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Pretty straight-forward question here: In the 2- and 6-player versions of Power Grid, you are instructed to use only 3 areas and 5 areas respectively, but it doesn't say how to pick the areas, leaving it up to the players.

What are good recommendations for determining which areas are in/out?

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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

We use the system where player 1 picks an area to keep, player 2 picks an adjacent area, etc. until we have the right number of areas. I'm nearly positive this is how the designer, Friedemann Friese, taught us. If not then we picked it up from the earlier version of the game, the crayon-based Funkenschlag.

One tip: when the new (current) edition came out I had a chance to play with the designer explaining the rules. We used the pick-an-adjacent-area rule to pick our staring zones and were using the Germany map. With six players we picked five zones, and the one left out was the center zone, leaving a ring-shaped map. Friedemann immediately exclaimed, "We never playtested it that way!"

It turns out that's a pretty poor map to play on since you're restricted to expanding through other people's territory much earlier in the game than you normally would. The result was an extra-long game that frankly wasn't as fun.

So the tip: if you play the Germany map with 6 players, do not eliminate the center territory.

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great answer, and great anecdotes! Were you one of the original playtesters? –  LittleBobbyTables Nov 21 '10 at 14:37
    
Unfortunately I was not. My first play was shortly after it was introduced at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair. I have had the opportunity to playtest some of Friedemann's games since then, though. Great fun to see how his brain works! –  Matthew Frederick Nov 22 '10 at 2:23
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Generally, we decide as a group whether we want to use the more-dense or the less-dense areas of the map (at least on the U.S. map). It's all about whether we feel like making everybody pay those high connection prices in the west.

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I have always done it either a) randomly or b) let the newest player pick, which often leads to the same results as randomly. :) I have never had a case of only 2 players, but with 6 that seems to work pretty well.

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We just let the guys who go first pick the areas one at a time.

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I don't think it really matters so much. But you could randomize it, or else agree to rotate through each of the possibilities on a game-by-game basis, to create as much variety as possible.

Many connoisseurs seem to think that Power Grid is much better for 3-5 players, mind you, so if the lack of hard-and-fast rules for how to set up the 2 or 6 player games is bugging you, it might not be a bad idea to try not to play with that many players, so far as possible!

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That's funny, it's one of the games we always pull out when we have six players. Guess I'll have to play it more with less to see if it's better that way. –  Lance Roberts Nov 19 '10 at 7:54
    
@Lance Roberts -- agreed! As soon as our gaming group hits six players, there's a good chance Power Grid comes out. –  LittleBobbyTables Nov 19 '10 at 15:04
    
There are so many games that only take up to 5 players, that when your group is 6 large, you're delighted to find anything that will accommodate everyone! But just because a game can take 6, doesn't mean it will be best with 6, alas... –  thesunneversets Nov 19 '10 at 22:52
    
the lack of hard-and-fast rules doesn't bug me, I was just curious what peoples' answers were. –  LittleBobbyTables Nov 20 '10 at 13:13
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