After meeting up with Kris' cousin Tim, Kris, Bob, Lil and I went over to Andy's for some games. Andy had not only rearranged his living room / dining room area, but he had also bought a few new games for the evening. Tonights game was Powergrid.
The goal of the game is to build and power 17 power stations. Each player starts with two power stations, and builds more each round. For each city that is powered at the end of the round, a player receives funds. Powering requires purchasing resources to run the power stations: oil, coal, garbage or barrels of fissionable material for the nuclear plant. Of course, if you had managed to purchase the a wind, turbine, solar or fusion plant, no additional resources are needed to generate electricity from the plant.
Kris needed to work some, and I wanted to work some during the evening, so I managed to finagle us on the same team. For the record, this was the most entertaining way I could possibly think to play this game. Not because we were both half distracted, but because I've always played board/table games against Kris, not with Kris (ultimate doesn't count here, people), and hoo boy, was it fun to work with him in this game. He suggested moves I would never have thought of (bold! daring! exciting! stupid!), and I suggested strategies he'd never try (horde! conserve! expand! explode!). Together, we captured the Eastern Seaboard:
Part of the game that changes each step of the game (because, really, the way "step" and "phase" are translated during the game is completely backwards: step should be phase and phase should be step, and knowing this, I'm using the terms the way they SHOULD be used, not the way the documentation suggests) is the order of play: the team that is currently losing gets to go first in one part of the round, but the leading team goes first in a different part of the round. I had suggested a couple times that we deliberately not expand during a round in order to drop into last place so that we would first in the resource buying and power station building steps.
Not building not only dropped us back a power station, it also enabled us to horde our money for a round so that we could break free of the station block that Andy, Andy and Bob had successfully put against us. We were able to build on the transmission lines across country and build in Billings, then Seattle and Portland. A good part of this was based on the green energy power stations we had acquired early in the game. Since the transmission lines were so expensive on the West Coast, no one really built too far west, and we ended up being the East Coast / West Coast king pins:
And, in doing so, opened up the whole board again for everyone to play. Once one player (the player known as KrisKitt, in this case) powers seven cities, each city can have two players building power stations in them. Andy and Andy quickly shared the Eastern Seaboard with us, but, by that point, we has solidified our resources.
Kris and I built six cities in the last round to win at 12:45 in the morning, way too late for most of the McQueens to be thinking coherently. Our resource hording allowed us to build a power plant that powered all of them (green energy be damned! Though I really did want the clean fusion power plant, sigh...), and we won, with a city to spare.
It was a fun game. I'd play it again. If Andy suggests Diplomacy, I'll diplomatically suggest we power up.