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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 19 August 2011
If there was one game that deserves to join Settlers of Catan in knocking the age-old family classics off their dusty shelf, then it's this beautiful German game.

The premise is simple - each player has a energy company with the aim of becoming the first player to power enough pre-determined cities. To do this, they must first obtain various power stations of differing energy sources such as coal, oil, uranium, garbage, buy the necessary resource from the stock market and then place their respective markers on a city, paying a cost to link up from one location to the other. The map has differing costs for certain links, with the idea that the shorter the distance, the less you have to pay. The number of cities they are able power determines the amount of money they receive at the end of the turn.

If this sounds a little dry, then the real "juice" of the game is in the mechanics of these respective stages. Players must bid for Power Stations and here the chance to foil or mess up someone's chances are great - you could force someone to pay much more than they had envisaged, but at the same time you could end up purchasing one that you really had no great interest in buying. Choosing what station to bid on is crucial. In the energy resource stage, you can hike the price of a resource needed by a competitor by buying in bulk, and in the marker stage, you can block them off from making connections, forcing them to pursue an alternative.

What makes this game work is determining who goes first on each stage, which is always allocated to the person with the least amount of cities powered, ensuring that they have a chance to play catchup. It's an intriguing game that takes a potentially esoteric theme and produces some great fun. As there's no luck involved, every turn you take produces a number of hard decisions to make, which is what all great boardgames should be about. Some budgeting/maths skills won't go amiss, but this is a great game to teach kids about money and how the stock market works without having the sense of ruin that Monopoly or Settlers can provide. Although you can make decisions that affect other players, it's not direct confrontation.

The components and artwork might not be initially appealing, but they're sturdy if a little simple. My only complaint would be that the money in the game is rubbish and somehow devalues it, but it's not enough to knock off a star. Simple wooden counters would have been much more appropriate. Nevertheless, this is a true classic of the boardgame genre and there are also a number of expansions available.
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on 6 April 2014
I initially played this game with 6 players (with an expansion) it was pretty awesome, the game mechanics seem to make it so that as you move through the game the playing field is levelled out through making sure the player in last place, is the first to get a chance to buy the cheapest resources (and towns)

With 2 player it does work, but its not as much fun as Ticket to Ride - the game loss the unpredictability element of the auction with 2, leaving the only random element to be the revealing of the power stations

Its still a good game, but you need 3 players or more to make it a great game.
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on 12 November 2009
I rated Power Grid 8 out of 10 on boardgamegeek where it has an average rating of 8.20.

I avoided playing Power Grid for a while, because it looks complicated. The board has a map with numbers all over it, there's lots of paper money and the game runs with auctions, a game mechanic I'm really bad at. So it looked like it wasn't my kind of game at all. When I finally got round to learning it, Power Grid turned out to be a lot easier than I expected and finally fun to play.

Each player is running their own power company, and during each round the players get to buy power stations, buy fuel, build up their network of cities and earn money for how many of the cities they can power. Sometimes, you can't get enough fuel and so you have to let a few towns go dark! You get less money, but nevermind. But it's more than a money game. You have to time your strategy and push ahead towards the end of the game.

The key feature of the game is that the turn order can change each round, and that affects everything. Each fresh round, the player with the biggest network on the board becomes the leader, the one with the least houses built is last. But depending on the phase, sometimes the leading player acts first, sometimes the last player acts first. So when the power stations are being auctioned, the leader picks which one is auctioned first. But when you buy fuel, the losing player goes first. That means they get the cheapest fuel, and by the time the leader gets to buy, it all costs a lot more.

So a lot of what happens will be strange to Brits used to rolling dice and plonking round a board. You have to think about what you're doing, plan ahead, be careful with your cash, time your progress because you don't want to lead at the start.

But the winner is not the one with most money! When a number of cities have got houses, the player who lights the most is the winner. So with 5 players for example, the game ends when somebody builds in a 15th city. You might have only built 13, but if you power more cities than the others, you still win.

