Scott Minkoff
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"Money isn't everything, but it's a tie-breaker in Power Grid!"
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When you look at Power Grid it’s easy to be distracted by the area control elements and the resource market, even by the power plant auctions. The key to this game is that while all of the above is important, the real key is managing your economy, and never spend more than you must.

Power Grid is a game where each player is a competing Power company, trying to power the most cities at the end of the game. Money is only a tiebreaker.

This goal is accomplished via several actions:
1) Buy power plants in the auctions. Every round you have the option to buy one (and only one) power plant in the auction phase. This is optional unless you don’t have ANY plants (which only happens on the first turn). Each plant converts fuel into enough energy to power a certain number of cities. Each plant is all or nothing, on or off. You can have at most three power plants (four in a two-player game). If you buy one more than your limit, you must discard one of your old plants. During the game, the plants generally get more expensive and efficient as the game goes on. You want to selectively improve your energy output, and make sure that you can output enough energy to be competitive at the end of the game.

2) Fuel your plants with resources, bought from the resource market. Simple enough: buy at least enough fuel to activate enough plants to power your cities, and maybe reserves for future turns.

3) Expand your companies power grid by buying a franchise in new cities. You do that by paying the franchise cost (10/15/20 depending on how many people are already there, and what phase of the game it is), and any connection cost from your existing grid to the new city. The game ends on the round where the first player reaches a certain number of cities (depending the number of players).

4) At the end of each round you get income based on the number of cities that you provide power to with your plants, fuel, and franchises. If it’s the last turn, if you provide power to the most cities, then you win. If it’s a tie, the one with the most money wins.

The game shines in it’s player interaction, and game balance. The player in the lead must start the first auction, and can be locked out of better plants later in that phase. The buying of resources and expanding power grids takes place in reverse order, to give last place players an advantage. You must adapt to the other players strategies and actions, as they can have serious consequences. Too much competition in either geographical areas or resource consumption can be disastrous for all players involved.

This game is all about it’s Economy, pure and simple, and that’s why I love it.

Originally posted on BoardGaming.com
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How do the resource market and plant auctions not connect directly to managing your economy?

Also, area control? Do you mean the network building?
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Scott Minkoff
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Kaffedrake wrote:
How do the resource market and plant auctions not connect directly to managing your economy?


They do, but not directly to the newer player. The different mechanics involved (auction, market) and the different elements (Plant cards, resources) distract from the underlying cost: money. It's only outwardly about the auction and resource management. Underlying that, the real economy is simply money, and not making a strategic error to get you knocked out of the game (being able to supply too few cities at endgame, or being locked into a scarce resource).

Kaffedrake wrote:
Also, area control? Do you mean the network building?


Precisely. Some people lock into the area control aspect of building the network: claiming the cheapest starting area, or trying to block other players out of strategic cities. This is not as important as the balancing of all the other aspects of the game.
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Coo review! It's one of my favorites. Very tense and I love the way everything just crunches down at the end.

I'm just wondering if Friese has another great game in him? I've played several of his other titles and none are even on the same planet as PowerGrid.
 
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Scott Minkoff
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"Money isn't everything, but it's a tie-breaker in Power Grid!"
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Man or Astroman wrote:
Coo review! It's one of my favorites. Very tense and I love the way everything just crunches down at the end.

I'm just wondering if Friese has another great game in him? I've played several of his other titles and none are even on the same planet as PowerGrid.


Me, too, but then again: how many other games are there in it's class?
 
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