Power Grid is one of my favorite games, partly because of how easy it is to teach, but also because it presents a plethora of choices that requires players to analyze the position of the board and act on it. The decision making that goes into Power Grid turns almost every game I play into a rewarding highlight as everyone tries to position themselves to build and then power most of the cities.
But I understand. New Power Grid players can easily be overwhelmed by these choices. That’s why I decided to create this Power Grid Strategy Guide, in the form of a list of dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you play. If you want it as a video, you can check it out on the My Board Game Guides Youtube channel. Otherwise, if you look at it well as text, then read on!
Electrical network to do
1. Pay attention to the resources requested:
This will give you an idea of the cost of resources each turn and help you decide how many to buy yourself. If you find yourself competing for these resources and can buy them cheaply, go ahead and do it. You can even buy more when it’s cheap as it might save you money in the long run or make it expensive for other players. Finally, keep track of the recharge rate to predict what the resource prices will look like on the next turn.
2. Understand that the capacity of power plants is king of the endgame:
The game consists of trying to supply as many cities as possible. So your goal should be to make sure that you can supply at least the same number of cities as the victory condition (17 4-player cities, 15 5-player cities). You can even ask for more if you need an insurance policy, but it’s not necessary unless the gambling lasts longer than you think.
3. Examine the power plant futures market and adjust your bidding policies accordingly:
There are Powerhouses that double as endgame powerhouses that you’ll want to get your hands on ASAP. When they appear, and if you think you can snatch them, ignore the other powerhouses available on the auction block (within reason) and try going for the end-game powerhouses.
4. Pay attention to the turn order:
The turn order dictates when you can get resources and when you can expand your cities. The later you arrive in turn order, the sooner you buy resources and the sooner you expand, which can make it really cheap for you and get you moving around high priority towns. It also protects you from being denied the resources you need to power your cities.
5. Identify priority cities and those that are not:
In Power Grid, positioning is everything and you need to make sure you can win the city expansion battles that will inevitably appear during the game. Make sure you are able to take these critical cities before someone else don’t make it there, otherwise you might get stuck, and that’s no fun. Cities that you know you’ve locked up aren’t such a high priority.
Electrical network not to do
1. Buy too many power plants:
Power plants are a big investment in terms of money, and really expensive ones may require you to forgo expansion for a turn. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to use your money wisely and buy … probably no more than 5-6 power plants throughout the game. If your power plants aren’t seeing at least 3-4 duty cycles, you’ve probably invested in a non-critical plant, which means your actions are inefficient compared to everyone else. Plus, when you bid, set a reserve price to stay financially disciplined.
2. Overpay green plants:
Of course, green power looks great because it doesn’t cost any resources to use, but by going this route, you’ve taken yourself out of the race to buy resources, which means you’ve made the resources cheaper for you. everybody. On top of that, green power plants often cause bidding wars between new players and there can be a tendency to overspend on these. As with the guidelines above, if you don’t get at least 3-4 rounds of green power use, it’s not really worth it unless you get it at a good price.
3. Develop yourself:
This relates to turn order because you want resources to be as cheap as possible and you want to position yourself against other players so you can get to the cities with the highest priority before them. Spending all the time last in these critical areas isn’t fun unless you can take advantage of that position to generate more income to keep up with the savings everyone gets.
4. Rely on one type of power plant, especially if it is a resource in high demand:
The factories you own can be very effective and efficient, but you always run the risk that they are too focused on one resource. When this happens, people will try to deny you access to these resources by buying out the entire resource market for that particular resource. Remember, if you can’t power the cities, you can’t win the game.
5. Don’t buy too many resources if it costs you a city:
There will always be a tendency for you to want to buy more resources than you need just to make it expensive for the people who come after you. While this is prudent, what should be of more concern to you is being able to generate more income than other players. You need to focus on building a city up to your supply capacity. Therefore, when purchasing resources, make sure you have calculated how much money you will have left to build the number of cities you want to build in order to maximize your income.
Hope these tips will help you build your strategy base in Power Grid and help you play better. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave your own tips in the comments section below so other players can learn and improve!