Power Grid was played on the Japan board, this being only the second time that this board has been used at HBG, the previous occasion being in December 2010, making it the least played of all the maps. I probably would not have brought it to the table now if it were not for the fact that it was the last of the Power Grid maps not yet played this year (other than the deluxe maps that we still have to come).
I can't say that this map appeals to me that much which is probably mostly down to its shape, long and thin, in addition to the fact that a number of cities only support 2 players (either for 10 & 15 or for 15 & 20). In addition its special feature of allowing the start of 2 networks is not one I find particularly interesting. This is in contrast to the Russia map on the other side of the board which has wide open space and a reduced plant market with a rule that causes the discard of the lowest plant if anyone chooses not to put one up for auction, I like that map quite a lot.
Enough of all that rambling about the map, what about the game? This was the first win at the game for James and it was a fairly easy win as he was able to essentially able to corner the market on Oil, while the rest of us were squabbling over the Coal and Garbage. We needed for someone to take one of the high capacity oil plants, but he was able to outbid us, I bid him up to 77 for the 32 plant which really wasn't anywhere near enough as it was getting to the point where I could not have afforded to do anything else.
I couldn't get any good plants in the early stages, being forced to take the 13 & 22 to go with the 4 I started with so at least I wasn't paying that much for fuel. In the mid game I picked up the 25, but with the number of coal plants in the hands of other players the fuel was expensive. On the penultimate turn, desperate to increase capacity I picked up 24 which only powered 4 cities, I bought all the remaining Garbage which meat Bob couldn't run his 30. In the final round I bought 36 and bought up the coal, stopping Jonathan from running a coal plant.
When building in the final round, it was clear that James could end the game having declined to buy a plant, although he could only power 15 cities. I could power 16 cities and could build that may but could not end the game. In addition if the game had gone an extra turn in which I would be behind Jonathan in buying fuel, it was likely I would have not been able to run any plants, so I contented myself with just building enough cities to claim second place, rather than to 16, which would have meant an extra round and disaster.
After that I played a 2 player game of San Juan with James. He started off by doing a lot of producing and trading while I usually picked Prospector and Builder or Councillor. It was interesting to see how the roles were reversed when I built a harbour giving me a point every time Trader happened. We both built a Guild Hall on the same turn, while I also had a palace, James having a Bank which gave him 9 points.
Of the other games, Castles of Mad King Ludwig got a second successive run out. Star Realms was a 3 player game rather than the 2 player game of a few weeks ago, this seemed to give a marked increase in the playing time.
|Castles of Mad King Ludwig - 100 Mins.|
|Coal Baron - 90 Mins.|
|Power Grid - 120 Mins.|
|Greed - 25 Mins.|
|San Juan - 30 Mins.|
|Santiago de Cuba - 50 Mins.|
|Star Realms - 35 Mins.|