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GAMEPLAY In Power Grid, players represent power distribution companies vying to develop different types of energy plants, buy necessary raw materials, and create a network of power stations to distribute the power the plants generate. Turns are broken into five phases. The auction power plants phase goes in turn order (determined by the player with the largest network to the smallest). A player may only have three plants maximum. The buy resources phase is done in reverse turn order as is the create a network phase. In the latter, players build stations on the map. They can start by building anywhere but, from then on, a player must pay the connection costs from the original city as well as the city building costs of the new city in order to build new stations. Finally, in the bureaucracy phase, players use their power plants to consume the resources they bought to power a certain number of stations. The number of stations powered results in a certain amount of income. The resource market is refilled and the power plant market also gets some rejiggering. The second era of the game, or “Step 2”, happens when a player builds their seventh station. At this point, players can build in a city that has previously been built in. The third era of the game, or “Step 3”, is triggered when a player draws the Step 3 card. At the end of the round when a player builds their 17th station, the player able to power the most stations wins the game. THOUGHTS Screw Catan – Power Grid is the network game people should shower with adulation. Yes, the board looks like a child took a Crayola to a Jackson Pollock painting and the game comes with – *shudder* – paper money so Catan has it beat there if we want to quibble. But, in nearly every other respect, PG is superior. First off, PG has player interaction at every turn of the game. Bidding up a power plant in the first phase could leave someone short of funds to buy resources of expand their network. Alternatively, you might be able to get a better plant for cheap by waiting out the other players. Then, you think you’re smart because you have that great oil plant. But, because of turn order, the other player with an oil plant gets to buy resources first and now oil costs an astronomical 8 elektro a pop. Likewise, stations are bought in reverse turn order which allows you to close off your opponent. Fortunately for your opponent’s sake, they are not completely hemmed in: they just have to pay the connection cost to get beyond the spot you just snapped up. But, if you scream ahead and buy too many stations, you’re in first place next turn and good luck getting that sweet power plant in the future market. And round it goes. PG also has a unique win condition. Players don’t score VP or win via money or race to a goal. Instead, it’s the player who can power the most stations after 17 stations have been bought. So, even a player who doesn’t have the most stations on the board could sneak out a win. If I had a real quibble beyond the two that I mentioned at the top, it’s that turn order plays a huuuuge role in the game and, sometimes, players have to make suboptimal moves because they ramped up their network too quickly. At the same time, that’s not the game’s fault but the player’s. All euro gamers should play PG at one point; it’s an unequivocal classic. PROS -Fantastic implementation of three unique styles of player interaction: auctions, scarcity, and network building. -Unique victory condition. -Variety is through the roof due to the dozens of maps. NEUTRAL -Turn order is such a significant factor in this game. In particular, it really hurts when you’re first in the auction phase and your choices are to either pass or to bid on a power plant that’s just okay while your opponents get dibs on those sweet futures market plants. Still, it’s a player-created situation; there’s an interesting trade-off in deciding to buy more stations or hang back and wait. CONS -The art is bad. Really, really bad. You’d think with the deluxe version they’d come in and make the game look cool but they decided to double down on the bad art instead. -Paper money. Play with poker chips or the metal coins you got as add-ons for any one of your 200 KS games.
I first played this as a new board gamer and it was too much for me. Now that I have a lot more experience gaming, I can say that this game is really incredible! So much fun, slightly frustrating, looking forward to playing it again!
This is a very good game which strikes the right balance between predictability and randomness. There are multiple paths, enough player interaction without being too confrontational and (usually) no runaway leader syndrome. It can be a tad dull at times (waiting for a new stage, not wanting to be the leader, etc) and there can be quite a bit of analysis paralysis, especially towards the end, so that's why the rating is not as high as it could be. Lowered rating since there were multiple occasions this could be picked and was skipped by vote of majority. Other games are more interesting, I suppose.
Very balanced, polished and fun game of buying power plants to power cities to get money to buy better power plants to power more cities. Can seem like an accounting exercise at times as you add up the money you need, but I always have a good time.
Played once. More enjoyable than was expecting when solo learning the game. Looking forward to play again, which is always a good sign. Think you need to play once in a group to appreciate mechanics. Feels like a medium weight game.
It's got a lot of weird rules to remember, mostly resulting from the clunky scaling to number of players, but for the most part is pretty easy to play, and you can get through a game in an hour and a half or less. I really like the fuel market, which mimics a supply curve by having prices that move depending on how much are purchased.
You know, for all its fiddly-ness, this game is just great. Maybe it is the fact that it is so cumbersome but many people take to it. I like it though I don't play it as often as I should. Have played the France/Italy and the Central Europe/Benelux maps too! Fun stuff there and the minor rules changes changes things slightly and give it a different "flavour". 2006-10-01 - Bought 2008-02-23 - Bumping rating down from 8.5 -> 7.5; Somehow the game just lost its taste for me and I haven't played it in a long while. 2008-08-05 - Bumping rating 7.5 -> 8 2010-09-15 - Sold 2016-07-17 - Bought River Market
An interesting Euro game with lots of competition but it is held back by the by the turn order system and is not thematic at all. It's a solid game, but with limited potential. Also intentionally makes itself slower and longer with a mechanism that provides no entertainment, a truly terrible idea.
Screams, "EURO!" which often keeps it off the table. The theme is there, but is super dry. Also, there is a substantial risk of A.P. and the game can crawl on for eons. Decent come-from-behind mechanics, but the lead player stills holds the advantage. The market system is fabulous, and the different maps add a nice boost of variety to this game. I love this game; especially when I have exact change to complete my turn, but my opponent is left a dollar short. If it was shorter, it might be a favorite.
(7/16) 7. (10/17) Drop to 5. A game I wish I liked more, and maybe I would. I just played my first game against people who knew what they were doing and got a little smoked. Similar to what happened to me with Agricola. Would play again.