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Subject: first play a.k.a. "It's the market, stupid" rss

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Michael Griffith
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This was our first play of Power Grid. The game started a little clunky, since none of us had played before, everyone was feeling out the rules, and there were a lot of silly auction moves going on.

Blue (came in last place) seemed totally enamored by the power plant market, and started in Las Vegas. Midwest and Northwest were not active this game, so he was really stuck over there with high connection costs.

Red (me - came in third). I invested too heavily in power plants and did not manage the auction/resource/building balance well. I had a couple turns where I powered less than all of my cities, as well as many toward the end where I had +7 power plant vs. current cities in my grid.

Green and Purple both finished strong, but I think that Purple had a better starting location (Jacksonville - go figure!), and I know that Purple unwittingly had a great balance in the first few turns of economy. She really jumped out to an early lead and always had the resources and plants to power those new cities. Later on, her balance waned a bit and Green caught up.

A couple of things we didn't see coming:
nuclear Near the end Purple had enough Electro and the intent of buying her 17th city, but I convinced her to not do so - if she did Green would win since she (Green) had better plants. I helped her with hopes that I could stage a comeback.

trash Blue and I (red), mismanaged purchasing power plants because we didn't think of them in light of the resource market. Our plants were "better", but due to lack of scarcity the girls were still only spending 15-20 bucks to fire their plants - and they had it.

coal Market manipulation! It did not occur to blue and I until late that we could screw the leaders by buying up all of the resources they needed. We were able to prolong the game a couple rounds with this, but still not enough to claw our way back.

What I would do next time.
I have the promo cards, and may put them in the mix on our second play. In choosing regions, I think having Midwest and Northwest eliminated made for a weird scenario. Blue was all the way over in Las Vegas and I started in Philadelphia. We never were going to compete over turf with each other (maybe why we teamed up in the end).

I very much liked this game, and I think even though it is heavier than what they are used to, our guests enjoyed it as well.
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Wally Jones
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Beware of strong market manipulation. It is a double-edged sword.
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Blorb Plorbst
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Sounds like a good first experience! You'll find you learn more from your losses in this game than from your wins.

griff199 wrote:

I have the promo cards, and may put them in the mix on our second play. In choosing regions,


I'd hold off on doing this until you know the game better.
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Shawn Garbett
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Rygel wrote:
Beware of strong market manipulation. It is a double-edged sword.


Yep I had some spectacular losses that way. Managed to buy up entire markets so everything was outrageous, meanwhile cutting the board in half and making it impossible to get cities till phase 2 starts. All the critical raw materials were outrageous if available. Every face at the table stared it me with angry intent. After that the game dragged for over an hour till it broke out of the bog I put it in. Everyone worked together *against* me, and I of course lost.
 
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Randall Bart
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griff199 wrote:
I have the promo cards, and may put them in the mix on our second play.

Don't.

griff199 wrote:
In choosing regions, I think having Midwest and Northwest eliminated made for a weird scenario. Blue was all the way over in Las Vegas and I started in Philadelphia. We never were going to compete over turf with each other (maybe why we teamed up in the end).

A rule you may have wrong: No one is required to start in the Southwest, and generally if you start there you will lose.
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Michael Griffith
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Barticus88 wrote:
A rule you may have wrong: No one is required to start in the Southwest, and generally if you start there you will lose.

I did point out that he didn't have to start there, but he was unshakable.
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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griff199 wrote:

I have the promo cards, and may put them in the mix on our second play.
As mentioned above, stick with the base game for a while until you all have some more experience. Try with different regions in play, flip the map over to Germany, but don't start adding promo cards for quite a while, if at all.
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Michael Griffith
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Karlsen wrote:
don't start adding promo cards for quite a while, if at all.

Do the promo plants ruin the game or change it so fully that it no longer is "Power Grid" or something? You seem to be in the majority on this one, but still, seems odd to me.
 
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Alex Drazen
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Quote:
A rule you may have wrong: No one is required to start in the Southwest, and generally if you start there you will lose.


Not always. Just played 5-player a couple nights ago with the Northwest (purple) region on the USA map eliminated. Everyone else was tight along the east coast. I was last to build in Round 1, so unlike everyone else, I just built one house (instead of two) in Oklahoma City, picking up Kansas City and Dallas on the next turn, and Houston soon after. That effectively choked off the west coast as mine and mine alone for the entire game, letting me move in there during the final two turns to get to 15 cities, since most of the rest of the map was majorly blockaded.

