Yesterday I won my first ever Power Grid game. Now I’m hooked and wondering if I should quit my job and become a professional board-gamer.
I don’t care what anyone says; board games are super cool. In an age where everything is digitized and virtualized, E-this and I-that, online and uploaded, sometimes it’s incredibly satisfying to play a complex and strategic game that involves more than a controller. I love it when I find a board game that involves real people, fake money and tons of mind reading as you traverse your way through an imaginary world of collusion, deception and trickery. You can conquer continents, dominate galaxies, find murderers, power nations or build empires; there is no limit to where a well-constructed and well-thought out board game can take you.
Board games often bring out our true nature and we all have different styles of playing. You get the ‘Trash-Talker’ who tries to put everyone down and psychologically beat his opponents into submission. You find the ‘Dark Horse’ who plays quietly and looks uncompetitive until the final round when she cleans the floor with everyone. The ‘Timewaster’ takes an hour to finish each turn and wildly frustrates the rest of the group, the ‘Paranoid One’ who think that everyone is plotting against them and the ‘Cheater’ who just can’t gracefully accept defeat. There are many types of board gamer and I am the ‘Overly Competetive’ type as I sure do get a little bit frustrated when I lose, although I’d never resort to cheating, unless the situation needed it.
Yesterday, I played Power Grid and I was victorious for the first time in my short board game career. It was a satisfying moment when I powered my last city, Osaka, and I felt honored that the Japanese had allowed me to provide their electricity, albeit for an hour and a half.
I will openly admit that of the many thousands of board games out there, I have played only a very small fraction. But, of the games that I have played, Power Grid stands out as an absolute gem of a game. The aim is to power cities. You have to buy power stations that require different materials to run, buy the materials to run the power plants and then buy cities to power. You get more money each turn for the cities that you have successfully powered and the game ends when someone powers a pre-determined number of cities. It sounds pretty complex and it’s a fairly long game, but you soon get engrossed in the complexities and strategies. The maps are based on the real world and you can power cities in almost any country in the world.
Power Grid is seriously good fun and can provide hours of frustratingly brilliant entertainment. All of your plans and tactics can come together or unwind in just a few moments. You build and electric empire and power your cities to rake in the cash. But beware, your foes are only a step away to shut you down and leave you in the dark.
If you are the first one to buy your materials, you could try buying a lot more than you need. You will make it more expensive for your opponents to power their cities and you will have resources available for future rounds. Don’t be afraid to make things a little tough for the other players.
Think about your opponents and the power stations they are buying. If they are going before you, they might buy up all of the resources and make it expensive for you to power your cities. If your opponents all have coal, then coal is going to get expensive and fast. Think about trying a power source that few other people have.
Timing is crucial; don’t buy a city if you don’t have to and cannot power it. Try and get the balance correct and buy what you want without panic buying.
Just because you want to save the planet, don’t spend all your money on the green power plants. Environmental plants are really awesome because you don’t need to pay for materials, but they usually power very few cities and they can be costly an expensive initial fee. Don’t overpay for them, especially if the target amount of cities is fairly high.
Most people avoid nuclear plants early on because the fuel to power them is expensive. But, as the game goes on and materials get replenished, nuclear power can get cheaper. They are very good to have during the second third of the game.
The aim is to stay with the main
Where to buy?
Local board game stockists will usually have a set available. Expansion and deluxe versions are also available from all good local retailers.
Thanks for reading!
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