This was half term week, but Dave C was off so Steve was entertaining the youngsters he had brought along, that left Matt, Mike & I to engage in another game of Power Grid. As I have commented twice recently, this game was a strange one, which might be an indication that all Power Grid games are strange and there's no such thing as a normal one. Anyway this was a plain vanilla (Matt's words) game played on the USA board with the standard plant deck.
The areas selected for play (I think randomly, but I wasn't watching) were the 2 western most areas together with the North central area including Chicago. This meant that while there were some areas with cheap connections, these were connected by very high costs, unlike the numerous cheap ones present in the east coast areas. In light of this I decided that I would try to be last to build on the first round, but this was a forlorn hope as Matt had last choice to bid and I ended up second in the building, having bought the 5 plant, Matt had the 7 and Mike the 4.
Mike set up to the North East in Minneapolis, while I picked up both Cheyenne and Denver connected by the zero cost link. Matt then of course started immediately to my west in Boise and Salt Lake City, I don't know whether it's paranoia, but in every game I've played recently, people seem determined to start right next to me (probably not paranoid, just need to re-evaluate my choice of starting locations).
As it turned out, I don't think board location was that significant a factor in this game, more the action in the Power plant market which delivered a string of low capacity plants in the early stages. Normally I, and I think the others, would be looking to make their third plant one that would last the game, but in this game it was a choice of either buying low capacity plants or being unable to power cities. Everyone opted for being able to power the cities and when we all had 3 plants in front of us, our highest total capacity was 6. In retrospect, it might have been better to power 3 or 4 cities more efficiently than 5 or 6 and wait for a big plant to arrive, but then maybe not as those powering more cities would have had more money on hand to buy the big plants. Any way I think it was at this stage that Mike laid the ground work for his victory as he had the 18 wind plant, which was a very good one in that situation.
The game proceeded with plants continuing to come out in something approaching their numerical order and the price of Coal soared, while that of Oil drifted down as there seemed to be a shortage of Oil plants, the trash and Nuclear rates stagnated as soon as a plant of that type was bought. Step 3 finally occurred on the bureaucracy phase on the penultimate turn, giving 1 shot at the enlarged market, Mike managed to make 17 capacity and I was fairly sure he could finish the game and win, while Matt had 15 capacity, I bought a plant last and vainly searched for the possibility to be able to buy a plant that would give me 16 capacity and be able to build 16 cities for second place. I couldn't make my money stretch and could only afford 15 cities, so when Mike won as I expected I ended up third on the money tie break.
Examining the plants out of the game revealed unsurprising 4 out of 8 were decent Oil or hybrid burners.
Over on the other table Citadels was played and it looks like Steve did all right, after that they started a game of Munchkin, which was not complete when the rest of us left and Steve did not expect they would finish, so that game is not recorded. Steve if the game did finish, please let me know the results.
Until next week.