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Re: [trivalleygamers] Roll Call - Wednesday (9 June)

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  • sterlingw@comcast.net
    I plan to attend.
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 7, 2004
      I plan to attend.

      > Missed all the fun as yahoo decided to suspend my account over the
      > weekend - but agree with the call to suppress e-mail address. In
      > fact, will leave it to Sterling to decide what is best for the group
      > in all these matters (including adding any form of new member
      > moderation).
      > But back to the purpose of the group - I will be able to host the
      > Wednesday Night session, so can I have a roll call of likely
      > attendees?
      > Thanks,
      > Rich P.
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Dave Wilson
      ... Count me in. Dave
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 7, 2004
        --- In trivalleygamers@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Pardoe"
        <RPardoe@p...> wrote:
        > But back to the purpose of the group - I will be able to host the
        > Wednesday Night session, so can I have a roll call of likely
        > attendees?

        Count me in.

      • Richard Pardoe
        Dave and Sterling joined Rich for a couple of games tonight. The first game of the evening was 2F Spiele/Rio Grande s new version of Funkenschlag which is
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 9, 2004
          Dave and Sterling joined Rich for a couple of games tonight.

          The first game of the evening was 2F Spiele/Rio Grande's new version
          of Funkenschlag which is called Funkenschlag (in Germany) or Power
          Grid if you buy the version with the English rules.

          The game in it's original version was a crayon rail game with people
          drawing connections between power plants and cities in an attempt to
          supply electricity to the cities for income. The income generated
          would be used to purchase new power plants and resources to fuel the
          power plants. The new version has replaced the crayon drawn
          connections with fixed cost connections between the various cities.
          Higher costs for more "difficult" to connect cities. The gameboard
          depicts multiple cities in Germany (one side of the board) or the
          United States (other side of the board). For our game, we chose the
          German side of the map. With 3 players, the game is played on only 3
          of the available 6 regions and we ended up trying to energize the
          north-east portion of Germany.

          The game is played in multiple stages. During the first stage, only 1
          player may connect to each city. In the second stage, up to 2 players
          may connect to each city. In the third stage, up to 3 players may
          connect to each city. As the game has tight resource management, the
          rules do recommend that the initial play of the game be only through
          Stage 1 which ends when 1 player has connected 7 cities.

          During a single turn, the player order for the turn is determined.
          The player connected to the most cities is the first player with
          others following. If players should be tied for connected cities, the
          one with the bigger (higher number) power plant. The first player
          then selects one of the 4 available power plants available on the
          market and puts it up for auction. The number of the power plant is
          also the minimum purchase price for the plant. As the numbers
          increase, the power plants get more efficient at powering cities
          requiring less resources per city. Above the 4 available market are 4
          "future" market plants. Once a plant is sold, the next plant in the
          draw pile is turned over and the plants arranged numerically so that
          the four lowest numbers represent the "current" market and the four
          highest numbers represent the "future" market. In this way, one can
          see what plants might come onto the market and use that information to
          decide whether or not to bid on the current plant up for bid.

          After all the players have had a chance to purchase power plants, the
          next item to be purchased is resources (coal, oil, garbage, uranium)
          to allow the plants to power cities. A few plants don't need any
          resources to power cities. And a few plants are hybrid burning either
          coal or oil to power cities. For this portion of the turn, the player
          order is reversed such that the lead player is the last player to buy
          resources. As the resources have layered pricing, the subsequent
          purchasers in a round end up paying more for the resources. The next
          phase is to purchase connections between cities and expand one's
          network on the board. This is again done in reverse player order so
          that the leader is the last to expand.

          Finally, the plants consume their resources to power a number of
          cities to provide income to the players for the next round. In
          addition, the resources are restocked at a fixed rate. In this way,
          if the demand for a resource is higher than the resupply, the price
          for that resource increases. Conversely, if the demand for a resource
          is lower than the resupply, the price for that resource decreases.

          Play then continues through the 3 stages until games end. However, as
          there is a lot going on and it was the first time for all 3 of us to
          play, we decided to play the recommended Stage 1 only version.

          The game started a bit tentatively as none of us knew the values of
          any of the plants. Sterling bought the 4 plant (2 coal -> 1 city),
          Rich the 5 Plant (2 hybrid -> 1 city) and Dave the 7 plant (3 oil -> 2
          cities). After buying resources, each player developed into 2 cities.
          Sterling connected Halle and Leipzig while Rich had a choice between
          trying to start to block Sterling or develop in the low cost northern
          border. Rich opted to play close to Sterling, connecting Magdebrug
          and Berlin; while Dave built in the low cost north (Hamburg and
          Schwerin). While we all had 2 cities, Dave was the only person who
          could power both and get more money as a result.

          The next turn saw Dave pick up the 8 plant (3 coal -> 2 cities) at a
          cost of 10, Sterling pick up the 10 plant (2 coal --> 2 cities) at a
          cost of 13, and Rich pick up the 9 plant (1 Oil -> 1 city) at a cost
          of 9. After getting resources, only Sterling developed his network
          connecting to Erfurt. This time, Dave and Rich could power both their
          cities, but Sterling could power his 3rd city for additional income.

