Power Grid is still in the top 40 of BGG’s all-time list, a classic auction and resource management game from the early 2000’s by Friedemann Friese. Players compete to power the most cities with electricity by bidding for power plants, purchasing resources to run them, and paying for the infrastructure to connect the most cities by the end of the game.
The secret to victory in Power Grid is all about turn order and where you are in it: sometimes you want to be first, sometimes last, and it’s clear that later designers like Stefan Feld took a leaf from Friese’s playbook here. Tied together with this is not overpaying for power plants, and paying attention to which types of plant other players are dependent on. This will influence how expensive resources will be for you later in the round.
Now Friese has added a few minor rules and tweaked the original power plants and maps to take almost 20 years worth of play-balance into account. The rules themselves have been reorganized and tightened up, the two-player variant is now included, and the player-aid cards have been improved.
The first rules change is only for people who’ve played a few times and I urge you to use it: before the start of the first round, in turn order, each player marks a city as a starting city--not necessarily just for them, for anyone. This is a clever variant on the “I cut, you choose” mechanic which helps to compensate for the old problem of a player being able to nab a much cheaper corner of the map in the first round, which puts their opponents at a permanent cash disadvantage.
The other changes have to do with bidding in the power plant market, and bring in the rules Friese used for 2016’s Power Grid: The Card Game (also highly recommended, btw). They bring in a bit of a catch-up mechanic, which I like, but purists may object.
Power Grid is one of those “easy to learn but lifetime to master” games. When everyone knows the rules the gameplay is quick, smooth, and tense. If you’ve never played it, this new Recharged version is a great place to start. And if you have a classic copy, you still might want to snag a copy for the improved bits and player aids. Click here to order your copy.