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Power Grid

101 out of 108 gamers thought this was helpful

This is my favorite game. It requires the balancing of 3 money drains (power plant auction, fuel market, city purchase) with a single inflow of “Electros” which is dependent on optimizing your purchases. If you were doing this in a vacuum, it might be simple, but there are multiple forces that you are dealing with that make it challenging.

You are competing with the other players. They are bidding up the good power plants, driving up the price of the fuel you need and claiming the real estate you need to power cities. The game causes everyone’s path-of-least-expensive-progress to overlap – and strategy will incite some players to increase your expenses intentionally, even if it costs them more.

There is a catch-up mechanism used during turn order. The player in first place always gets the least advantageous spot in play order, and the last place player gets the most advantageous turn order. Some players thing there is an advantage in trying to “slingshot” into the lead from a trailing position, but I think the the advantage gained from leading (greater cash flow) means that you never want to be too far out of first! Again more decisions on how to optimize…

This is a sit on the edge of your seat, hold your breath while the others move, try to recalculate the best 1-2-3 punch of purchases while the situations change experience. It is a fairly long game which requires a commitment of time, but the effort is rewarded with a game that plays tight and usually ends in a “photo finish”.

Sidenote: I have the game 4 stars for Easy to Learn, but I would give it less stars for “Easy to Administrate”. There are some quirky end of turn clean up rules that help keep things accelerating properly that require keeping an eye on the rules.

BOTTOM LINE: Decent theme, tons of playing boards adding to replayability, additional power plants for even more variety, awesome game mechanics keep you thinking and keep the game close. Best game around in the 3 hour mid-heavy weight category!

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35 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game I invariably pull out for people who are new to “eurogaming”. It plays quickly and gives you a feel for the interest level of the new folks. It is straightforward enough that it is also a good gauge of their ability to learn/retain rules, to see if they have any analysis paralysis, and their competition level.

It looks kind of like Tetris, so it isn’t intimidating. A game or two will play quickly and should be fun for everyone. If your new gamers are hungry for more, you as the game “pusher” should have learned a few things about them to help you pick the next game.

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