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Subject: ZZZZRTTT! A quick review! rss

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Travis R. Chance
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This game is great. It took me some time to finally sit down and play it, but I am more than happy with the experience!


Each turn, you first bid with other players for different power plants. Each plant has advantages: they cost less in their initial bid, they power more cities (from 1 to 7 cities), they cost fewer resources to power cities, they use a resource that other players aren't using, or they take no resources at all to power cities (wind power and fusion power -there is only one fusion power, the most expensive plant in the game). After every player has had a chance to initiate bidding on a power plant, you move on to the next step of the turn.

Next, you buy resources that you will use to feed your power plants. There are six resources types: uranium, garbage, coal, oil. Wind-based power plants and the one fusion-based power plant cost no resources. The cost of resources varies on a sliding scale depending how many were purchased by players in prior turns. The resources also regenerate from turn to turn.

Next, you build cities using money (called Elektro). The cities cost a set amount, and you pay both for the cost to build in a city and for the cost to build power lines to that city. There are no actual power line pieces, you just look at the connecting line on the board between cities and it tells you what it costs to connect those two cities.

Finally, you fuel your power plants with resources, which generates power for your cities. Based on how many cities are receiving power, you get Elektro. After all players have built cities, the turn now ends.

That's the overview, but there are several nuances to Powergrid that add a lot of strategy. First, the more cities you build the lower in turn order you go each round. So if you have the most cities, the other players have a chance to take actions before you. They might build cities where you wanted to build them. Or they might buy resources, which causes them to be more scarce on your chance to buy them (thus you pay more for them).

Second, you don't want to build too fast or you won't be able to outbid other players when buying new and improved power plants, which can be very expensive depending on bidding.

Third, as you build more cities, the game changes somewhat, moving from "stage 1" to "stage 2" and finally to "stage 3." In each stage, resources regenerate faster (or slower), players are able to share cities (so instead of one player controlling a city, in stage 2 two players can control one, and three players can in stage 3).

This game also changes based on the number of players. With 2, you use less of the map, whereas with 6 you use the whole board. The victory conditions also change (the number of cities you have built triggers the end of the game, with various factors affecting who actually wins).

In sum, this is a great game. Very much like Ticket to Ride in general feel, but with the added resources idea of Settlers of Catan plus the bidding aspect of games like High Society or Cleopatra. It's an excellent game, and very well made.
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Bob Melkus
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Nice review. Short and to the point. Having said that there are a few mistakes you made:

Action Phase wrote:
There are six resources types: uranium, garbage, coal, oil.


There are four (not six) resource types, this is only a typo as I see that you have listed all four.

Action Phase wrote:

Finally, you fuel your power plants with resources, which generates power for your cities. Based on how many cities are receiving power, you get Elektro. After all players have built cities, the turn now ends.


The word "built" should be replaced with POWERED.

Action Phase wrote:

This game also changes based on the number of players. With 2, you use less of the map, whereas with 6 you use the whole board.


Even with 6 player you don't use the whole map, you still use only 5 regions as you do with the 5 players.

Action Phase wrote:
Very much like Ticket to Ride in general feel...


This is not a mistake you made, it is your opinion, but I have to disagree. This game feels nothing like Ticket to Ride, other than connecting cities on the map. TTR is a light family game where Power Grid is way heavier strategy game. Mechanics of the games are totally different and where TTR comes down to how lucky you are when drawing cards, PG has almost eliminated the luck factor (except when it comes to replacing power plants at the market) and it is ALL about strategy. Having said that, this is one of the easiest games to teach to new players, and that makes it a my favorite gateway game.
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Nick Case
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bobmelkus wrote:

Action Phase wrote:
Very much like Ticket to Ride in general feel...

This game feels nothing like Ticket to Ride, other than connecting cities on the map.


Nothing like Ticket to Ride at all IMHO. The structure and mechanic of the two games are chalk and cheese. The only similarity is a large scale map with connected cities and just as a round plate doesnt make all food it serves alike, this is no reason to suggest the two games have any common game play virtues whatsoever.
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Blorb Plorbst
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To be fair, while it doesn't play at all like TTR they both involve creating connections between cities and the boards can appear similar.

PG shares a lot with train games and could be easily rethemed as one:
Power Plants = Engines.
Cities and Connections = Stations and Track.
Resources = Freight.

I love the game though I've never thought of it as a gateway game as the strategy runs quite a bit deeper than most Gateway Games.

But perhaps you're right -- it might even be the perfect gateway game for people looking for a richer experience than what Monopoly and Pictionary have to offer.
 
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oskari
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I came here because of the Skyward Sword reference but this thread does not quite seem to deliver what the title promises.
 
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Bob Melkus
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CrankyPants wrote:
To be fair, while it doesn't play at all like TTR they both involve creating connections between cities and the boards can appear similar.

PG shares a lot with train games and could be easily rethemed as one:
Power Plants = Engines.
Cities and Connections = Stations and Track.
Resources = Freight.

I love the game though I've never thought of it as a gateway game as the strategy runs quite a bit deeper than most Gateway Games.

But perhaps you're right -- it might even be the perfect gateway game for people looking for a richer experience than what Monopoly and Pictionary have to offer.


Oh, I didn't say that PG has nothing to do with train games. It IS a train game (in disguise). So I agree with you on almost all accounts: Plants - Engines, Cities - Stations, Connections - Track, Resources - engines need fuel so I still imagine that as just what it is. However it is very far from TTR because TTR is not a train game, it is just a light family game with a train theme, that is it. You've said it: a proper train game needs engines, and upgrades, and resources, and money, etc. (TTR has none of the above).

Having said that, yes the German board in PG is similar to the map of Germany in Marklin edition of TTR, and the US board is similar to TTR map, but that is just geography: Germany looks like Germany and USA looks like USA, that is where similarities of these two games end.
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