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Do I have to tell the others how much money I have or may I make this a secret and everybody has to calculate/estimate themselves?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Officially, Money is hidden.

See the FAQ for Funkenschlag (the game was originally published in German under that name.

Hide the amount of money

Question: Are you supposed to hide the amount of money you have?

Answer: The rules are not explicit on this point. You should play with hidden money, to prevent AP in the last (couple of) turn(s).

As Chris notes, this can slow the game down quite a bit as

  • People try to keep track mentally of everything
  • People may spend extra time figuring out their move by obsessively calculating how that would affect other people's turns. (The common term for this is analysis paralysis)

So if you are playing in a tournament, expect that everyone's money will be hidden. At home with your friends, if y'all are not overly competitive or wish to avoid analysis paralysis then feel free to keep money public for everyone.

Since shuffling money back and forth in Power Grid happens frequently, you can take advantage of declaring that money will be public by getting rid of the paper money completely:

  • Use a whiteboard or computer spreadsheet to track money for each player
  • Use poker chips. They tend to be much easier to move around quickly and can be easily counted if everyone leaves them in stacks.
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Which of course greatly slows down the game as players try to track how much money everyone has. Much simpler (and faster) just to play with open money, as all income and expenses are public and thus trackable. –  Chris Dodd Sep 28 '11 at 16:39
    
@ChrisDodd - You are right! I've expanded my answer a bit to give a few options. Most groups should probably use public money IMHO. –  Pat Ludwig Sep 28 '11 at 17:23
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One should note also that all transactions are public knowledge; anyone paying close enough attention can track exactly how much you have. –  aramis Sep 29 '11 at 5:03
    
You said this both ways so i want to make sure. Open money causes AP –  Andrey Sep 29 '11 at 13:00
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@Andry: my experience is the reverse -- closed money in PowerGrid causes AP that open money avoids. Other games may be different. –  Chris Dodd Sep 29 '11 at 18:57
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