English language edition of Funkenschlag
List Price: $44.95
Your Price: $35.99
(Worth 3,599 Funagain Points!)
from 22 customer reviews
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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.
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May 19, 2006
Power Grid is a medium-weight strategy game with auctions, markets, and connections of cities.Watch the video!
Power Grid makes the seemingly dull world of electricity and power feel energizing. There is a heavy reliance on math, and it may be good to have a calculator handy in case you can't do the sums in your head that fast, but there are many things to occupy your mind with this game. Deciding which plants to invest in, which to keep, how best to maximize your energy resources, and which cities you can power and win are key. It is all in the timing and the placement with this game and the more people you play with the more challenging it gets.
The game comes with a double-sided map (USA on one side and Germany on the other). With other power plant expansion decks and additional country maps available, you will never grow weary of this game. It has an extremely understated box design, with a truly scientific yet satisfied looking professional who is simply twisting a knob to power his plant. The inside of the box continues with this stark design, but don't let it fool you. There is a lot of strategy and ingenious game design packed inside this power-cell game.
The game play is addicting and the game itself is almost always at the top of all the gamer "best" lists. Don't judge this book by its cover, Power Grid packs a wallop.
I love this game. I've been playing it almost non-stop.
Me and my friends play with one additional rule that isn't in the rule book though: We add an additional cost of 10 euros for the third city, 20 for the fourth, 30 for the fifth, ect. This stops people from rushing to the target number of cities as soon as they can power more then any other player that turn.
Without going into the rules, Power Grid is a great game that requires thought, planning, and no small amount of cunning.
I'm not sure about some of the comments here... there is no race to buy power plants because you are only allowed 3 max. You really need to plan ahead to be able to power as many cities as possible.
You constantly have to make difficult choices... if you buy a power plant and free up a space in the market, you give your opponents the opportunity to buy a BETTER plant. If someone raises the bid on a plant, do you raise? Will you have enough money to buy the fuel you will need? Should you over buy fuel to drive up the price for others, even though you may end up paying more the next time you buy?
There are so many tactics and strategies that the game never gets old.
The only downside is that the rules are badly written, making the game seem more complicated than it is. You can download a rules summary and player-aid at www.boadgamegeek.com.
You need this game.
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.
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:
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 email@example.com)
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.