran
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banjojohn wrote:
I can't say anything about First Sparks, but I will say that if you liked Power Grid just at least a little, then I'd get it if I were you.

It's the one game in my collection, that has grown the most on me. The more I play it, the more I love it. It is far better now, then after my first few games.


I most certainly will buy a powergrid, either the original or the first sparks, Im just deciding which one.

As I said I liked the game, I only have minor issues with it (even with Agricola which is my favorite game I have minor issues with). I`m the sort of player who likes to play a game many many times, and I enjoy to devise ever improving strategies.

When I first try a game the worst thing it can happen is me having a chance of winning against a veteran, I expect to be beaten soundly the first time I play.

In my limited experience with powergrid I was able to see that I barely scratched the surface.

What Im looking to find out is if first sparks was able to deal with my minor issues with the game (namely the AP prone last turns and the game of chicken to get an advantage in the market) without hindering the depth and replayability of Powergrid.
 
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J Chav
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I would bet that First Sparks would be more frustrating for you. Instead of bidding on plants you take technologies.

The way I understand how it works is the leading tribe picks one technology. Then everyone in player order says yes or no. The person with the smallest tribe that said YES gets that technology.

The difference is though (and again I'm guessing) larger tribes have at least have some advantage of being able to produce more resources then smaller tribes... then again you have to feed more to a larger tribe.

The other nice thing about PG is all the different maps. I would bet that you would really enjoy the China map. I've never had a more tight game and player order didn't seem to be too much of a killer. The main reason is, you have 1-2 plants LESS then the number of players so some people will NOT get a plant each turn. Plus there is no surprise plants as the bidding goes on.
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Nate Straight

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I'm expecting to like this considerably more than the original and for it to be considerably more subtle and deeper [despite being a simpler system]. Take that for what you will.

Everything taken out of the system was just noise. Everything added in was increased subtlety in the interactions between players forcing an added layer of player-risk management.

The chief complaint of the low-raters thus far has been that the system is more volatile and more unforgiving than Power Grid, which can only be a good thing for the game:

sakus wrote:
Also in our first game one player was deadlocked when he was able to collect exactly as much food as he needed for upkeep so he wasn't able to get any more new tools. There is a warning for this in the manual but it still shouldn't be able to happen now would it?


touko wrote:
Also, one of our players got locked into a situation were he couldn't produce any money - I mean food. I think he played very poorly, but still it wasn't good thing to see player eliminated in this kind of game...


jvdv wrote:
A fresh and interesting take on Power Grid, First Sparks actually adds a little more theme and focus to the original. However, the compressed gameplay that doesn't let up in any way the mathy-ness of the original, leads to even more angst and brainburning calculations.

This, paradoxically, detracts from the theme. The projected smoother and tighter gameplay hits frequent speedbumps as players agonize over how best to spend their very limited resources.

It is an achievement to take a true and tested gamesystem, and one of my personal favorites, and retheme and rework it into something distinctly different. The artwork is great, the components are too, and after a brief explanation almost anyone will grasp the basic rules.

However, be aware that this is Power Grid compressed, and therefore even more volatile. There is no jumping back from any setback: Missing a beat is losing the game. It is therefore a simple system, but hardcore boardgaming.
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Tadeu Zubaran
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NateStraight wrote:
I'm expecting to like this considerably more than the original and for it to be considerably more subtle and deeper [despite being a simpler system]. Take that for what you will.

Everything taken out of the system was just noise. Everything added in was increased subtlety in the interactions between players forcing an added layer of player-risk management.

The chief complaint of the low-raters thus far has been that the system is more volatile and more unforgiving than Power Grid, which can only be a good thing for the game:

sakus wrote:
Also in our first game one player was deadlocked when he was able to collect exactly as much food as he needed for upkeep so he wasn't able to get any more new tools. There is a warning for this in the manual but it still shouldn't be able to happen now would it?


touko wrote:
Also, one of our players got locked into a situation were he couldn't produce any money - I mean food. I think he played very poorly, but still it wasn't good thing to see player eliminated in this kind of game...


jvdv wrote:
A fresh and interesting take on Power Grid, First Sparks actually adds a little more theme and focus to the original. However, the compressed gameplay that doesn't let up in any way the mathy-ness of the original, leads to even more angst and brainburning calculations.

This, paradoxically, detracts from the theme. The projected smoother and tighter gameplay hits frequent speedbumps as players agonize over how best to spend their very limited resources.

It is an achievement to take a true and tested gamesystem, and one of my personal favorites, and retheme and rework it into something distinctly different. The artwork is great, the components are too, and after a brief explanation almost anyone will grasp the basic rules.

However, be aware that this is Power Grid compressed, and therefore even more volatile. There is no jumping back from any setback: Missing a beat is losing the game. It is therefore a simple system, but hardcore boardgaming.


