At Saturday the 11th's Games Day at Rob & Leeces place we played a new game belonging to Pete called Power Grid.
The object of the game is to establish a power company, buying power plants by bidding against other players, then building and expanding a network on a map of cities in competition with other players, while purchasing sufficient fuel to run said power plants.
The game has three distinct stages. Stage One; Power plants are small and relatively inexpensive to buy but use lots of fuel. Cities can only support one company. This stage ends when one player reaches seven cities.
Stage Two; Cities can support two power companies (players) and the efficiency (and cost) of power plants goes up. The various fuels however increase in availability. This stage ends when you reach the stage three marker in the new power plant pile.
Stage Three; The market of new power plants increased from four to six, and cities can now support three companies. New advanced efficient (expensive) power plants become available. The game ends when one player reaches 15 cities, with the winner being the person who powers the most cities (not necessarily who has the most cities either), with the tiebreaker being who has the most money total.
The Review I really enjoyed playing this game. Its three elements of bidding, budgeting and building to compete with other player I find very attractive.
An ability to do math, least cost network analysis and strategic bidding is a must. I must admit that before I play this again I want to have a notepad and pen to keep track of expenses and set bidding budgets. While I can do it in my head it slows the game down.
The game mechanism means that whoever is coming first gets to bid first on power plants at the beginning of each turn, but buy fuel and new cities last, which I found an effective method for keeping the game balanced. This occurs because whoever is winning get last bite of the cherry in building, and has to buy the fuel at the most expensive prices that round, and because they open the bidding on new power plants first, generally have to pay a higher price for those as well.
Like most good games it needs a minimum of four players to make it work.
I would rate it 8 out of 10, and a good couple of hour's entertainment on a rainy afternoon.