Ralf Kramosch
Canada
Quebec
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I think the title of this post says it all: Robot Crushes Puny Humans In Quebec Using New Power Plant Cards. Our group of 3 humans got together for our monthly gaming night and we played our first game of Power Grid using the Quebec map. We also threw in the new power plant cards and a robot for good measure. I suppose this post could have just as easily gone into any of those fora. Well, we live in Quebec, so that's where this post can live as well.

We hadn't played PG for a while so it took a bit to set up. There was a bit of cross-referencing to do to review all the rules and set up the new power plant cards using the Quebec set-up. The main difference with Quebec is that the ecological plants, i.e., wind or solar, are removed before random cards are removed from the deck for a three-player game. Shuffling the ecological plants back into the deck ensures that all the ecological plants are available for purchase.

We then assembled a robot to join us. This robot bid on highest-valued plants to +10 elektro, bought normal production resources, built to capacity, and--this is the best part--built it's first city for free. This is where we may have made an error: we removed power plants for 3 players, but the robot counts as a fourth player.

We chose our four regions, remembering that we were 4 players: Montreal and Laurentians, southern Quebec, western Quebec, and the north shore. The Quebec City and Gaspé peninsula regions were omitted.

Although Mark was the first player, the robot soon established its dominance in the auctions, bidding on the highest plant to +10. Knowing the robot's behaviour, we always bid it up to +10. It was very rare that the robot was outbid.

Mark built first, claiming a spot in Montreal, I followed him in Montreal, and Steve was somewhere on the south shore. The robot randomly chose a city north of Montreal. Since Montreal (and Quebec City) is where the connections are cheapest, we were all clustered relatively closely. Even the robot, who built his first city randomly, ended up not too far from us even though he could have built far to the east or west, out of our way.

During the first two or three turns, Mark was first player, building to 3. After this, our turn order hardly changed with the robot as first player, myself as second, Mark third, and Steve last.

In general, the auctions were fairly calm, with only a few auctions seeing much competition. The robot would always pay +10 for the highest plant, except for one auction where Steve outbid the robot. Most players had at least one ecological plant, and these tended to be more contested. I recall buying a dud, the 28 (three coal for 5 cities), which gave me capacity but coal was expensive at the time and I ended up replacing it a couple of turns later.

The early game saw an emphasis on coal, with some demand for oil but this soon dropped. My aforementioned purchase of a hungry coal-fired plant was at a time when coal was in demand by everyone. As I was first player at this time, I realized the others would make coal expensive for me, and so they did. In the latter half of the game, however, we each seemed to stake out different resources: Steve turned to nuclear and garbage, Mark garbage and ecological, the robot a bit of everything, and myself coal and oil.

City building was concentrated around Montreal, where the connection costs are cheapest. This caused some crowding, and some of us were occasionally blocked from building anything they could afford. This is where the robot crushed the puny humans. By building its first city for free, it built at least two cities almost every turn. Although we chose the cheapest connection first, it could exploit expensive connections as easily and was never blocked.

The robot prevented any step 1 stalling, where no one wants to be the first to trigger step 2 and allow others to build in their cities. The robot had no such qualms or strategy and triggered step 2 promptly. The robot was always in the lead, building to 20 supplied cities at the end, and although its bidding was always run up to +10, was rarely short of money for anything it wanted to buy.

The game end was also triggered by the robot at 20 supplied cities. I had 18 supplied cities, Mark 15, and Steve 13.

If I could categorize this game, I would say that the greatest competition was over building cities, due to the robot crowding and out-building us. Competition for power plants and resources was relatively light.

Post-game, Steve wondered where it went wrong for him, and it was suggested that he overbid on a couple of plants.

In the end it was an enjoyable game. I believe the Quebec board lightens the demand on resources due to high occurrence of ecological plants. The robot really drove the game, and we had to play to keep up with it.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Thorp
United States
Granite Falls
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
"Come on! Come on! Come and get it, baby! Come on! I don't got all day! Come on! Come on! Come on you bastard! Come on, you too! Oh, you want some of this? "
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent. I was hoping to see a review of the robots' play, as well as thoughts on the quebec map (the only PG map I don't have).

Overall, how would you rate the Quebec map compared to the other maps?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ralf Kramosch
Canada
Quebec
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't have that many plays of PG under my belt and I have China/Korea and the basic maps, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I enjoyed the Quebec map. I see the topology of the map as a sort of star, with Montreal-Quebec at the center: the yellow, pink, and red regions. The other regions radiate outwards with expensive connection costs at only a few points: the brown region only connects to the pink, the purple only to the yellow, and the green to yellow and pink. Therefore, if everyone builds their starting cities towards the center, there will be competition for these easy connection costs. Conversely, I suppose people could start at opposite ends and not meet until much later.

Because of the emphasis on ecological plants, there didn't seem to be that much of a struggle for resources, making that aspect a little easier. We also used the new power plant cards, and this may have made competition for power plants a little lower, as I've read the new cards are a little more even.

I'll go out on a limb after my one play and say that one's strategy in Quebec should be to watch out for connection costs so that you can always expand if you want to.

As for the robots, I really like playing with them. They seem to keep the game going. Nobody wants to buy a power plant? I bet a robot will. It'll buy up resources, too. It'll build cities and get in your way. They are not cautious with money. The robot turns are quite quick, and semi-cooperative where everyone helps decide what their actions are (such as finding the cheapest connection or resource or whatever), so there's no real down time to them. I think I would always play with at least 1 robot.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.