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Subject: As boring as we remember? rss

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Matt
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My friend bought this game a few years ago. We played it a couple times but it has sat on the shelf ever since those initial couple of plays. We recently pulled it out with a bunch of other games but couldn't bring ourselves to play it. We both remembered the game as being kind of boring with not much going on. When I told him about the game's ranking on BGG, he was shocked. We both agreed that we should probably play it again at some point to see if we had missed something way back when, but we have precious little time for gaming these days and our group would generally much rather play something that we know is going to be a good time rather than possibly waste an hour or two.

Is there something that we likely missed that would make the game seem more exciting or involved? It was a long time ago so I can't really recall too many specifics but if there's some aspect of the game that is often over looked by new players, that may be it. Or maybe this just isn't a game for us.
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Henrik Skärnell
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Hi,

I had exatly the same experience as it seems you guys had the first time. The game sat on my shelf for a couple of year before we tried it again. This time we had a great time.

The problem the first time was that we just played a two player game and it does not make the game justice. I like it when there is 3-4 players.

The game mechanic is really good since the leading player is always punished by buying resources and cities last so the games are usually very close which is fun. There is lots of strategy going on when the game draws close to the end if some resources are almost depleted, where you have to decide what position in player order is most beneficial, if you should power all your cities or save resources until next round if there is a shortage of a certain resource and so on.

Usually the game is not that fun if it is played in the wrong way. If several players knows some strategy it will be much more fun and you will experience a really tense and fun game.

Maybe you should all read some in the strategy thread and then try the game again.
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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The following thread by Paul Harrington, "How to Lose at Power Grid", is a good one to read if you want to learn what people like me who really love them game find interesting about it:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/81071/how-to-lose-at-pow...
 
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Richard Smeltzer
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On the odd occasion when we failed to discard plants at the beginning of the game, or forgot to remove them when no plant was purchased, the game has tended to drag.
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Dan C
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If you only played it 2p, you haven't seen all the game has to offer. Also, it's really easy to get the rules wrong (procedures involving the power deck removing cards before/during the game, etc.) so definitely have the FAQ handy. Lots of good player aids are available in the files section as well.
 
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Bob Melkus
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It depends what kind of games do you like. If you enjoy railroad games, than this is the game for you, as it is a rail game in disguise. I never tried with two players because I didn't even like it with three. With four or five players it is an awesome game.

The mechanics are good. Luck is almost eliminated (as much as it can be in a board game) and it all comes down to strategy. And yet, the rules are not too complicated. In fact it is the first game I play with someone who never played boardgames, as understanding the rules is pretty simple. Having said that, the way rules are written can be confusing so you should have FAQ thread handy (or even printed out). http://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Power_Grid_FAQ

The only problem for me is that I suck at math, and there are a lot of calculations in this game, but it is still one of my favorite games.

My advice - give the game another go. Make sure you have four players and make sure you're playing it correctly. Also don't choose only the regions with cheap connections as this makes the game too short and chaotic.

Hope you enjoy it. And give us feedback once you've played it again.

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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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We just played a game today in which the margin of victory was 2 electros.
 
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Matt
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I'm pretty sure we had at least 3 in our early plays, maybe more. I can't remember who all played. Though it may just not fit in with the kinds of games we generally play (Puerto Rico, Carson City, Arkham Horror)

The group I played with last night seemed pretty dead set against this hitting the table again when I brought it up. I'll try to see if I can convince them because I do really want to give this another shot. Ticket To Ride makes plenty of appearances with this group so I would think this would fit if it is indeed another rail game.
 
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Eric Brosius
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Matt, you should try to play it with people who love the game, just to see what the enjoyable part of the game is.
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Bob Melkus
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BillyLiar1010 wrote:
I'm pretty sure we had at least 3 in our early plays, maybe more. I can't remember who all played. Though it may just not fit in with the kinds of games we generally play (Puerto Rico, Carson City, Arkham Horror)

The group I played with last night seemed pretty dead set against this hitting the table again when I brought it up. I'll try to see if I can convince them because I do really want to give this another shot. Ticket To Ride makes plenty of appearances with this group so I would think this would fit if it is indeed another rail game.


Ticket to Ride is a family game. It is way lighter than Power Grid. I enjoy Ticket to Ride when I want to talk, and play at the same time, but when I'm in the mood to truly play (which is 99% of the time), than TTR is just too simple, too light. If your friends enjoy TTR than I can see why they might have a problem with PG.
 
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Dan C
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Yeah, Ticket to Ride is not regarded so much as a railroad game (despite the theme) but as more of a light set collection game. "Railroad games" are usually heavier strategy economic affairs that might be more than you're looking for - Power Grid is in more in that vein. I really enjoy both TTR and PG, but very different kind of games.
 
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Matt
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Like I said, this group also enjoys Puerto Rico, Carson City, and Arkham Horror, so it's not really the heft of the game that would stop play. I might just have to hit up my LGS and see if I can find some people to play there.
 
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Jack Burton
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I'm trying desperately to figure out what our group is missing about this game. We love the look, we love most all of the different aspects of the game, but every game we play we know how it's going to end long before someone even gets to 17 cities.
2 player games are worthless as we've found out and even three player games don't offer up much of a game either, since everyone can get anywhere even if it costs them a little more (and since this is going to happen to everyone at some point, it really evens out). I played a few games at Origins and GenCon with four and five players and they played a bit better (how couldn't they?), but I could still see how the game was going to end well ahead of time.
We played last night and it was obvious only two of us were anywhere near close to winning the game, with it looking like I had the upper hand...which to none of our surprise is what happened. My brother was in third place and I intentionally didn't bid up good plants that I knew he could use just to see if it could help him even get back into the game and even me just conceding these plants didn't help him, nor keep me from continuing to win the game.
I'm just looking for some answers because my group loves to play all kinds of games and this is one of them that we're all still scratching our heads on after numerous plays with all numbers of people...to the point that it's like pulling teeth even suggesting to play it anymore.
Thanks!ninja
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Dan The Man
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My experience is that the game devolves into a rush to buy two 6+ power plants. Depending on the deck used and some other circumstances, once this is accomplished the rest of the players just go through the motions waiting for the people who can win to do so, or occasionally playing kingmaker.