          The third turn saw the big plants (mid-20's) in the market and each of
          the players picked up an expensive plant with little bidding.
          Sterling goth the 24 plant (2 garbage -> 4 cities), Dave the 22 plant
          (wind (no resources) -> 2 cities), and Rich the 20 plant (3 coal -> 5
          cities). However, all the players had depleted their cash, so no one
          built any new connections this turn.

          The fourth turn saw all 3 players with 3 plants - so no new plants
          were purchased as everyone looked ahead to expansion of their
          connections. Rich started with an expansion to Frankfurt-O. Dave
          connected Rostock and Lubeck. Sterling connected Dresden.

          The fifth turn saw Dave pick up the 15 plant (2 coal -> 3 cities) to
          replace his 7 plant and bringing him up to 7 city potential supply.
          This was also the turn of Rich's glaring error. Looking ahead at
          desired connections, Rich realized he could buy only 1 resource.
          However, he overlooked the fact that his 20 plant was 1 coal short of
          powering 5 cities. Instead, focusing on the cheapest resource, Rich
          picked up 1 oil when the coal would have cost only 1 electro more, but
          provided much more income later on. During the building phase, Rich
          did connect to Hannover and Bremmen while Dave connectd to Kiel and
          Sterling connected to Fulda and Wurzburg.

          The sixth and final turn saw D connect Flensburg and Guxhaven while
          Sterling connected to Nurnberg to give each their 7th city. Both had
          the resources to power all 7, so the final tie-break was money in hand
          where Sterling won by a slim 13 electro margin over Dave. A nice and
          tidy introduction to the game wrapped up in about 90 minutes including
          rules explanation. Given the tentativeness of the start, I expect
          playing times to be reduced if we play again.

          My personal thoughts: This is an auction game as one does need to
          decide how much to pay for the power plants. However, there is plenty
          of other aspects to the game as well. Resource management and where
          to expand are all meaningful decisions in the game. Playing just to 7
          cities, I could just begin to sense how the game accelerates as it
          moves towards its conclusion. Personally, I should have started in
          the North (where Dave started) as the game was just to short (Stage 1
          only) to allow for effective blocking tactics. We all expressed an
          interest in seeing how the game would play out with the additional
          stages and the ability to jointly connect to cities. Having gotten
          the overview of the mechanics and some knowledge of what to expect, I
          look forward to bringing this to the game table again in the future.

          For the second game, we brought out Kathai, Adlung-Spiele's little
          card game about trading that has been described as "all the trading of
          Settlers of Catan but none of that development stuff".

          There are 5 cards representing the market prices of the 5 commodities
          (tea, spice, salt, gold, silk). The cheapest good can't be sold while
          the most expensive good can bring a nice reward if sold. The balance
          of the cards are trading cards (representing camels) carrying up to 3
          of any mix of the commodities. For example, 1 card might be 3 silk,
          another card might be 1 gold, and another card might be 2 salt and 1
          tea. Players start with 3 cards. On their turn, the player draws one
          card and then can do 1 action:

          Trade cards with any of the other players. This is very much like the
          trading in Settlers - players indicate their wants and offers and hope
          to finalize deals.

          Sell goods - Provided the player has enough of a good, the cards
          containing the good can be sold (any additional goods are ignored at
          this time). Points are scored as number of cards played plus a bonus
          based on market price. Higher bonus for the more expensive goods.
          Now that the market is saturated in that good, it is moved to the
          "unsellable" market price and all the goods cheaper than it move up in
          price. As a player can only do one action on a turn, one is hoping
          the market price hasn't moved greatly while getting ready to sell. In
          addition, at the completion of the sale, the player gets a "profit
          card" which enable the following two action:

          "Bribe" the market to switch the market price of two adjacent goods.
          (This can also be done using a card from the hand)

          "Draw another card" from the draw pile.

          Only 1 of these actions (or no action) can be accomplished each turn.

          As with many Adlung-Spiele games, the game ends when the draw pile is
          exhausted and the players have had their last turns. (The Adlung
          English has some confusion about this in the game, but fortunately a
          translation from Adlung English into English is provided on the Geek.)
          The winner is the trader who has acquired the most points during the

          With the rules explanation out of the way, the game started with
          Sterling drawing and selling tea for 3 points. Rich and Dave drew
          cards but couldn't do much. Rich managed a lucky draw of 3 silk when
          silk was the most expensive to manage a 9 point sale. Dave quickly
          followed with a 5 point gold sale.

          There was some light trading going on, but not much bribing of the
          market. After the next round of sales, the scores were fairly close
          ranging from 11 to 15. Trading and selling continued for a couple
          more rounds and were ranging frm 21 to 24 just as the last card was
          drawn. Dave could only sell gold for 3 points to finish at 27 points.
          Sterling had a large tea shipment that sold at 10 points to finish at
          34 point. Rich had horded salt for a few rounds and watched salts
          price increase. However, the 7 points from the final sale were enough
          to get 28 points and edge past Dave, but not enough to catch Sterling.
          Another quick game that finished in about 30-40 minutes - probably
          perfect for a lunch time gaming session.

          My personal thoughts: The game plays 3-5 people. With only three
          people, there are only 2 trading partners each turn. This does limit
          the amount of trading available. With more players, there will
          probably be more opportunity for trading, but the market will also
          become a bit more chaotic as more sales might get done also. Would
          like to play again with more than 3 people to see how the dynamic
          might change.
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