It does help to play the game through once and understand the rules. A game of Power Grid can easily take 2 hours. But when you have worked it out, the decisions become quite easy. The more cash you have, the better power stations you can secure. But spend too much, and you cannot fuel them. Spend too much on fuel, and you can't afford to build to more cities! Decisions, decisions!

The game has a double-sided board with two different maps, lots of neat wooden pieces, a ton of money and a deck of power stations including wind-fueled ones (don't need to buy fuel!). You can get other maps and a different deck if you want more variety.

Power Grid is suitable for older children, 10+ I'd say, and you do need to pay attention. You can't wander off and watch telly, since you have to see what the other players do. But if you like a game that's a bit harder than Monopoly, you will love Power Grid. Fans of Settlers Of Catan The Settlers of Catan (New Edition) or Primordial Soup Primordial Soup Expansion will love Power Grid. Families looking for something to play with older children will find a new kind of game - some luck but more planning.
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on 19 January 2014
This is one of the best strategy board games I've ever played! If you think that Catan is only worth it when you play the full expansion with Castles & Knights and so on, then this is a game for you. It has more strategy and suspense and although it can also take 2 (or more) hours, it feels much faster!
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on 19 April 2016
Great game, if you like German board games such as catan, you will enjoy this. It's quick to set up ( a bit fiddly) and simple enough rules once you've played once. I find there's not as much interaction as catan despite the auction mechanic but it's still a game that everyone is involved in till the end. There's a bit more maths to it than some other games but overall a good game for any collection
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on 20 February 2014
This has been played a lot since I bought it as a Christmas Present for the family. It has a very clever market system which although simple is well implemented. I would seriously suggest this game to anyone who likes to play tycoon type games (getting rich and choosing the best ways to do it) They only draw backs are that it's short when you get into the game (finishes at a fairly small score in my opinion, but that's because it is enjoyable) and it takes 1 or 2 games before it clicked and figured out the tactics and truly understood the rules but if you're even considering buying this, I say go for it, you won't be disappointed. My family play lots of games and this is still easily the most played after 2 months.
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on 11 November 2013
ME AND MY FRIENDS WHO WERE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO DO IN THE PUB TO DISRUPT THE DRINKING BOUGHT THIS AND THOUGHT IT WAS GREAT FUN. ONCE YOU HAVE STEPPED THROUGH IT ONCE OR TWICE YOU CAN THEN GET STUCK INTO A PROPER GAME. THE INSTRUCTIONS IN AN ATTEMPT TO BE CLEAR ARE VERY WORDY WHICH ACTULALLY MAKES IT LESS CLEAR. OTHERWSIE GREAT STUFF.
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on 24 October 2013
This is quite a good game with some self-balancing mechanics that help to prevent a situation in where 10 minutes into the game, someone knows he has no change to win and gets bored.

However, it says 2+ players but I would STRONGLY suggest playing it with 3+, preferably 4+ as there is a "auction phase" and with 2 players, it makes little sense and it usually becomes more like a "purchasing phase".
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on 22 October 2012
A great game. It is played in three stages (essentially build-up, getting ready for end-game and then the end game). Each turn is played in several phases: Buy power stations at auction, buy resources to power them, buy cities to power, earn money for powering cities and replenish the available resources and power station market.

With two people its not great. With 3 or more its much harder to predict the market and know whether you're going to get the resources or power stations you need.

There's quite a bit of mental arithmetic, "If I buy several of these differently priced things in this phase can I afford those other things in a minute? And what if my opponents buy more resources than I expect...?"

If you don't want to have to do a little adding up, it might not be for you. Or if you want a game you can still play 2 player, Carcasonne or Dominion are better options. Otherwise, its a hit!
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on 22 June 2015
Found this board game as it was very highly rated on boardsgamegeek.com and its unreal.

I have never played a game so well balanced and well thought out. It does seem a lot to take in when first opened but when you start playing it really isn't hard at all.

10/10 can't reccomended enough!
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