Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Power Grid» Forums » General

Subject: Power grid for two: Stop at end of step 1? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recently there was a thread here that power grid was dull with two players, and several other PG players agreed.

List night I played PG for the first time. I'd played a few rounds against myself to make sure I had the rules down, then my wife and I played, and as the rules suggested for your first "learning" game, we only played until the end of step 1 - once a player had built their 10th house, then whoever lit up the most cities that turn was the winner.

We had a great time. My wife got a better board position by starting in Minneapolis and moving East (we were using the top three section of the American map), I started in New York and bought better power plants but then got boxed in by her cities. Finally I was able to buy a link out through her cities, put up my last 2 houses to make 10, then lit up 8 cities to her 7, thus winning the game. To top it all off, the whole thing only lasted about 40 or 45 minutes, and that includes the setup and the rules explanations!

I was thinking about playing a full game, but then I thought, hmmm, maybe there is a reason why people say it's dull with two? It seems that once you hit step 2 in a two player game, suddenly you can't cut anybody off - there are two (or three) slots to put houses in each city, so you can just plunk down a house wherever you want, whenever you want, no need to race ahead with houses to get a prime location. Furthermore, it seems like maybe playing on to 21 houses would add a long middlegame - with more players that might be fun, but with 2 is it overstaying?

So I guess my thought is, maybe Power Grid for two players is best with it ending at the end of step 1? Honestly we had so much fun in such a short amount of time, I can't wait to try again this way.

I'd like to hear opinions from anybody who has played this game more than me, was our game an anomaly? Or would a longer two player game be more of a good thing?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gary Pressler
United States
West Lafayette
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
OMG! Overtext! How long have I been sleeping?! OVERTEXT! Also, I'm a DESIGNER now?! Sweet! OVERTEXXXXXXT!
badge
HO HO HO! Give me some money!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This was a very timely article! My girlfriend just gave me this as a present last night! Although she wants to play, she did take pause at the two-hour indication on the box. She is a fairly new gamer, but I'm pretty sure we've had games of Santa Fe or Mexica go close to that with four players.

She wants to try one two-player game to get a feel for it before we play with other friends this weekend. I noticed both the special rules for 2P and the "Step 1 only" recommendation for new players. We will most likely play how you did this week, and I'll post to say how it went. I we try the full 2P version, I'll let you know. Depending on who we play with this weekend, we may or may not do "Step 1 only" with the group. In any case, 45 minutes with two is a nice time point and blocking is a good thing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Hasegawa
United States
Chandler
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Playing through just the first step is probably not a bad plan with two players. But trying to get a feeling for the game as it compares with 3+, you just can't get with two. The bidding is different. The competition for fuels is different. The screwage by cutting of the other players is different. And most of all, the getting setup for step 2 is different. That's not to say its not enjoyable as a two player game, its just different than 3+.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Newman
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I agree. You may get a handle on the mechanics of the game but very little of the strategy.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I must not have been clear enough. My point/question wasn't, "Is power grid as good with 2 as with 3+?" Although I haven't played with 3+ yet, I would expect that it would be a better game.

My point/question was, "If you're going to play with 2, is it best to always stop at the end of phase 1?" And my reasoning was that from step 2 onwards, there is *NO* blocking at all in a 2 player game, plus (as you point out) the fuel and power plant markets aren't interesting enough on their own in 2 player games to support all the extra time it would take to do a full 3-step game...so why not make it a quick game?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gary Pressler
United States
West Lafayette
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
OMG! Overtext! How long have I been sleeping?! OVERTEXT! Also, I'm a DESIGNER now?! Sweet! OVERTEXXXXXXT!
badge
HO HO HO! Give me some money!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just barely finished our first game: two players, step 1 only, end at 7 cities. It certainly went well for earning the rules, which was a good thing. We played the red, yellow, and green regions of the U.S. I warned my GF about not blocking herself in. She ended up building first in the middle of red and I built in the middle of green (Atlanta). Our networks eventually grew into adjacent cities from each other, but there was never any real contention for getting to a city first or blocking. Also, once both of us got to four power plants, only I needed to make one upgrade to get to 7-city capacity. I ended up winning $40 to $39. Including the rules explanation, I think it took an hour and 15 minutes.

All said, it was fun but would very obviously be a lot better with more players. I realize that's not the issue at hand, but I think the goal here is to discuss how to get some of the tension in the 2P version without the needlessly long play time of 21 cities.

I agree that the game should probably stay in Step 1 throughout in terms of the power plant market and one player's substation (house) per city. I think you are right that building to 10 cities works best, increasing the need to build through each other. (However, 7 cities was a good stopping point for learning tonight.) Also, both players should be limited to three power plants. (I think that was intended for the new players' variant with 2P, but it wasn't stated, and you didn't specify how many you used.) Finally, I think the fuel production rates should still change at the normal Steps. I obviously lack the experience to say so, but I suspect starting Step 2 production at 6 cities and discarding a few more power plants at the beginning would make for better timing on the production Steps.

Basically, the only difference from the basic non-2P rules would be that the Steps do not allow increased substations per city. If we get another 2P game in before this weekend, I'll try it this way.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
H'mm, I must have misread that, I thought that they recommended just playing through the end of step 1 (which happens at 10 cities in 2 player) on your first game...anyway, GaryP, thanks for the feedback, let me know how it goes this weekend!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Nelson
United States
Draper
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have a wife who loves PG, and in doing so loved the Atolla Modulis expansion when I surprised her with it. We got down and played within minutes. We play the full game 1.5 hours about. First step till 10 cities by one player, and then to 21 to end the game. The second step is rather quick with you having so much money and connections are cheaper at this point because you can take advantage of what cities they first started with and get those cheapo connections even with 15 cost, is still cheaper than many others. So, when you head into the second step, get ready for a quick ride (about 3-4 turns is all). I won having completed 21 to end the game, and my wife was short one garbage to fuel up all her factories, or else she would've won, but maybe when I took those 2 extra garbage early in the game I knew something?
The resources are tight in a 2-player in the same way 3+ players have trouble getting everything they want if they go last. It plays better with more only because of the auctions and cities costs for the 3rd connection. I will continue to play it 2 player, but I love the time I can get 3 or more as well, if not more.
 
 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.