We played a game of Power Grid yesterday for the first time. Bought the copy at a gaming event over the summer when we were looking for recommendations on a good new game. Unfortunately, gaming evenings have been few since then, so yesterday was our first chance to give it a go.
Basically, you buy power plants, acquire the rights to power cities, and then make money from supplying power with resources you purchase from the open Market. Well, something like that.
You get the power plants from an auction, so there’s increasing competition in that area to acquire the most fuel effecient options – one player got an all wind power power plant, which powers for no resources at all. The auction gets complex when you’re trying to plan ahead for city growth, while balancing against the cost of buying resources and building into cities to begin with. Do you drive to outbid someone for a more fuel efficient station or go for something dirty and resource hungry to save for greater expansion? Once you have a plant you can’t bid again and there’s nothing more frustrating than finding a more fuel efficient plant than you just bought comes up for auction next!
Once everyone finishes acquiring a plant, you then acquire resources in reverse player order (based on the number of cities you’ve built into). Rules of supply and demand dictate the value of resources – so being first matters. You can buy as much as you want, providing your plants can use the resource and you can’t store more than double the plants consumption. So, more planning – buy now or maybe pay extra later.
Building into cities comes next – in reverse order, too. I’m reasonably certain you can pick a good spot from the outset. Maybe I chose wisely or simply lucked out. Suffice to say, if you’ve planned well in the previous two phases of the round, you’ll either have the resource to build or you won’t!
In the end you get paid for each city you supply with power, expending the resources at your plants. You can choose to power less, but you make less money, which will impact your activities in the next round.
There’s more complexity to the game, but suffice to say, as a first timer, I enjoyed it and the other players did too. Recommended. A good balance of thought, skillful planning and a dash of luck.