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150 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very unique game, highly recommended
Short Version:

This game is great. You build cities on a map of Germany or the US, connecting adjacent cities to each other along power lines. Then, you buy power plants of various sorts (coal, oil, nuclear, wind, fusion, garbage) that power a certain number of your cities for a resource cost (coal, oil, etc.). Finally, you pay resources (which you also buy)...
Published on December 31, 2006 by Brian S.

versus
39 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably not for newbies
Me and my family are relatively new to the whole Eurogame thing so maybe we just started jumping off the deep end way too soon. This was the second game I bought after being introduced to the genre by Catan and out of the ten or so times we've played it, I can safely say we've never had a thrilling, suspenseful or really just an exciting session playing it. We've played...
Published on June 21, 2009 by Sherry Chen


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150 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very unique game, highly recommended, December 31, 2006
This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
Short Version:

This game is great. You build cities on a map of Germany or the US, connecting adjacent cities to each other along power lines. Then, you buy power plants of various sorts (coal, oil, nuclear, wind, fusion, garbage) that power a certain number of your cities for a resource cost (coal, oil, etc.). Finally, you pay resources (which you also buy) to use your power plant (or power plants, you can have up to 3) and get paid based on how many cities you have that are receiving power. You repeat this progression (though not in the order described -read below for full details).

Basically, this game is sort of a blend of Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, with some added twists. It plays with 2 to 6 players, with the game adapting somewhat with more or fewer players. I'd guess it's not for kids younger than 10, but it is hard to say. The game is somewhat complex in strategy, but pretty basic in number of rules. It plays in about 2 hours. The board looks great, the pieces are of excellent quality, and there is quite a lot of room for strategy (no die rolling, so not much depends on chance). This is my favorite Rio Grande Game and pretty close to my favorite game of all (Pirate's Cove might still be the top).

Longer Version:

Each turn, you first bid with other players for different power plants. Each plant has advantages: they cost less in their initial bid, they power more cities (from 1 to 7 cities), they cost fewer resources to power cities, they use a resource that other players aren't using, or they take no resources at all to power cities (wind power and fusion power -there is only one fusion power, the most expensive plant in the game). After every player has had a chance to initiate bidding on a power plant, you move on to the next step of the turn.

Next, you buy resources that you will use to feed your power plants. There are six resources types: uranium, garbage, coal, oil. Wind-based power plants and the one fusion-based power plant cost no resources. The cost of resources varies on a sliding scale depending how many were purchased by players in prior turns. The resources also regenerate from turn to turn.

Next, you build cities using money (called Elektro). The cities cost a set amount, and you pay both for the cost to build in a city and for the cost to build power lines to that city. There are no actual power line pieces, you just look at the connecting line on the board between cities and it tells you what it costs to connect those two cities.

Finally, you fuel your power plants with resources, which generates power for your cities. Based on how many cities are receiving power, you get Elektro. After all players have built cities, the turn now ends.

That's the overview, but there are several nuances to Powergrid that add a lot of strategy. First, the more cities you build the lower in turn order you go each round. So if you have the most cities, the other players have a chance to take actions before you. They might build cities where you wanted to build them. Or they might buy resources, which causes them to be more scarce on your chance to buy them (thus you pay more for them).

Second, you don't want to build too fast or you won't be able to outbid other players when buying new and improved power plants, which can be very expensive depending on bidding.

Third, as you build more cities, the game changes somewhat, moving from "stage 1" to "stage 2" and finally to "stage 3." In each stage, resources regenerate faster (or slower), players are able to share cities (so instead of one player controlling a city, in stage 2 two players can control one, and three players can in stage 3).

This game also changes based on the number of players. With 2, you use less of the map, whereas with 6 you use the whole board. The victory conditions also change (the number of cities you have built triggers the end of the game, with various factors affecting who actually wins).

In sum, this is a great game. Very much like Ticket to Ride in general feel, but with the added resources idea of Settlers of Catan plus the bidding aspect of games like High Society or Cleopatra. It's an excellent game, and very well made.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent game, but very long, September 18, 2007
This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
This is a great game. It is fairly long and has a steep learning curve so it will likely take you at least three hours the first time. Don't be discouraged, it'll go faster once you get the hang of it. I recommend assigning jobs for players based on where they sit; one to restock the resources, one to reset the turn order and so on. This will go faster than trying to remember and do everything as a group. And the time to play will fly by, I highly recommended it.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would like to call this game Enron..., August 2, 2005
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
But alas someone would probably sue. It's a simple enought concept of a game.. connect towns in your power grid, power them..(if you feel like it).. get paid for the ones you power, buy resources and available power plants... rinse repeate.

