Andy was back from Essen with the new Power Grid map – Australia & Indian Subcontinent, and we played the India map. I understood from Simon that while I played a warm-up game, Andy had taken the opportunity to tell everybody to watch out for me, because I was a dangerous player. Hardly true, since this was to be my third game. Although, as Simon pointed out, I did not deny it.
In Step 1 of the game’s three steps, you really feel that you are in a developing country. You are only allowed to buy raw materials up to cost five, and there isn’t much there to buy. There is also a risk that there will be a power failure, resulting in lost income.
The first time I played Power Grid, everybody built two houses in the first turn except me, so this time I thought I would build two. I got hold of an (inefficient) coal-fired power station that needed three units of coal to function. It worked out in the first turn. I built two houses and was in the lead. Already in the second round, however, this backfired, because the way the game holds you back if you are in the lead, I was now the last player to buy raw materials. Andy, having realised raw materials were scarce, had bought enough for his plant but could buy the last available coal. “Unless somebody really needs it.”
“I do!” I said foolishly, and Andy bought the coal, leaving me without power and income for the turn. I would probably have bought it also, but without checking if anybody needed it first, which was a bit mean, although perhaps more entertaining. Things were not looking good. In turn four I was also without enough coal and seriously behind the leaders.
The first step took forever to get through. In step 2 India’s economy started to take off and it became easier to buy enough raw materials. A lot of trash was being generated, so an incineration plant I had bought came in handy, even though this type of plant is inefficient in this version of the game, requiring one extra unit of trash to function. I hoarded coal which cost money and maybe I could have built another house if I hadn’t.
In the end Stuart and I had the same number of powered houses, but he beat me buy a few electros, so I finished last. Congratulations to Alex who won! Everybody seemed to enjoy the game except Ian A who didn’t like the theme much. Despite my shortcomings as a Power Grid player the game has become one of my favourites. I will try to get my revenge on Andy another time!