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Power Grid
 
 
 
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Power Grid

English language edition of Funkenschlag


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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 120 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Friedemann Friese

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, 2F Spiele

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Product Description

This is the new and improved (rules and graphics!) Funkenschlag from Friedemann Friese. Players compete to build the best network of power lines and stations, choosing which cities to supply and what sources of power to use.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Advanced Strategy Game Nominee, 2005
Spiel des Jahres
Recommended, 2005
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2004

Product Information

Contents:

  • 1 two-sided gameboard (Germany / USA)
  • 132 wooden houses
  • 84 wooden tokens
  • money
  • 5 summary cards
  • 43 power plant cards
Power Grid has the following expansions available:

Spielbox 2014 Issue #1 English language edition Out of Stock

Spielbox 2013 issue 1 English language edition Out of Stock

Power Grid: Brazil / Spain & Portugal English language edition Out of Stock

Power Grid: China/Korea Expansion English language edition of Funkenschlag: China/Korea Out of Stock

Power Grid: Benelux/Central Europe English language edition of Funkenschlag: Benelux/Zentraleuropa Out of Stock

Power Grid: The New Power Plant Cards card expansion 1 Out of Stock

You might be interested in these related products as well:

Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America English version of Funkenschlag Deluxe Out of Stock

Product Reviews

Alan How
November 30, 2001

The most recent addition from Essen's man with green hair (Friedemann Friese) is a serious business game, containing elements of the Mayfair crayon games, limited resources and a variety of ways of getting to the winning conditions.

The aim of the game is to supply a number of cities with power (electricity). The cities are evenly distributed on a board, which contains rivers, hills and sea coves. Players build a network of power lines over which power stations supply electricity. The power stations are purchased via an auction that is the first action in each game round.

There are a variety of types of power station. Each power station card contains the same information:

  • a number, which serves two purposes -- the minimum bid that a player may make on a power station and the sequence in which the power stations are auctioned;
  • the type of power station -- coal, gas, oil, wind, garbage, uranium, nuclear fusion -- determining the fuel required. In the case of wind and nuclear fusion no purchased fuels are required. Each type of power station is colour coded for easier reference.
  • The number of cities that can be supplied by this card;
  • The amount of resource required to supply the number of cities on the card.
Players bid for the power stations at an auction. Eight cards are always on display; the lowest four numbered are available for auction. As each one is sold, a new power station card is turned over from deck and the new lowest four are now available for purchase. Each player is able to gain one power station from the initial auction.

After this, players start to draw the network of power lines across the map. At the beginning of the game, networks are very small. It takes several turns to join up to the next cities and during the first phase each city may only be connected to the power grid of one player. The networks are marked on the map using crayons and this prompts my first gripe about the presentation of the game. The crayon marks are difficult to remove from the mapboard. Fortunately, Herr Friese has recognized this and now supplies a cloth to remove them. (Obtainable from him by email friedemann@2f-spiele.de)

My second concern is the way that the board fits into the box. It appears that the box size is one that 2F-Spiele have used before and the board has been bent to fit. It does not spoil the game as it can be flattened out, but it is disappointing that this was not dealt with -- perhaps by cutting the board or re-shaping it in some way.

Players supply their power stations with resources, which are purchased from a stock market containing the raw materials. So coal, the cheapest resource, is used to supply coal power stations; oil for oil power stations etc. As a percentage of starting capital, the cost of these resources is considerable and so at the beginning you have to be careful how much you bid for power stations, as you will also need to buy resources and to allow enough money for expansion of your network of power lines. Later in the game, the cost of resources is only a fraction of the cost of the power stations and money flows in more readily.

Phase two is started when one player connects 8 cities. This allows each city to be connected to 2 player's networks. Phase 3 begins when a card in the power station card deck is revealed and this allows each city to be connected to 3 networks belonging to 3 players.

I have found that the pricing of resources does not inhibit growth and so far the games I have played have allowed plenty of resources. Perhaps this is because the wind powered plants do not require any resources. As these power stations supply several cities, those players probably will not need to buy resources from the market, so the availability of resources is better for the other players.

In Essen, the games played at the 2F-spiele stand ran out of resources, so they had the opposite kind of problem. Maybe this arose because the wind powered power stations did not get purchased? Either way it suggests some kind of balancing is required.

My final concern is that it may not prove possible to catch the leaders. My experience so far is that once someone establishes a lead early on, they can, by playing sensibly, maintain that lead through expanding at the same or better rates than their rivals. As the money received for supplying more cities increases (although the incremental income is smaller for each city), it is possible for the leaders to maintain their leads. Some gaming groups may like this aspect of course, but there could have been some tax on larger routes that made the race to win closer than it appears to be at present.

So is this game a recommended purchase? Despite my reservations, I did enjoy playing it. Networks do expand and the auction for power stations works well, since, as better ones become available, the fact that you are limited to three power stations means that you do scrap old ones in favour of more efficient plants. The drawing of networks on maps is also a good aspect of the game (Mayfair could not have sold their Empire Builder series if were not.). My overall opinion is that the game is enjoyable but may have some rough edges. The designer has some neat ideas in the game, but they require more testing before I feel able to form a definite recommendation. I look forward to seeing more commentary on the game.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
John McCallion
December 31, 2002

Cards illustrate a power plant (priced from $1 to $60), its fuel (garbage, coal, oil, or nuclear energy), and the quantity needed to supply a number of cities. Phases start with auctions, where everyone can acquire an available plant for at least its minimum value. Pay to draw power lines (in your color) connecting cities on the map; rivers and mountains are expensive obstacles. Purchase fuel to stock the plants. Each fuel's cost increases the more it is bought or stocked. At the end of each round, players add up income earned for the cities they supply by spending fuel. Whoever supplies the most cities, when one player has 20 connected cities, prevails. Keenly balance your tight budget between plants (especially the most efficient but expensive ones that come into play late in the game) and fuel in a volatile market. Minor flaws mar this electrifying gaming experience: Be sure to invest in dry-erase markers and some Plexiglas to flatten the board.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Other Resources for Power Grid:

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