09-Mar-2008All month

This is shaping up to be one of the best games of 2007. I'm starting to see a number of different strategies to the game which none of us have really explored yet, so I'm certain that it will have legs.

This time we get stuck up on the rules for the virtual link, and the exact rules for building a shipyard in Liverpool. The rules specify that coal from the demand track can be used if none is available from Lancashire. That implied that coal could thus be used to build the shipyard, even if there was no means of moving coal there from a mine. But other rules states that the virtual link could not be used to freight in coal, and that the shipyard could not be build without this. In the end we judged that such a build was not possible, though we never fully got to the bottom of it.

We also realised, half way through the game, that money from the cotton demand track should be treated as income and not cash in hand. That would certainly have helped some of our cashflow issues, most of us having rather less than we'd have liked for most of the game. Then again, that is a Martin Wallace trademark.

After three games, we've still not managed to play with all of the right rules, but hopefully next time. We did play with a different subset of incorrect rules than we had used previously. I'll claim that this offset the fact that Tel had never played before, thus explaining the fact that he won.
Scores: Tel 118, Andy 114, Paul 112, Oggie 94
Ratings: Tel 8, Andy 8, Paul 8, Oggie 7
Winner(s): Tel


Scores: Tel 16, Paul 13, Oggie 13, Andy 9
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 7, Oggie 7, Andy 7
Winner(s): Tel

Power Grid

We're all fond of Powergrid. If it has a fault at all, it's that the market can stagnate in the mid game. That tends to bog the game down for a few turns, whilst people wait for useless plants to be cycled out. Of course this can be a good thing if you've bought large power plants early in the game, even if you don't need the capacity yet. As Tel showed yet again. It seems to suck some of the fun from the game though. There is an attempt to resolve this issue via the rule which states the lowest power plans is removed from the auction display if none are bought in a turn. Perhaps this would work better if two plants are removed - a possible variant to try next time.

From the initial setup, it was clear that Andy and Paul would be tripping over each other. They built right next to each other, and spent the early game trying to block each other off. Oggie and Tel had more room to expand, and seemed to be favourites by the mid game.

But this is where the snagnation came to play. The market clogged up with one and two city plants, which were borderline useless for everybody. For a few turns the game became all about not buying a debatable plant in case a useful one dropped down for everybody else. This helped Andy catch up from his earlier blocking misadventures. But it was eventually to Tel's advantage as he managed to secure a small lead in capacity. This allowed him to trigger the end by building to his 17th city, despite only being able to power 11 of them.

Oh, and Oggie hoarded resources again.
Scores: Tel 11, Andy 10, Oggie 9, Paul 7
Ratings: Tel 8, Andy 8, Oggie 8, Paul 7
Winner(s): Tel