However.. the fact that there are limited resources and limited plants that you can buy... and the fact that you get to bid for things and try to cut people out of certain area's of the map... make it a fantastically interesting and challenging game. It's very well tuned to avoid one person getting a compelling lead and using it to snowball to winning later on, but that doesn't mean that if one person plays well and gets a lead early on that they can't maintain it throught hard work. Beware getting locked into one resource and getting stuck in one area of the map... getting out of that will be expensive...
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39 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably not for newbies, June 21, 2009
By 
Sherry Chen (Hood River, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
Me and my family are relatively new to the whole Eurogame thing so maybe we just started jumping off the deep end way too soon. This was the second game I bought after being introduced to the genre by Catan and out of the ten or so times we've played it, I can safely say we've never had a thrilling, suspenseful or really just an exciting session playing it. We've played it generally with the same four people but have also played the two and three players version.

Maybe it's the group dynamics and the fact that all of us aren't really cutthroat players. We don't go out of our way to cut off people in the board or buy more resources in an attempt to screw other people so there's no real sense of urgency in the game. The auction sessions are pretty lackluster as well as we don't overbid and once a bidding "war" starts, it generally resolves with it being only a few elektros more. And the one time we ran out of one resource was probably the only time it got somewhat interesting so maybe if we had played it with more players, it might get a bit better.

I'm convinced we either don't have the best group for this game or we're just not strategic enough for the game and we just don't know how to play it correctly but for our family, this game is a bit of a miss. We like spending time playing it but we don't seem to have as much fun with it as we do other games that we've bought since Power Grid.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great game, December 30, 2009
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
Once you figure this game out, it is super fun! I recommend playing the "First Time Rules" found in the instruction manual. Great economical building game from Rio Grande. I also own Carcassonne, Bohnanza, Citadels, Settlers of Catan, and San Juan. This game ranks up with all of them IMO. The thing that i enjoy about this game is the lack of a trading system. Many times my family gets upset when they don't get to make a trade. But in this game the only player interaction is an auction system and building area and the rest is up to you, so you get a sense of being able to control your own destiny. The resource market system in this game is genius and wouldn't doubt if other games copied it.

The basic premise of the game is to 1) expand your power infrastructure and 2) supply that infrastructure with power from your power plants using resources that you buy from the market. first you auction plants, then you buy resources, then you build, then you get paid and repeat. Game ends when someone builds X number of cities and the winner is the one who can supply the most cities.

Overall i'd give it an 8.5/10. It still needs a little balancing on its rule set but the game itself is super fun. Also this game tends to be a little on the long side. With 6 non-experienced players, give yourself about 2-3 hours to finish. After playing it once, my family is able to play a game in an hour and a half. Also the learning curve to this game can be a little steep if you're not used to complicated games. Learning strategies can take 3-4 games as well and longer to master. A good thing IMO.

I'd definitely recommend this game to anyone who likes economical building.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cross between Risk, Ticket-To-Ride, and Settlers of Catan, September 4, 2007
By 
Raef (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
I would describe this game as a bit of a cross between Risk, Ticket-To-Ride, and Settlers of Catan (all very good games). As the name suggests you build a network of power grids to supply different cities. It is kind of a weird concept but it is a fun game.

The game seems to be designed to always keep the games close by rewarding the player that is coming last. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing! Sometimes it pays to stay a little behind so you can take advantage of the benefits of coming last.

The auctioning of power plants is quite fun element of the game that I have not really come across in other board games.

It takes quite some time to learn how to play the game as the instructions are not the greatest. There were a few rules you have to make up given the manual is not clear on them.

The game also appears to finish rather abruptly often, although after a while I guess you should be able to see it coming quicker.

While you can play the game with 2 or 3 people I would suggest that it is suggest you try and play it with 4, 5 or 6. The auctions are more competitive and adds the element of scarcity as a strategic factor in the supply of goods (for the power plants).

Overall it is a very good game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great group euro game, not great for two players., October 23, 2013
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This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
Though this game is rated for 2-6 players, I find it is best with 4-6. 2 player games are passable, but not nearly as much fun. There's just something missing from the bidding component without the added players. I have to say that the bidding mechanism for power plants makes this a much more enduring game than Ticket to Ride, which I can grow tired of quickly.

I'd definitely put the game in the same category as Ticket to Ride - you're competing for the same spots on the board, trying to connect and power your cities. However the auction/bidding mechanic makes it far more interesting. You still get the player interaction and fun of cutting people off, but with a few added joys such as earning money to replace your plants with more efficient ones and buy resources. Also, compared to TTR this is much more expandable. Ticket to Ride charges full game prices for each variant (how many are there now?!) while Power Grid allows you to purchase new double-sided maps and cards for $10 each. This makes it a winner in my book.

Downside (yes, there is only one): The rules were unnecessarily confusing. I love games, yet for the first time I was tempted to give up on a game before finishing the rules. Too much confusion around the difference between Phases, Steps, Stages, etc of the game. This could be cleared up with better-written rules. I suggest checking game forums online for player-written rules before you start.

Bottom line - When you have 5 or 6 people and can't play an awesome four-player game, pull out Power Grid. Once people learn it, they'll love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power Grid Review by Dad's Gaming Addiction, October 7, 2013
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
Power Grid: 2-6 Players, Ages 13+, Average Play Time = 90-120 Minutes

I'm not going to lie, it took me a bit of time to understand how all of the steps and phases worked with each other. Once I did, however, I really took a liking to the game. I'd recommend that newcomers find someone to play the game with who already knows how to play. If that isn't possible, set aside some extra time on your first night with your group because you will easily go over the average play time...at least the kids and I did. We clocked in at about three hours, but those three hours weren't boring at any point during our play experience.

