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Subject: A Mordachai Session Report - The power of the even numbers rss

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T Jesper Edmark
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Power Grid - Session Report

I recently managed to grab a win with the 20 plant running most of the game, the 30 plant running the last three turns and the 50 plant to get me to 17 capacity last round. It was a beautiful game that I just had to share.

The game was played on BSW the 8th November with the three northern (purple, yellow and brown) territories on the USA map in play.

1st Round
I got the no. 4 plant (2 coal => 1 city) the first turn for 6 electros while the others bought the no. 7 and 8 (both with a capacity of 2). Since I had first pick of city I chose Omaha, thinking that neither of the players would be interested in the western (purple) area when the other two areas has so much cheaper connections. I were right, they started out in Philadelphia/New York and Cincinnati/Detroit respectively.

2nd Round
The second round I got the no. 13 (wind => 1) for initial price and decided I would make an aggressive stab into the east, depriving the other players from getting all the cheap cities. I built connections to Minneapolis and Fargo, becoming light (as BGG user kubigaruma would say) but making sure a jump past me into the purples would at least cost 33 electros.

3rd and 4th Rounds
For a couple of turns there were only really crappy plants in the market so I abstained from buying only running my two plants. I connected to Duluth to get another cheap city as the other players had four cities each, so I would still be the last in play order.

5th and 6th Rounds
Then I got the no. 20 plant (3 coal => 5) and built myself up to six cities, taking Cheyenne and Denver. A jump past me to Billings would now cost 36 electros, a cost that was quickly paid by the opponent that had Chicago. The six city stall was then in effect for one turn. I had bought the maximum amount of coal I could store (10) the turn I bought the no. 20, so I had plenty of coal left for the stall. For the rest of the game I made sure I had a full or close to full storage of coal so I wouldn’t be deprived in the end game.

7th Round
On the following turn I got no. 23 (1 uranium => 3) plant and demolished the no. 4, bringing me to a capacity of nine. I followed through taking the last three free cities (Seattle, Portland, Boise) and getting income for nine cities (98 electros) while the other players got income for six (73 electros) and five (64 electros) respectively.

8th to 11th Rounds
Two turns later I got the no. 30 plant (3 waste => 6) and built myself to eleven cities (Chicago and Cincinnati). I immediately started hoarding waste for the same reason I hoarded coal. The plants in market were real crappy, so in spite of my capacity of 14 I ran my 11 cities another turn (turn order is important as you all know) before expanding to 15 cities (Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston). I had actually intended to go to 16 cities, but miscalculated by 1 electro.

We all ran 14 cities for another couple of turns waiting for better plants to surface, taking us to stage 3.

12th (last) Round
So with the last round coming up I had 15 cities, fuel enough to fire both the 20 and 30 and only needed a 6-plant to get me to 17 capacity which was good since there were only one (unless I missed one) 7 capacity plant in the deck. On the market the no. 50 (fusion => 6) were the only 6 capacity plant on the board. Both of the other two players had 14 capacity, one needing a 6 plant and the other a 7 plant. I decided to overbid the no. 50 with 20 electros and lo and behold, the others passed!!! Up comes the 5 capacity wind plant and that sealed the deal. The financial count after the game showed that even with another 6 capacity plant coming up, I would have won a tiebreak victory and with both the other players needing a big plant neither of them would have been able to buy and build enough to get to 18 cities. As it were, I could build my last two cities without any financial worries and the game was over.

Conclusion
I would like to think that my tactic of hoarding fuel was the thing that led to my victory, but unfortunately that would be an overly optimistic view of the case. Sure, it would have been expensive to try and drain the fuel supply, but it should probably have been done. Being allowed to run the 20 and 30 more or less freely really gives too much of an advantage.

The second mistake the opponents did was what BGG user paulhar would label as mistake no. 14* or not keeping tabs on what plants are below the Stage 3 card. I knew that 7 capacity plants were scarce, that is why I overbid the 50. My opponents didn't, that is probably why they let me get the 50 without competition.

* see Paul's excellent thread How to loose at Power Grid (Funkenschlag): http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/81071
 
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