With 5 this week, we all gathered in one group and all played Power Grid. Having tried China last week, this time it was Korea.
This is another board where the differences to the base game are significant, this time due to the split market for raw materials. When buying you must choose whether to buy from the North or the South and all your fuel bought on the turn must come from the same market, this can make things awkward when you have a several types of plant, because you may find that the fuel for one type is cheap in the north, while fuel for the other type is cheap in the south. There is an added complication, when you have a nuclear plant, because Uranium is only available in the South. There are no other differences in game play, but this one is significant enough.
For the game used Deck 2 and eliminated the area in the South East. I bought the number 1 plant with the idea that I could get first call on the resources and that left me with having to build first of course and I was presented with the 4 zero connection cost sites in Seoul. I bought 2 of these, expecting to take a hit on turn order for the next round, but was surprised, when everybody else also bought at least 2 cities and ended up first again. I am still wondering if I would have been better off buying 3 or even all 4 of those Seoul sites on the first turn, meaning that I wouldn't need to worry about building again for a turn or 2. Everyone else also clustered around Seoul except for Ben who started in the North East, where the connection costs were high.
The game now proceeded in a normal sort of way; Steve triggered Step 2 without much delay. Mike did much complaining that the right plants were never available when he wanted them, but he was actually sandbagging and ended up doing very well, I think buying the least plants. I picked up a lot several plants at face value and people thought I was doing well, but on at least a couple of occasions I would have been better off not buying, firstly buying the 19(1 uranium > 3) thinking the price was fuel was heading down only for Dave to pick up the number 8 the following turn making a battle for the stuff.
The second occasion was on what turn out (Unexpectedly for everyone except Mike, I think) to be the last turn. I was left with the 44 (6 cities for free) plant and picked it up thinking I was in a good position going into another turn. Mike of course ended the game and Steve, Dave & I could only build to 13 cities, I lost out to both in the tiebreak for 2nd place, but if I hadn't bought the plant I could have built an extra city and powered it. Ben was also caught out at the end, having chosen not to build that turn and so ended up on 10, I don't know what his position would have been otherwise.
Power Grid 120 mins