There's a lot for a player to consider, giving this game a lot of depth. Players have to balance their Elecktros between the auctions, buying resources, and making connections as best they can. Having an abundance of cities with no power plants capable of powering them may be a problem, as would having a ton of power but not enough cities to pull ahead of the others who are quickly expanding their network. On top of all of that, the resource market is constantly changing, based on what power plants are being used by players. If everyone uses oil, for example, they'll quickly buy it all out or make it so expensive that it just wouldn't be worth using anymore. Players will be constantly changing and adapting to the decisions that everyone else is making. Not only that, but the limit of power plants one can have will force players to buy more efficient plants as they become available...replacing your oldest plant may not always be the best move however, depending on how the resource market looks and what your plants currently use to power your cities.

Vinnie (11) and Anthony (16) both enjoyed themselves. Vinnie received a crash course in auctioning and I took time out to explain how outbidding by absurd amounts would deplete his Elecktro supply to the point of not being able to do much else. He loved his wind powered plants so much that he grabbed up any that made its way to the current market. At one point, he had the ability to power thirteen cities but only had five connections, not having the Elecktro to build them. However, as he never had to purchase resources, he was building connections like mad toward the end of the game with his surplus Elecktro. Anthony had all uranium power plants and quickly saw that he was buying up more than the market was restocking, so he switched over at the end to the 50 power plant, gobbling it up and powering a ton of cities at no resource cost. I, on the other hand, was buying up coal and oil for cheap as no one else was using it. I was the leader for the majority of the game and took a balanced approach, buying one to two cities every round while buying upgrades (power plants) and resources only when needed. Once I reached a certain point, neither Vinnie or Anthony could stop me.

Overall, I highly recommend Power Grid. In my opinion, it's worth learning how to play, despite how overwhelming the gameplay mechanics can be at first. With the right coaching and a good amount of patience, younger kids like my eleven year old son can still have a blast powering cities and making connections. Excellent game!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite board game! (and a tip to even out the map), April 27, 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
This is a great game! For comparison, I'm a fan of other strategy board games, including Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassone, and Pillars of the Earth.

I think Power Grid has a great balance of strategy and relatively straightforward gameplay. It's not TOO difficult to pick up the basic rules (especially if you're playing with someone who's played before), so people can play even if they're not especially into thinking hard. Also, there's enough random chance that the most experienced players don't always win. However, there's enough going on strategy-wise to keep real game buffs quite entertained!

Also, I'm fascinated by way this game reflects the "real world" in some ways. For instance, the price of raw materials is determined by supply and demand - i.e. if everyone wants coal, it will become more expensive and you can eventually run out. Also, there's a great moral dilemma about using alternative (wind) energy - it's more expensive to start with, but then it's free to produce energy, but eventually the total capacity just can't compare to fossil fuels. Of course it's still a game, but some aspects of it could be used as illustrations or even teaching tools.

My only minor gripe is with the maps - you're spread out around maps, and each player has to pay to "transfer" between cities on the map. However, these transfer costs are wildly unequal - players who start the game in map areas with expensive transfer costs are at a significant disadvantage compared to those who start in areas with cheap transfers. There's apparently no incentive to start in the "expensive" section; it's just a handicap. So we've arbitrarily capped transfer costs at 12 - anything under that you pay face value, but you never have to pay more than 12. This helps a great deal to even things out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairly complicated, but a great game nonetheless, June 19, 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Power Grid (Toy)
The mechanics in the game are what really make this great:

Dynamic player order - does a really good job at preventing the snowball effect. The person that is farthest behind gets a decent advantage in each other aspect of the game.
Auctioning of power plants - pretty standard auctioning system, but a fair amount of strategy involved, as the last person to go will essentially get their choice of power plant for the minimum cost.
Buying resources - AMAZING mechanic. A constant amount of resources are added to the supply each round and the cost of each resource goes down as more of it is available. This means you really have to plan ahead and be able to adapt if necessary.
Building phase and the map in general - Players pick regions at the start of the game which determines where the game will actually take place. This alone increases replayability, as you will have a different map to work with each game. In addition, the board is two sided (USA and Germany), and you can choose which side to play on. The building phase stays interesting though the game as more of the map opens up as you progress thru the steps.

The steps that the game progresses through really add a lot to the game as well. The first player to hit 7 cities triggers step 2, where all of the cities get another spot to build in, at a slightly higher cost. Step 3 is where the game really gets intense as the more powerful power plants come into the game and players race to the victory conditions.

It will probably take a while to play your first game. I had heard a lot of people complain about the amount of math they had to do in order to play the game, but it really isn't all that much. If a strategically deep game with great mechanics appeals to you, Power Grid is a great choice.
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Power Grid
Power Grid by Rio Grande Games
$44.99 $32.76
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