It’s been a long time since I wrote about a game day, mainly because there have been so few of them in the last year or so. Mike’s schedule, holidays, sickness, etc. have interrupted our every-other week plan and reduced it to more like every-other month. Those few game days have been fairly ordinary with a few old favorites combined with a few new ones, mostly Mike’s, such as Small World (which I liked enough to buy my own copy), Innovation (which I totally did not like), and 7 Wonders (which left me with a “meh” impression). But yesterday Mike showed up with 2 new games that both impressed me: Forbidden Island and Power Grid.
I had ignored Forbidden Island with it’s description of being a lighter Pandemic. “Who needs Pandemic to be lighter”, I thought. Well, I was wrong *gulp*. It is not just lighter, it is less fiddly since there aren’t all those cubes to stack and keep track of, you don’t have to spend time to prepare the deck during set-up, and your choices during your turn are more obvious. Well, that last item is also a negative. It makes the game play faster but it can also make your turn feel like you have nothing important to do. There were several times when I didn’t even take all of my actions because it just didn’t matter where I went. But the game still gives you the feeling of being pushed for time, racing the island (rather than the disease) to see who can get to their goal faster. I enjoyed it very much for its simplicity, and beautiful art and components but if I had the time, I’d rather play Pandemic.
Next Mike and I played Attika, one of my favorite games to play with 2 players. I blocked Mike from connecting temples then got caught up in planning how to build my city the cheapest way so overlooked the fact that he could again connect the temples. Duh! Still a great game with lots of things to manage and pay attention to!
Then Richard came home so we set up Mike’s newest acquisition, the number 5 game on the Geek, a game no gamer worth his salt should say he hasn’t played, a modern classic: Power Grid!! Neither of us had ever played it before. Yep, that’s right, I’ve been a BoardGameGeek for over 7 years and haven’t played Power Grid. Well, it’s an auction game with a stock market element–why the heck would that interest ME? I suck at auction games and hate the math-y feel of a stock market game. I wasn’t even enthused about giving it a try but my husband knew Mike wanted to play so he said, “set it up.”
Again, I was *cough* wrong.
I thought this would be a hard game to understand but it is really very simple and elegant, the turns broken down into 4 easy to grasp phases. The auction part is not horrible since even a beginner can figure out how important something is to themselves and how much they can afford to pay. Luckily, it is not a once-around auction. That part is math-y but not terrible once you know how all the elements of the game fit together. The stock market part is not complicated, a simple supply and demand scale as goods are added or bought. Simple, but important to pay attention to. The map building element reminded me of the crayon rail games that Richard and I have been playing constantly for the last 2 months. The payout is dependent on how many cities you have the energy to power with your various power plants.
After the first couple of turns, I had a fair grasp of how it all fit together and since we were all new to the game, we were all in the same boat as far as figuring out what we wanted to do. Mike started in the Southwest, I started in the Midwest, and Richard started in Chicago. Since building toward Mike’s side of the board was too expensive, I started building to the south and east, eventually butting up against Richard’s cities as he headed south. I had no problem building to cities, but had a hard time getting power stations that would power enough cities, while Richard managed to get plenty of power while keeping up his city building, and Mike had lots of money but was still a couple of cities behind for most of the game due to buying materials for his power plants.
In the end, I built to the 17th city, ending the game. Richard and Mike were at 15 cities. Since we were all able to power 15 cities, the tie breaker was needed and I had the most money! I couldn’t believe it. My win was mostly due to Richard and Mike having a pissing contest for one of the last power plants bought, but also I think I made some good choices along the way. We all had fun and enjoyed the game very much. We told Mike to bring it again next time. I may have to add a copy to my collection even if the two-player game isn’t recommended at the Geek.