Nadine, Abraham, Eitan, and Emily came over for a game on shabbat afternoon.
Nadine and Abraham are regulars to the group. Abraham's wife is out of the country, so he was bored. Eitan and Emily are a couple that came to a recent group meeting once, and now plan to attend with some frequency.
I chose Power Grid as a good game for a shabbat afternoon for five, including two first-time players (E&E). And Abe had played only once.
Several truism about Power Grid, which we expressed at the beginning of the game: the game is really decided in the last two or three turns, assuming you play reasonably; and everyone falls 1 or 2 dollars short at least once in the game.
Actually, I didn't experience the last one this game. And I also discovered another truism: it's harder to get the plants you need then the goods and cities you need. That's because you can only get one plant at a time, and only a few or no decent one will be available on each turn. Which isn't to say that you can't be locked out of fuel on occasion. But it's a secondary concern to the plants.
In our game, we played without the Southeast on the US map.
Nadine had the plants she needed close to the beginning of the game. I took Pennsylvania as my opening move, and Nadine still insisted on taking New York. As a result, within tow or three turns, she was locked into three cities for all of stage 1. The closest city she could get to after that was at a cost of 51 (Knoxville or somesuch). Despite that, and despite terribly low income as a result of that, she still managed to make it to 14 cities in the last three turns, when she could finally expand.
Abraham took the West and tried valiantly to lock everyone else out of it. Eventually, however, we crept through his wall here and there. Eitan especially found his way from Duluth to Seattle and shot out from there.
Eitan and Emily took most of the the center, Eitan in the north and Emily in the south. Eitan crowded against me and Abraham the most. From my three cities in Pennsylvannia, I also got crowded and jumped into the center south to compete with Emily there. Eitan triggered stage 2 with his leap to Seattle, and stage 3 came a turn later.
Eitan played primarily a green strategy. I took an early nuclear, and Emily took a later one. We were buying them at cost of 1 or 2 the whole game. We also both took hybrids, and Emily also had a garbage.
Nadine had all oil, and Abraham had all coal. Coal shot up in price early on, but as people got out of it, the price fell. Abraham still had a chance to spend a ton of money on the last turn to prevent me from powering my 7/3 coal plant but it wasn't worth his while to do so.
Final scores: Eitan 16+, Emily 16-, Jon 15, Nadine 14+, Abraham 14-
The game took us from around 4:45 to 8:00, breaking for maariv and havdalah. And then followed by dinner.
Also, Friday night I asked my guests some Moot questions. Many of the questions are not all so tough, but the subject is interesting.