New kid on the power grid

I used to be environmentally friendly...

I used to be environmentally friendly…

This week’s session saw Sheer, Yehuda and I play Power Grid.

Sheer hadn’t played it before, but was keen to try it out. That meant Yehuda had to do his usual excellent job of explaining the rules (more on this later) before we got started. However, it was well worth it as we had a close and exciting game.

Experienced players of Power Grid may like to know that we used Yehuda’s excellent house rule. This means you can see the next power plant before it becomes available. This helps with planning. It also removes some – but by no means all – of the luck element.

Yehuda got off to an excellent start and managed to trap me in a cycle of death with my oil based power plant. I needed oil. We had driven down the supply. Yehuda had successfully manipulated the turn order so he bought all the oil each turn, leaving me short. (Fortunately, I had stockpiled, but was running out.)  Then, in a rare blunder, Yehuda lost the desired turn order, and I was able to buy the oil before him. That got me out of a hole, and meant I was still in contention.

Look at all that cheap coal and garbage...

Look at all that cheap coal and garbage…

Meantime, Sheer was patiently building up his resources. When it came to developing his network on the board, he struggled a bit – especially at the beginning of the game. However, with some help from Yehuda (and encouragement from me – “Don’t build! Don’t build!”) he recovered well enough to match us both. (Damn!)

When we entered the final rounds, Yehuda was well placed, but the power plants did not fall as favorably as they might, and that left Sheer and me with an opportunity to win. I had a good stockpile of cash, and could have built as many cities on the board as anyone else. Unfortunately for me, the available power plants were also not a good match, and I was snookered. (“Snookered” is a technical expression, common in the UK, politely expressing a state; an unfavorable state!)

That left first time player of the game, Sheer, with a chance to win on his own. He duly claimed it. Well done, Sheer.

If nothing else, that win confirms the following:

  • Yehuda’s rule explanation was very good. (Yes, too good!)
  • There is no longer any need to be kind and gentle to Sheer. He should be considered a suitable candidate for a good old fashioned stabbing in the back, the same as everyone else.
  • There is no longer any need to give him advice. Indeed, he should be advising us!

More seriously, it was good to play Power Grid again. I like it a lot, though the luck element is still higher than I think many gamers realize. That having been said, skillful play will – over the piece – succeed. So, let there bo no doubt that Sheer deserved his win. And the bottom line: Yehuda and I had fun even though we lost.

Thanks for coming, guys.