With many games, people who have played the game before have an advantage against those who have never played it. With some games the advantage is small, and with others it is more material. I suspect Power Grid is one of those games that the first time player has a real disadvantage. However, there’s no other way to master the game than by playing it.
Why am I telling you this? Last week, Azriel, Peleg, Roslynn, and Sheer joined me for a game of Power Grid, using the USA map. It is a long, meaty game, with plenty of tough decisions each turn. Sheer and I were the only ones who had played it before, so we had the advantage.
Roslynn made an early mistake that somewhat handicapped her in the first few rounds, but recovered well. I don’t think she ever came close to winning, but was making much better use of her resources the more that time went on.
Azriel took a wind and nuclear power strategy as far as it would go, but he lost out when the power plant draw was not suitable. If he had not concentrated on wind and nuclear power, he might have done better, though there was fierce competition for the other resources.
Of the first time players, Peleg did the best, and really did not put a foot wrong. He might have bid more aggressively for power plants in the last couple of rounds, but there was always the risk of running out of raw materials, so maybe he was right.
Sheer and I were taking turns at leading the pack, all the way up to the last round. Then, courtesy of a little luck in the power plant sequence, and an unusual touch of timidity by Sheer in the auction, I managed to secure the best power plant combination. I duly built up the number of cities to claim the win.
I would prefer the game were a little faster to play, but otherwise it is a fine piece of work. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, so we should be able to give it another spin soon.
Thanks to all who came for making it another fun night.