5 people and another game of Power Grid, this one played on the Italian board with the large plant deck (the original deck with the plants from 46 upwards added from the new deck). This also meant that we were playing on a board with 40 cities (so we eliminated Catania and Siracusa on Sicily) and looking at an 18 city end game target.
In Italy, Oil and Coal start off less common, while there is more trash available, so I, having first choice of a plant to bid on, had a try at the number 6 trash plant. Steve outbid me, so I went for the number 4 coal which I bought. This was to set my pattern for the rest of the game as I never used any other type of fuel. When it came to building cities, Mike (having bought the number 3 plant) went first and set up in the North, I set to the east of him, while Matt and Jonathan set up to our south. This left Steve on the West coast about half way down the country.
As turns went on Matt expanded north along the west coast and I went North and East, boxing Mike in. Jonathan went North and South towards me on one side and Steve on the other. This left Steve to spread south and east, effectively blocking off the south for the rest of us. I thought things were going quite well until Mike decided to jump across into what I thought was my area, before he was completely locked out in the west. I declined to build after that in the knowledge that it would be better to build first in the following turn when I would have more money. This worked but unfortunately, things stalemated at this point with North Italy divided 7 each to Matt & I, 6 each to Mike and Jonathan. Only Steve was able to trigger step 2 cheaply (8 cities required) and he was in no hurry. Adding to the problem was the price of coal, which made it uneconomic to power more than 5 of my 7 cities (using plant 25, I also had plant 20 and my initial 4) and the fact that when step 2 came, Jonathan and Mike would build before me and maybe grab all the 15 spots.
As things happened Matt decided to jump across Steve and trigger step 2 a turn or so earlier than Steve would have liked, this also probably meant that Mike and Jon didn't have enough money to cut me out of all the 15 spots and I was able to nip across to the west coast and build south limiting myself to 12 cities to give me an early build the following turn.
Going into that turn I had 16 capacity having bought the 31 plant to replace the 4 and calculated that I could end the game, unfortunately Jon also had 16 capacity and building after me would only need to build 2 cities to make a tie and I was sure he would have most money. That said I was sure that step 3 was imminent and I did not like my position then because of the reduced coal supply it would bring. As it turned out I was so wrapped up in my own calculation that I failed to notice that Jon had not fuelled all his plants.
So I won, but I think that Jonathan will not make that mistake again. For the price of 2 trash, he could have won and instead ended up last. I think that he had not quite cottoned on to the fact that you do not need to power all your cities at the end, but just to power more than anyone else, he is still quite new to the game but, having played 3 games in the last few weeks, is learning fast.
Power Grid 130 mins