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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Power Grid Session

Power Grid
5 player - France

Turn 1: I get the 3 plant for cost, no one else buys any oil this turn, which is nice. I build down in the south first in Montpelier to try to avoid a lot of building  conflict. The brown region in the north means Paris is on the edge of the map for this game. The person with the 10 plant builds to my right, meaning I have to go westward.

Turn 2: The 11 is put up for auction right away, and nuclear costs 3 at this point. When it get bid past 18, I get out of there, and it ends up going for 21. After that my plan is to pass a lot and see how good the plants get. I get good luck and the 21 plant pops! That's the power of taking the 3 or 4 plant and getting to go late in the turn 2 auction. I build westward in Carcassone and dream of meeples.

Turn 3: I move up to third in turn order, because two people built up to three cities. The 23 nuclear plant starts first. I bid it up once, but let someone get it for 25. The 25 comes up next. Even though I have a great plant, do I bid these up and try to get strong plants early at the cost of expanding? The 26 is on deck and might come up. I think it's probably better to build two cities and power 4 this turn than to buy a plant, and hope to get a good plant on turn 4. I have 42 electros at this point, so if I bought a plant, I'm probably not expanding. I build in Toulouse and Perpignan, making a great profit since my two oils cost 3 electro.

Turn 4: After the person in first passes, I put up the 19 trash plant and get it for the 19. It's not an endgame plant, but it expands my capacity to 8 from 5 and trash is in the 4 box and I'm the only one with trash. Since I only have 42 electros, I am only building out one more city this turn (the next extensions are 10 links) so I buy 4 oil and use the 3 plant one last turn, so my trash costs will decrease in the future. I put the house in Lourdes.

Turn 5: I'm in third for this round, which should be ok. The 20 plant is in the market still, but red starts with the 28. I pass on it, wanting at least a 5 capacity plant, and hopefully a 6. The 29 comes up, so the 32 stays on deck. Yellow passes out so I have to put the 20 up for sale. (Coal costs 2 at this point.) Amazingly, neither of the next two players buys the 32 plant! I just buy two coal and two trash and don't plan on firing the 20 yet, so I can build in Bordeaux and Biarritz. I never know whether it's wise to trigger step 2 or not, I just do it if I think it fits the rest of my plan. At this point I have a sneaking suspicion that red is going to run away with it - they have the 18 and 27 wind plants, and all of Paris by themselves. They did have to pay 18 to get out of being boxed in.

Turn 6: The 32 goes right up for grabs, and I expect it to be pricey. I give it up for 44 electros... very tough call. It would have put my cap to 15. I end up having to pass when the best plant is the 29. I am about to build three cities eastward to overlap with yellow and fire the 20 and 21, when I realize it's better to build up to Limoges and Clermont-Ferrand, giving me access to the yellow area of the map, since no one else will get to the southeast corner anyway, so I can take that later. An example of a subtle but important decision that many people might overlook in this position. (I also built Nimes in the southeast.) Whoops, I didn't realize that put me to 10, so I end up firing the trash plant for a tiny profit.

Turn 7: I'm in third and the 31 is on the market and put up right away. This time I'm fighting for it! I end up bidding with the guy who got the 32, which is annoying, but he lets me have it for 52. I think my plants should all be set now, 20-21-31 for 15 capacity, and I can just build to that by next turn probably. Pretty fast game, if it works out that way. The 30 trash plant comes out and gets bid up to 50. No one else has 15 capacity at this point. It probably is going to come down to how crazy the auctions get - if someone can get a good plant cheap they might be able to have a chance. I just build one in Saint-Etienne. Red builds down to try to block me perhaps, but I will build before him next turn since he has 13 cities and I have 11.

Turn 8: Red proclaims he could have won by building out to 15 the previous turn, but he missed it. I'm not sure there was anything I could have done to stop that.I build my last four cities and win the game. Red builds a ton of cities just to show off that he really had the cash. :)

Overall, an interesting and solid game. The resources were used up pretty evenly, so they were all cheap the whole game. I'm slowly gaining an appreciation for and hopefully skill in the building aspect of the game - how to avoid getting blocked off while not giving up too much in terms of cheap connections. I'm pretty good at the auctions part of the game, but there is still a lot to figure out there too! France continues to be a map I enjoy. I wish the online version had some of the newer maps though...

Side note: There is an underrated aspect to playing online - you have to learn how to play being different colors! I was grey for the first time ever this game, and it threw me a bit.


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