Gamers: Henry (rhyen), Alvin (aycee), Ainul (aanemesis), Nelson (nelson), CK Au (jack208), Heng (ayheng)
Games: Powergrid Korea
Location: Old Town Kopitiam Cheras Google Map
Date/Time: 29 January 2010 (Fri) 9.00 PM – 11.00 PM
Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ Old Town Kopitiam Cheras 29/1/2010
Special thanks to Mr Friedemann Friese Fan, rhyen, the six of us got to try back this old gem after the last Spanish & Portuguese map. (We wanted to try the Brazilian map but rhyen insisted on showing aycee the Korean one).
This game also saw the grace of his Eminence, The Jedi Lord aanemesis
The wrinkle in this flavour of Powergrid map is the separate market for North and South Korea. Thematically, only the South Korean market offers nuclear fuel and thus nuclear players are forced to buy only from the South Korean market. So potentially there could be a crowding of the South Korean market.
The other effect as pointed out clearly by jack208 is that the power plants consuming three fuels are at a disadvantage since the limited resources are split between two markets and both of them are quite expensive.
Our game started with myself going for the cheapest power plant while jack208 going for the most expensive one. Jedi Lord aanemesis went for the second most expensive.
jack208: eh? I did get the #9 but I thought aanemesis went for the #10 and someone got the #13?
Building first, I positioned myself right smack in the middle of the map in Seoul, giving myself space to breakout in any direction should I be hemmed in. Surprisingly aycee went to the east coast and so did nelson, setting up a fight that both of them were sure to hurt badly by. rhyen spotted an opportunity and hemmed me in by blocking the link north of Seoul. Aanemesis wisely went south to the open lands, leaving jack208 in Kaesung to contest the middle board with me.
nelson was the immediate casualty of two newbie mistakes, one was building two cities at the get go, setting himself up to be blocked by aycee at a subsequent building turn. Also, he depended too much on alternative energy too early, getting screwed by the scarcity of garbage and nuclear fuel. For the longest time, he could not expand as he was hemmed in the west by myself and jack208 as well as the south by aycee and aanemesis.
newbie tip#1: check the resource refill rate, they are different for different maps, do not get trapped into buying power plants with low resource refill rate.
Using the force, aanemesis blocked aycee and nelson to give himself free rein of the southern cities.
Meanwhile rhyen happily expands north unchecked as it was then too expansive for myself and jack208 to break out.
My fight with jack208 was relatively painless as there were enough space for both of us… of course, we did leap frog over each other a few times to make sure we were not completely hemmed in at all times. A bloodless duel.
jack208 and aanemesis triggered step2 in time and this marked a turning point where both jack208 and myself diverged decisively. I blocked the northern access and he had to turn south.
aanemesis on the other hand was stuck in a dilemma as he was stuck with low power plant capacity. The high capacity power plants had came out too early and now the lower ones flooded the market.
rhyen surprisingly had not capitalise well on his dominance of the northern links and it could have been down to his choice of power plants and his reluctance to pay premium for choice plants. Also, there could have been some expensive sojourn in the resource market.
nelson thankfully got to breakout of his connection trap in step 2 and race out aggressively… but he’s in a badly hamstrung condition brought about by many turns of low income generation.
aycee expanded relatively well but again suffered the same problem as aanemesis and rhyen as his steadfast refusal to buy premium power plants meant that he reached his limit in capacity.
The end game came down to a key play whereby I lingered at 8 connections while jack208, aanemesis, rhyen and aycee raced ahead. nelson, although a step behind, was already too far out of the race. I was lucky to have expanded north as the coast is clear to allow myself to build to 14 cities thus triggering the game end.
Due to the irregularity of the high capacity power plants coming out earlier and then later having the market saturated by the low capacity ones, jack208, aanemesis, rhyen and aycee were stuck owning capacities capable of powering 11 cities only. I had capacity for 13, thus giving me the game.
The takeaway from this game as well as the Spanish & Portuguese game was the same and thankfully I’ve seen it. The key to both games was the irregularity of the power plant market whereby the high capacity power plants came out too early and the low capacity ones came out too late. In both instances, the power plants saturated the market and step 3 did not come out fast enough to allow the high capacity plants to return to the market. Without the high capacity plants, the game came down to whoever that has the highest capacity and my gambit of buying a high capacity plant early, similar to jack208’s gambit in the previous game, let me come out tops.
Advance Powergrid strategy tip: watch the sequence of the power plant market, if it seems to be getting saturated, get yourself a high capacity one!
Overall, the players did well to diversify their resources to mitigate the risk from the twin markets of North and South Korea. The resources did get expansive at times but at no point did they run out. This game’s flow was influenced more by the power plant market irregularities.
jack208: I already have the capacity to do 14 cities very early in the game when I went for the #36 power plant which powers 7 cities. rhyen saw this and that’s why he got three ppl to arrowed me in the south 😦
The tipping point was probably when you expanded north and I was deciding whether to follow you up north or go south. If I followed you, I think both of us will get stuck up there…. so I decided to go south… but when rhyen organized the Three Arrows Attack (hehe), I knew I couldn’t get to 14 cities fast enough in the south and was setting up myself for Step 3 to trigger; and hoping you do not have enough cash to build to 14 up north in that turn. Obviously this gambit FAILED… Well played and GG to you. 🙂
The other interesting point was that rhyen was sitting on a very good board position yet he did not capitalize on that to run away…. either he’s too distracted organizing 3AA or he’s too fixated trying to figure out how to cut/trim the lamination on his Power Plant cards. 😛
My thought on the Korea Map: The Korea map is one of the more interesting Powergrid map as it presented two separate resource pools which if not managed properly can screw up our resource purchasing capacity…
|POWER GRID DIRECTOR’S CUT
We also discussed about the “director’s cut” version of Powergrid (after our Factory Manager session) which was Friedemann Friese’s original design ie. play to 20 cities instead of 14. Jay (Rio Grande) convinced Friese to trim down the design to the shorter game of 14/15 cities (ie. the “theatrical version”) as that would sell more Powergrid but Friese has always maintained his preference is the 20-cities end-game.
The Power Plant Deck 2 is effectively the Director’s Cut release of Powergrid as with this new deck, Friese realized his vision of allowing Powergrid to be played to 20-cities (there are some power plants in this deck that can power up to 8 and 9 cities).
By extending the end-game condition to 20-cities, the mid-game becomes richer and the auctions for power plants more important. Grabbing a good “keeper” power plant in Step 2 cannot win you the game as you’ll still need to upgrade to one of the 8- or 9-cities power plant in Step 3 in order to drive to 20-cities.
So.. when do we want to try a 6-player Power Grid Director’s Cut? 😛
|SESSREP PART 2|
Stay tuned for the sessrep on the other games played this evening ie. Small World, Chicago Express, Bang! and Factory Manager.
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