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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 October 2016
Power Grid is a game about buying different power plants to power houses in a network of cities across a map. Put like that it sounds pretty dull but it really isn't, it features good elements of strategy and planning yet straddles the line well between more hardcore board gamers and casual players so almost anyone could probably enjoy it. The game plays 2-6 players which for this type of board game is actually pretty rare to hit numbers that high. It plays best with 4+ in my opinion yet despite that it doesn't take an age to play.

The object of the game is to be the person powering the most cities at the end of play. The game is played over three stages which break down to a number of rounds revolving around balancing finances and resources At the start of each round a number of power plant cards are put up for auction with each player getting the chance to bid on one in turn if they want it. Each power plant has three things worth noting. First, it has a number in the top left which is the minimum starting bid the player whose turn it is must auction at if they choose that plant to try and buy. Second is the type of fuel it uses such as coal, oil, rubbish, uranium or green energy. Lastly is the amount of houses that plant can power.

Fuel is really interesting in this game and scales based on how many players are playing, it's rather well balanced. At first coal is rather abundant but as the stages progess rubbish becomes more plentiful in line with time moving on which is interesting. It can all change though depending on how plentiful a fuel type is, each type has a tracker on the main game board showing how much of any type is available, the more of a type there is, the cheaper it is to buy, so you will be constantly competing with other players for resources depending on what plants you all have. The one exception is green energy which uses no resources but generally speaking doesn't power as many houses as the other plants can.

Each player can only hold a maximum of 3 power plants at any one time so if you buy a new one it must replace one of your current plants. They get more powerful or fuel efficient as time goes on so it is certainly worth it. If no one bids on a plant at all in a round the lowest value plant is removed from the auction and a new one moved in to keep the flow of the game going.

After buying power plants and fuel to power them you need to build houses. These are built across the main board map in cities. The houses start cheap, but you have to build in a network from your first house and the connections between cities have a cost that must be paid along with the house cost to build a new one. So for example if I build a house in Hamburg, and I want to connect to the city south of it Hannover, the connection cost is 17, the house is 10 so I need to pay 27. This makes placement of your starting houses very important. Each city has 3 zones to build houses but only one player can build a house in each city. zone 1 costs 10, zone 2 15 and zone 3 20. The additional areas open up as stages of the game unlock allowing people to expand their network through other players city networks, an important feature as you can get cut off or find other players connections cheaper despite the increased house build cost.

After buying houses and expending fuel from your power plants to power them each player gets income based on the number of houses they are powering from their plants (You can build more houses than you can power but they gain you nothing until you can power them except board advantage), new fuel is added to the tracker and the rounds start over.

The production values for Power Grid are nice. It comes in a fairly good sized sturdy box. The main game board is pretty big and thick, nice quality and perfectly flat. The game comes with paper money which seems to be pretty rare now days though it does the job fine. The power plant cards are simple to understand with good iconography, they are however odd sizes being square so if you're a gamer that likes to sleeve their cards finding sleeves that fit may be difficult.

In conclusion I like Power Grid quite a lot, it has a lot going for it for my gaming group being reasonably quick to play, deep enough to be interesting each time and playing a large amount of people. Though I have yet to try any of them it also features a huge amount of expansion sets with new boards for different countries as well as new powerplants specific to them and extra rules and they all look pretty cheap at around £14 each to really extend the play time of the game and give it more variety. I plan to pick up the Northern Europe and UK expansion fairly soon.

Recommended.

+ Decent strategy elements without alienating players.
+ Good production values with clear icons.
+ Scales well to higher player numbers.
+ Large amount of well priced expansions.
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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 4 January 2017
The game itself is great, and was a gift for my other half, who loves it. Can't fault the game - it's an enjoyable play. Only problem...

The board is mis-printed! It is still playable, however it was a huge disappointment upon opening the box. Especially since it was a gift, and board games are not particularly cheap.

5* for the game, but the board was a let down.
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on 13 December 2017
A must have strategy game. Don't be put off buly the unconventional theme - the game is engaging and beautifully balanced and has quickly developed into a group favourite. The rules are simple to understand after the first play and the theme is well integrated and actually makes the game more fun. My only recommendation is to get/play with poker chips as the paper money supplied is very fiddly.
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on 18 March 2018
Bought this for my boyfriend for Christmas as he kept going on about it! Very enjoyable game but ensure you give yourself enough time to play it as it can be quite long time play.
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on 22 December 2017
This is my third copy of the game. It's probably still very close to the top of my favourite designer board games.
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on 4 January 2017
Great game - You can tell its German by the fact that one of the rounds is called "Beurocrossy" and its supposed to be fun. Probably not suitable for young children as its a bit intricate but engineers will love it.
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on 12 October 2017
Its a great game
Fairly simplistic for my personal taste but offers a lot of fun
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on 19 December 2016
Brilliant economic strategy game which haves you powering cities across Germany with a variety of increasingly efficient power plants.
Pros:
Little wooden houses
Gorgeous art
No luck
Simple commodity market

Cons:
Intense arithmetic
When someone else buys the last coal
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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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