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Power Grid Rules: How do you play Power Grid?

Power Grid Rules: How Do You Play Power Grid?

You might have come across a board game known as Power Grid and wondered what it’s all about. This is an exciting game in which 3-6 players compete to buy power plants, which they use to expand their power networks in cities. They then purchase enough natural resources to power these cities.

Power Grid combines economic systems that simulate the demand and supply of power with an auction round pitting players against each other in bidding for the latest power technology for their cities. Other than being extremely exciting, the game is quite educational since players learn about basic environmental issues and economic principles while putting their math skills to work.

Following is everything you need to know about Power Grid.

Overview of the Game

In Power Grid, you will earn money in each turn when you power a city. To power the city, you should own power plants, then get the right resources for your power. With this in place, you then buy the rights to supply power to your chosen cities. It is crucial to budget your money to last you for all the rounds of the game and remain with as much money as possible.

Components of the Game

To play Power Grid with your friends, you will need the following:

  • A two-sided board with a resource market, scoring track, and player order.
  • 132 wooden houses in 6 different colors. Each player should have 22 houses.
  • 84 resource tokens, including 24 brown ones for coal, 24 black ones for oil, 24 yellow ones for garbage, and 12 red ones for uranium.
  • Currency in Elektro.
  • 6 summary cards detailing the order of payment or play.
  • 43 cards for power plants.
  • Rules sheet.

Rules of the game

In Power Grid, the aim is extending your power network such that you power more cities than other players. The game board depicts a country divided into six zones differentiated by color codes. The cities on the map will have three spaces on which each player places his/her colored wooden houses to depict the control of a city. The game has several rounds/turns, with each comprising five phases. Players take specific actions during these phases before a game progresses to another round. Here are the phases:

  1. Determine Player Order

When starting the game, you will draw lots to get the playing order. After the first round, the number of cities controlled by a player determines his/her playing order. The first player will be the one with the most cities in his/her network. If two players have the same number of cities in their networks, the first will be the one with the larger-numbered power plant. The house of the first player is placed in the first position on your player order area. The other player positions follow the same criterion.

  1. Auction power plants

Here, the cards depicting power plants are spread out, and the first player bids on the plants. These plants generate different power amounts and need different resources to work. A player can make the lowest bid amount on a power plant (this is symbolized in the plant’s number). The other players will then try to surpass the bid or opt out. The one with the highest bid pays his/her Elektro to the bank then takes the power plant.

When starting the game, the plants might not be as efficient, but the most advanced are placed on auction as the game progresses. Players must buy a plant in the first round but can pass a purchase in subsequent rounds.

  1. Purchase resources to power the plants

Once you have a power plant, remember that you need resources to get it going. The power grid has four resource options for powering a plant. These include coal, garbage, uranium and oil. Players can only buy resources for the plants they own.

When buying resources, this is done in reverse player order, meaning the last player is the first to buy resources. As people buy resources, the remaining will cost more, an effective depiction of the supply and demand model. You can only buy resources that your power plant uses. For instance, you only buy coal for a coal power plant.

There are ecological power plants like wind-powered plants that need no resources bought and eco-friendly ones like those using garbage. These might be expensive to buy but cheaper to run.

  1. Building Cities

Remember that the winner in Power Grid is the one with the highest number of powered cities. You thus should balance your resources and networks to get these cities then connect them to power. You start your network by choosing any city not picked by another player in the game’s playing areas.

To symbolize your network, you place one of your wooden houses in the city. To add your network, you connect your new acquisition to one of the cities you already have. This means paying a connection cost indicated on the map and the lowest empty space’s value to the bank. To save cash, you chose the cheapest connection route between your existing city and the new city.

  1. Bureaucracy

In this step, you spend the resources you used to power your cities. Your number of cities will determine how much money you can earn to use in the next phase of auctions, building cities, and buying resources. In bureaucracy, there is also a clean-up. This entails removing some power plants that no one wants from the auction market so that the market keeps moving with new technologies.

The End of the Game

The Power Grid game end in phase 4 when a player has not less than seventeen cities in his/her network. At this point, no one can buy power plants or resources. Even so, the winner is not the player with the highest number of cities but rather the one who can supply power to the highest number of cities in his/her network based on his/her resources and power plants. If there is a tie, the winner becomes the player with a higher amount of remaining Elektro.

Tips for Winning in Power Grid

The basic winning strategy when playing Power Grid is taking a balanced approach. Aim to get as many cities as you can using the least resources. You should also have enough power plants for your cities and have optimal control of them. For instance, if you have ten power plants but only control four, you will not earn much money.

On the other hand, you will waste your Elektro if you purchase ten cities but can only power five. Be prudent with your investments at the start of the game because resources and cities become more expensive as the game progresses. Even so, do not be carried away during the auction phase with high bids for a city or power plant that will not benefit you much.

With the knowledge you have gleaned above, you are now ready to enjoy a round of Power Grid with your friends. Though the basic version of the game has a two-sided board depicting Germany or the U.S, there are currently several international versions available portraying different regions. As such, you might get your Power Grid board representing Korea, Central Europe, Japan and Italy, but they all follow the same playing format.