Sunday, October 16, 2011

Metal fatigue is a harsh mistress (Galaxy Trucker, Power Grid w/ alternate power plants)

The recent announcement of another expansion for Galaxy Trucker reminded me it had been a while since we had played this great game. I though it would be fun to try a really punishing series of flights, so we skipped round 1 entirely and instead did the following:

Ship 2 with evil machinations
Ship 3 with evil machinations and 2 Rough Road Ahead cards
Ship 3A with evil machinations and 2 Rough Road Ahead cards

The first round went pretty smoothly, but starting with round 2 we really started feeling the heat. The rough road cards are pretty tough... Round 2 had a card that made any energy use cost an extra tic-tac and another card that reduced our ship's speed for every ship connection that matched a 3 connector with a 2 or a 1. As you can imagine, ship building was slow and batteries/ furnaces where hot commodities.

... But we all made it without horrible consequences. My MVP was certainly the techie blue alien, since it made the first battery expenditure each encounter free.

Round three saw Remorseless fate (which is every bit as bad as it sounds) and Metal Fatigue. Now, between remorseless fate and metal fatigue, I thought the first sounded the most dangerous. Shemp would beg to differ.

Before launching, Shemp pointed out that this was his best ship ever. No bad connections, plenty of the tiles he wanted, every space used up. The problem is that ship 3A looks a lot like the Enterprise... It's got a very narrow middle. A single mishap there, and the ship splits in half. During the second event, Shemp lost a piece which protected the critical part through metal fatigue and then in event 3 a meteor struck and Shemp had to pick whether he wanted to keep flying with the front or the back of his ship. He chose the front.

When Shemp arrived at the end, he had approximately 5 tiles left in his ship, a single crew member, and no engines ( he lost his final one on the last card). It was pretty funny. Also, since ship 3 A is uninsurable, he paid nearly 30$ for the damage.

Ultimately, Kozure won the game. I actually thought I had it, but he snuck past me by a few points. I really enjoy this every time it comes out, even though it's definitely an experience game and not to be taken seriously.

Power Grid

We then played a three player game of Power Grid with the new power plants expansion (the expansion isn't new, only new to us). Although I enjoy Power Grid, I find it requires too much constant calculation which kind of ruins the pace. Also, I dislike the lull that seems to often happen during the middle of the game because nobody ever wants to by the middle powerplants. Apparently, the solution is to play with only 3 players and use the alternate plants because I found this game quite enjoyable.

It's hard to pick out the differences, but I never felt like nothing on offer was worth buying. We did have an odd result because many of the higher plants got pulled before the start ofthegame (as per the 3 player rules). This led to an end game where only I actually could power the 17 cities once they were built. I unintentionally foiled Shemp's hail Mary to beat me because he planned on buying up the resources preventing me from actually powering to capacity. I decided at the last minute not to power all my cities on the before last turn and kept the resources I needed for the last round so I did pull off the win.

Anyway, it would be interesting to know if the new plants simply have a lower capacity and the struggle to attain 17 is intentional. Either way, it was fun.

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