Anyone play Power Grid (the Board Game)?

Can you explain to me the basics of play like I’m 5 because I find the resources available lacking. I have read the the manual, and many threads and the FAQ on Board Game Geek. I also watched a few YouTube videos as well. Arme diwth that we gave it a shot.

We tried playing recently and it was fun but we knew we were doing things wrong. To wit:

We totally forgot to keep putting the largest generator cards on the bottom which meant the big ones came out relatively early and we had no new ones to bid on when the “phase three” card came out.

We didn’t realize until two thirds into the game that you could build in cities you weren’t able to power. The end result of this is Phase Two never really happened.

Despite these big mistakes it was clear there is a fun game here but we just had a hard time grasping it. Anyone play it? Any suggests or resources you could point me to are appreciated.

I have played but hardly an expert. Someone else usually handles the cards so I can’t help you there. I usually handle restocking resources.
That is my suggestion – split up responsibilities. One poesron does cards, one person does resources, one preson handles turn orser (including saying “it is greens turn now”)


We play a ton of Power Grid, but I feel like that’s going to be a hard thing to coach online. A couple of things that I think would work, though:

  1. Sift through YouTube playthrough videos and find one in the 30-45 minute range. Watch it.

  2. Something that works well for us is we play a game multiple times based on half-assed rulebook readings, and then we read the entire rules again from the start. What happens is that the things you’ve been doing wrong REALLY jump out at you (if you’ve ever played Small World, for example, we’d played the game at least a dozen times before we reread the rulebook, and we were startled to learn that you can take your entire race off the map on your turn and re-enter the board). Of course, that means you’re going to get a bunch of plays in that aren’t 100% right, but as long as you have fun…

Thank you for responding. I am trying some more videos. If there are any other Beginners tips you can think of, it is appreciated. The game seems fun and deep.

The game includes some “cheat sheets” that you’ll want to keep close-at-hand. On one side it shows the amount of money that you get based on the number of cities that you powered, and on the other it summarizes what to do in each turn. Make sure you go through that every time you hit Bureaucracy, as it describes everything that you’re supposed to do at that stage. That should help you remember to do all the little housekeeping bits.

Some other rules that people tend to forget:

  • If every player passes in the power plant auction (so nobody buys a power plant), the lowest numbered power plant available for auction is discarded

  • If any power plant available for auction has a number equal to or less than any player’s number of connected cities, that power plant is discarded. Power plants already owned by players are not discarded. When I play, we put some kind of token (like a small coin, or an unused colour’s house) on the city tracker at the point where you should discard a power plant, at the point where stage 2 begins, and the point where the game ends. That helps us to remember to do things at those stages.

So, on a strategy note, players should almost never expand into cities that they can’t immediately power. The more cities you own, the worse your position on the turn track. Your reward for owning more cities is supposed to be a larger income, but you don’t get that benefit if you can’t power the cities. You’re usually better off hording cash for the next turn so you can buy a bigger power plant than you are buying a city that does nothing for you. The biggest exception to this is if you can trigger the end of the game and win, of course.

Most games are much easier to play if someone who knows the game teaches you to play.

Second best is to have the person with the most analytical mind (are any of your players lawyers or software developers) spend 15-20 minutes with the rulebook and pieces going through the motions so they understand the process, then have them refer to the rulebook when something comes up.