Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alta Tensão, and the attack of Fat Willard

At last night's PlayGamesWithJosh session, my wife -- now finished with school -- finally got to participate.
Along with the 2 other "regulars", this made 4 of us.

The game on the table was Power Grid, and the Brazil map was chosen in  honor of my wife's Brazilian upbringing.  (and we used just the basic deck, no promos, all the rest of the standard stuff)

For those unfamiliar, the Brazil variant isn't much different from the basic game. It has more of a focus on "biogas" plants (represented by garbage, but the rulebook is very particular about calling it biofuel here).
When cards are removed from the power plant deck to balance for the number of players, all of the biogas plants must stay in. This actually becomes more relevant with fewer players, since with more players you are using all of the plants anyway. With 4, you remove 4, so it sort of mattered.
Additionally, you put plant #14 (a biogas-related plant) in a predictable location under #13 after setup.
Overall, including the refresh rates, the map ends up making Coal possibly the most expensive and scarce resource.

Of course, the distribution of cities is also different on the Brazilian map. We chose the eastern 4 territories, where there are 2 pockets of low-cost cities.

A quick aside:
Dinner for the evening was from the Neapoli Cafe, by Kevin's suggestion.
Their signature sub is called the Fat Willard:
Grilled chicken tenders, Mozzarella sticks, seasoned fries, marinara sauce, topped w/melted cheese on warm garlic bread
I had to try it.  My brain is happy that I did. My body.. is still processing it. I can hear my arteries creaking.  ... I will definitely have to try this again. :) 

In the beginning, it seemed like Talita was making suboptimal decisions, buying more cities than she could power, pushing us quickly towards Step 2, and buying overly expensive plants. But she's smart and she definitely knew what she was doing.

Up in the northeast, Kevin was blocking me in like a good game of Go.
I'm not sure how much of a good choice that was for him, but it definitely made my life a little more expensive in Step 1.

Max, who wins a lot of games at PGWJ, was kind of on his own, doing his own thing.

There was a lot of battling over resources, meanwhile.  There was even a point, late in the game, where all of the available Oil got bought up. Partly as an anti-Josh measure, partly by Josh to make sure I had the resources for later.

Biogas, interestingly, never got too expensive to handle. It does refresh quickly, but also not many people were powering cities with it.

We also ran out of plants during Step 3, which I don't think I've ever seen happen (although I haven't played PG all that many times, and mostly with 2).
This left everyone with the ability to power 18 cities, except for Kevin who could only power 17 (the minimum for game-end).

On the last turn, Kevin built his 17th city. But everyone else was able to build and power their 18th.  First Max (with 22 Elektros to spare), then me (exactly spending all my money), then Talita, who had plenty of money remaining.
Winner, on money tiebreak: Talita!
So her strategy did work out in the end.