Richard's choice tonight and he chose one of the new maps for Power Grid - Benelux. Full complement of 4 of us and we all knew the rules to Power Grid so just a quick run through of the changes for the Benelux map. The fifth power station is available for purchase if it is ecological. More oil and less coal available and the uranium is a bit restricted too. After that we just had a good look at the map, quite a concentration of cities in the northwest and central part with some good opportunities to build and grow. The game progressed very smoothly, Garry got a bit blocked in and payed to build through a couple of cities to get to the other side of the board, I had built in the north east and thought I was OK and Richard had started on the double city of Brussels. At one point we had four out of five uranium power plants on the top row with uranium being quite expensive nobody went for them.
The second phase triggered when the seventh city was built, Steve had built into my bit at the top with his first cities but that left me spaces to go in the second phase, Richard had pretty well spread all over the centre of the map with Garry a bit hemmed in. Interestingly Richared never discarded a power plant whereas Steve his a couple of times, I changed one and I think Garry changed a couple too. As the game was drawing to its end we were waiting for the third phase to trigger, it must have been close because we were running out of second phase cities to go to. In actual fact Richard built 7 cities on his last go to reach the magic 17 mark, thus triggering the end of the game, but he had built a couple of them on Steve's cities leaving a couple of place where Steve could build. So in the end they both had 14 cities and could power them so it came down to the tie-breaker. Garry had been hanging on for some good power plants and the 3rd phase I think and had left it too late to regain lost ground and as I was third to build there was no place I could go. We were wondering where that 3rd phase card and it turned out to be the next card to be drawn.
So a very enjoyable game and a very interesting map. We still have loads of games from Essen to try out so the European map may be a while before it hits the table.
Final Scores (most money was the tie-breaker, Steve had 7, Richard 9)
Richard 14, Steve 14, Colin 12, Garry 10