Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Power Grid: Feel the Power
The Review Crew's Take on
# Players . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-6
Game time . . . . . . . . 90-130 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 minutes
Luck . . . . . . . . .8. . .Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Component Quality . .. . . . . 8
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 4
*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

A game that involves bidding, buying, building and burning (fuels). The object of the game is pretty simple--build a network of power plants and obtain enough fuel to provide power to the most cities.  Different power plants run on different fuels (oil, coal, uranium, garbage and wind).  It is a great game where you learn to balance expanding your network with getting adequate resources to run your power plants.  I see the game somewhat as a cross between Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Monopoly.  Another interesting twist is that there is a different order that everyone plays in each round, depending on where you are on the scoring track.  This twist makes it a little confusing at first, so expect the first game or two to go a little slower as you learn how it works.

Each round consists of 1) bidding on power plants (that's right, bidding starts at the power plant's face value, and each person gets a chance to buy one each round), 2) purchasing fuels to run the power plants, 3) purchasing power rights to cities (one side of the board is a US map, the other side is Germany), and finally 4), collecting your utility fees, which are called Elektro.  Once the round ends, each person gets points for the number of cities they powered, and then, on to the next round.  The game starts a little slowly, but ramps up quickly as players get more money.

It is a fun game, and teaches concepts such as dealing with scarcity of resources and how to budget your money.  So you get learning and fun at the same time.  The only reason our replayability score is low is that it takes a little while to play (usually we go about 2 hours)--so when you're done, you won't be ready to start again right away.

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