Unfortunately, everyone saw me coming and ganged up on me, handing the win to a new player, the only other person who could power 15 cities... he beat me by a measly $3!

I was running on nothing but the 10 (2 coal, 2 cities), 25 (2 coal, 5 cities, which I got at cost!), and 24 (2 garbage, 4 cities) for the entire game until the last turn... mostly because only useless/crappy plants were coming up on my auction turn, or the bidding was being run up by 30-40 electros on the good plants and I was a little short on cash all game. I ultimately picked up the 39 (1 uranium, 6 cities) at the end, but the winning player bid me up (the sneak) despite his not needing a plant. The problem was that I probably couldn't not take it -- the 50 wind had been sold, I needed a 6+ capacity plant, and the other remaining plants were resources that could be bought up entirely (I was last to buy resources) - yes, even garbage! -- which would have shut me out of powering a new plant in the final round. Especially since one new player lagged far behind and just bought all the resources he could "to screw as many people as possible" out of his bitterness at being in last place.

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Steve Duff
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alexdrazen wrote:
I was last to build in Round 1, so unlike everyone else, I just built one house (instead of two) in Oklahoma City, picking up Kansas City and Dallas on the next turn, and Houston soon after. That effectively choked off the west coast as mine and mine alone for the entire game, letting me move in there during the final two turns to get to 15 cities, since most of the rest of the map was majorly blockaded.


Obligatory "there is no 'blocking' or 'walls' in Power Grid, all the other players could have built right through that line of cities any time they wanted to".
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Alex Drazen
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Quote:
Obligatory "there is no 'blocking' or 'walls' in Power Grid, all the other players could have built right through that line of cities any time they wanted to".


Well, yes, but it was going to cost something like a total of 40-50 electro to do it (two expensive connections, plus the 10 to build), as I picked up Santa Fe as soon as anyone got near me.

This only really applied to Step 1, of course, since the 15's opened up later, but everyone kept crowding up the cheap connections in the east all game, rather than fight me (and my early-to-build position for most of the game) for the expensive ones.

My point was since I had established a very expensive perimeter, it kept away all competitors.
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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griff199 wrote:
Karlsen wrote:
don't start adding promo cards for quite a while, if at all.

Do the promo plants ruin the game or change it so fully that it no longer is "Power Grid" or something? You seem to be in the majority on this one, but still, seems odd to me.

Some of them, e.g. the 33 1/3 can add a lot of variation which amongst experienced players could be fun, but very disrupting to new players.

Similar with the expansion maps, well worth playing after people have the base game down pat. This way they know what the base game and rules are then you are just applying a modification instead of possibly confusing people about what the base rules are.
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Sam Carroll
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And for that matter, the France and Italy expansions are rather less disruptive than the new power plants.
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Randall Bart
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alexdrazen wrote:
Quote:
A rule you may have wrong: No one is required to start in the Southwest, and generally if you start there you will lose.


Not always. Just played 5-player a couple nights ago with the Northwest (purple) region on the USA map eliminated. Everyone else was tight along the east coast. I was last to build in Round 1, so unlike everyone else, I just built one house (instead of two) in Oklahoma City, picking up Kansas City and Dallas on the next turn, and Houston soon after.


You didn't start in the Southwest.
 
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Alex Drazen
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Quote:
You didn't start in the Southwest.


It was pretty much the only way I could go, with the Northwest eliminated, and the other four players hogging the east coast. I didn't start there, but in Step 1, it was the cheapest region for me to expand, and I did plan on being the only one there for a long time (and in fact was the only one there for pretty much the whole game).

I think you probably could start in the southwest if the Northwest and North-Central are open, as long as your next move is up to Cheyenne/Billings and nobody else is in the NW. But that's probably pretty unlikely.
 
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Steve Duff
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alexdrazen wrote:
Well, yes, but it was going to cost something like a total of 40-50 electro to do it (two expensive connections, plus the 10 to build), as I picked up Santa Fe as soon as anyone got near me.


I understand, it's just that so many people get the rules wrong, I like to point it out so that future readers don't get the wrong impression.
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alexdrazen wrote:
...Especially since one new player lagged far behind and just bought all the resources he could "to screw as many people as possible" out of his bitterness at being in last place.
Bitterness? I prefer being in last place late in the game.
 
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Alex Drazen
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Bitterness? I prefer being in last place late in the game.


Well, he could only power something like 10-11 cities in a 5p whereas most of the rest of us could all power 14-15. So by "in last place," I mean, "pretty much realized, too late, that he was going to finish dead last no matter what he did." Hence his buying out the resource market "for the lulz."
 
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