Oh those comments are very interesting, I like that tight mean games and that bad plays are punished.

The game just skipped to 3rd place in my priority queue for game purchases.

Puerto Rico 10 years
Trajan
First Sparks

I will check more on it on the next weeks, with some luck we get a review from a good reviewer like eekmouse or Metzler.
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Tadeu Zubaran
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Any comments on the components? There is a trend on the companies of putting sub par components in games to see if it sticks with the costumers. The game looks good on the videos.
 
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Jason Reid
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NateStraight wrote:
The chief complaint of the low-raters thus far has been that the system is more volatile and more unforgiving than Power Grid, which can only be a good thing for the game:


Ooh, nice. Thanks for compiling those!
 
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Alain Baum
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tkzubaran wrote:
Any comments on the components? There is a trend on the companies of putting sub par components in games to see if it sticks with the costumers. The game looks good on the videos.

Having played the game in Essen, I cannot complain about the components. There are custom wooden meeples for the player pawns and resources, and the tiles are nice and thick. The technology cards are thin, but they aren't handled too much during a game.

With the exception of Power Grid's paper money, there is no 2F game that has been lacking components-wise in my experience. Compared to other new games, PG:FS was also much cheaper (26 rather than 35-50 Euros).
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Richard Dewsbery
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tkzubaran wrote:
I actually don`t want a less heavy game the the original, the only (small) problem I had is that the final turns seem to stall a bit in the original.


I've played it twice so far, and twice other players were clearly playing to stall, hanging back a bit, playing conservatively etc.

I won both games, leading from the front for a good portion of each game. There seemed to be too much, not too little, food available, from which I took it that players are being too cautious with expanding - only expanding one or two meeples when they should be looking at 3 or 4 (and therefore they should have been worrying less about being last in turn order).

Like Power Grid, getting your power generation capacity (food gathering capacity) too far out of step with your number of cities (clan members) is bad; it's inefficient done the one way, and suicidal done the other. But you need to take a few chances to elbow your opponents out of the way.

In last night's game, I was fairly sure that I'd bought the wrong technology cards yet still built to 13 clans while everyone else was trying to manouvre around having 9 or 10 so they could go first/last on the next turn. Guys, I'm not going to let you get a next turn if I can help it! So perhaps my buys weren't so bad after all.

First Sparks is clearly less "mathy" than Power Grid. Although you still need to do some adding up when placing new clan members on the board, and need to think about retaining some food for the next turn, it's nowhere near as bad as counting up all those connection costs, or trying to work out if you can afford to bid 34, but not 35, on a particular power plant and still build where you hope to.

Overall liking it a fair bit, but doubt that it will eclipse Power Grid for the people who want to play a rich, 2-hour long economic game. For those that want a taste of Power Grid in an hour, though, it works just fine.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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RDewsbery wrote:
...

I'm far from being an expert of Power Grid (played it only once) and I have 4 games of First Sparks under my belt.
I can only confirm what you say. In all the games (and I mean all of them), the guy(s) trying not to expand to avoid the first place in turn order failed miserably.
This game seems to be a lot about trying to put yourself in a position where you care at least as possible about being first to allow you to expand as much as you want.
 
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Tadeu Zubaran
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Thanks for the thoughtful comments.
 
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Danilo Festa
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some words about 2p game?
 
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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After one game :
- need for a 3rd neutral clan with associated rules
- other adaptations (remove some cards, smaller market, ...)
- very good sensations but less interesting than 3+ configurations (personal taste)
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Danilo Festa
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tublefou wrote:
After one game :
- need for a 3rd neutral clan with associated rules
- other adaptations (remove some cards, smaller market, ...)
- very good sensations but less interesting than 3+ configurations (personal taste)


thanks! meeple
 
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The Soot Sprite
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RDewsbery wrote:
For those that want a taste of Power Grid in an hour, though, it works just fine.


That sounds perfect for me!
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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I'm now batting 3 for 3. The "connection costs" of Power Grid are gone, replaced by an increase in the cost of spreading a clan member into an already-occupied space.

Like Power Grid, you don't really want to be 1st in the turn order if you can help it; but the game is shorter, the technology deck exhausts quicker, and there's a lot less time to play footsie with the other players. If you're careful with the areas you build into, and the tools you're holding, going 1st isn't so bad.

Tip for my opponents - don't give me an easy ride, allowing free access to cheap areas of the map; I *will* win if you do that.

Oh, yeah - and stop with all the "hanging back, I want to be last in the turn order" - especially on the turn that I'm planning on building to 13 or 14 to finish the game; all you do by playing that way is guarantee that you're finishing 4th or 5th.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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This is what I have experienced too.
 
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