The key to the game seems to be to have the most cash on hand when these limited edition plants come up for bid, near as I can tell.

In a half dozen games, I might have bought one, and that one after the win was secured...

The rest of the game, the irrelevant part, I do quite well at, and have had a fun time at that, but I do not play games I cannot at least compete at, and this is one of those games.
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Eric Brosius
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The Clown wrote:
I'm trying desperately to figure out what our group is missing about this game. We love the look, we love most all of the different aspects of the game, but every game we play we know how it's going to end long before someone even gets to 17 cities.


Typically, it's not easy to get power plants that will power 17 cities. Are you randomly removing 8 plants from the deck when playing with 3 people, or 4 plants when playing with 4? If you don't do this, it takes a lot of the tension out.
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Eric Brosius
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Here's a link to this year's final game at the World Boardgaming Championships. The margin of victory was 3 electros:

http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook/pgdpge.htm

In 2010, the margin was larger at 13 electros:

http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook10/pgdpge.htm

In 2009, it was 24 electros:

http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook09/pgdpge.htm

In 2008, it was 2 electros (whew!):

http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook08/pgdpge.htm

You may be able to see what experts do by reading some of these reports. Perhaps you will get some ideas that will bring tension back to your games.
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Daniel Shuler
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Eric Brosius wrote:
The Clown wrote:
I'm trying desperately to figure out what our group is missing about this game. We love the look, we love most all of the different aspects of the game, but every game we play we know how it's going to end long before someone even gets to 17 cities.


Typically, it's not easy to get power plants that will power 17 cities. Are you randomly removing 8 plants from the deck when playing with 3 people, or 4 plants when playing with 4? If you don't do this, it takes a lot of the tension out.


Yep, we do all of that. And as you can see, it hasn't really helped.shake

I'll check out those links you put on there to see what's going on in those games.
Thanks!
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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You should get rid of it. The great thing is that there are a ton of people that will want to trade for it.

PG is one of my favorite games, but there are a ton of games that other people love that I don't like. Tastes vary. Don't sweat what other people think, there are enough games to go around.
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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sisteray wrote:
PG is one of my favorite games, but there are a ton of games that other people love that I don't like. Tastes vary. Don't sweat what other people think, there are enough games to go around.


This isn't just a matter of taste. It's common for games among experienced players to be decided by margins of just a few electros (as illustrated by the links I provided.) If they are seeing much, much larger margins of victory, something objective is happening---it's not just taste.
 
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Eric Brosius
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djbast wrote:
I'll check out those links you put on there to see what's going on in those games.


I have also written a large number of detailed, play-by-play session reports for Power Grid and its expansions that you might want to check out.
 
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Pete Martyn
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My friends and I have the rules right and usually manage pretty close games...but when it comes down to it, Power Grid just doesn't grab me in the way that every other game in the Top 20 does. So yes, maybe it's just not your style.

For me what it comes down to is that Power Grid is ultimately a game about optimizing one's development, which is all well and good if you like that but leaves me feeling a bit bored. Don't get me wrong, I've had fun playing it, but compared to other similarly-rated games, the tension just isn't there. There are very few turns in a game of Power Grid that seem agonizingly important, or that we'll be talking about for years to come.
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Morgan Dontanville
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Eric Brosius wrote:
sisteray wrote:
PG is one of my favorite games, but there are a ton of games that other people love that I don't like. Tastes vary. Don't sweat what other people think, there are enough games to go around.


This isn't just a matter of taste. It's common for games among experienced players to be decided by margins of just a few electros (as illustrated by the links I provided.) If they are seeing much, much larger margins of victory, something objective is happening---it's not just taste.


Sure, most of the time. But I've seen games where it wasn't a close margin.

All in all it doesn't matter. If his group thinks that it is boring, then there is no sense in keeping it.
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Paul Doherty
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I kind of agree with the OP; PowerGrid always ends the same way and seems almost scripted in that regard (a final rush to power those last cities with everyone calculating what they need to spend/power). It just isn't as great of a game as I thought when first playing it a few years ago, and I've found I prefer games with multiple paths to victory.
 
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Eric Brosius
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Well, I'll admit that on the "Ameritrash scale", Power Grid hardly moves the needle. It's a game of efficiency, timing and knowing when to take a chance on the next power plant flip. I have memories of many of my games, but they're on the order of "remember when I trashed a perfectly good coal plant because I couldn't get fuel, and replaced it with a plant that didn't need fuel, and still won?!"

I like that kind of game, though, as you can probably tell.
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pdoherty wrote:
I kind of agree with the OP; PowerGrid always ends the same way and seems almost scripted in that regard (a final rush to power those last cities with everyone calculating what they need to spend/power).

We're discussing Power Grid. Sometimes it's just a rush for cash, sometimes there's a resource squeeze. I've seen a game won by a player powering 9 cities. I've seen a player pay $180 for a plant to win the game. If what you are playing plays the same way each time you play, you are not playing Power Gird.
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