Power Grid Board Game
by Gary Sonnenberg
Board game manufacturer:
Rio Grande Games
Number of players:
Power Grid is a fun Euro board game for those who like auctions, the supply and demand mechanic, and lots of math involving money.
The game and gameplay
Power Grid starts each round with an auction for a source of power – a coal plant, an oil refinery, a garbage facility (recycled waste), a nuclear plant, or a wind farm. Each power source card requires a fuel source, except for wind farms.After possibly winning a card in the auction, you buy the corresponding resources to fuel the hardware. Resources are represented by wooden cubes and barrels of different colors.
Coal is brown cubes; oil is black barrels, garbage is taller yellow barrels, and uranium is red barrels. There is a limited supply of each, and the laws of supply and demand determine how much money you have to spend per unit of material.
After acquiring the needed resources, you spend them to light up as many cities as you control in return for cash to spend in the next round. The more you can power, the more money you’ll get.
At the beginning of the Power Grid board game, each city can only be powered by one player. It costs a certain amount of money (shown on the board) to build a power plant in each city. It also costs money to connect one city and plant to another. These costs are also shown on the board.
At a certain point in the game (determined by the number of players), two players may build in each city. And later, in the third major phase (as determined by the power plant cards), up to three players may build in each.
Power Grid ends when at least one player has built plants in a certain number of cities (again, determined by the number of players). At that point, whoever can power the most cities is the winner. You may have built the most plants, but if someone else can power more of theirs than you, that other player will win.
Pros and cons
One of the neatest features of Power Grid is that it comes with a double-sided game board. One side shows the United States, and the other side shows Germany. In a way, you’re getting two games for the price of one.
The board, wooden bits, and power cards are of good quality.
The money is unfortunately made of flimsy paper like Monopoly money. It won’t tear easily, but I wish it were made of something sturdier like card stock.
The directions are complete and easy enough to understand, but there are important points that are easy to miss. Thankfully, there are other aides available online to remedy this problem.
Power Grid is a great game featuring tight money and lots of math calculations. If you enjoy auctions and basic math in your board games, this one is for you.
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