You have coal stored at a power plant and then win a bid on an oil powered plant. If you discard your coal plant to buy the oil plant and have no other coal plants, do you just lose the left over coal?


You have to either move them to an appropriate power plant or lose them, if you cannot store them. From the Rulebook, p. 3, emphasis mine:

During the game each player can have only 3 power plants at any time. When a player buys a fourth plant, he must discard one of his other power plants. The player may move resources from the discarded power plant to his remaining three power plants, if they match the resources used by one or more of the retained power plants. If there is no capacity left or no matching power plant for the resources from the discarded plant, the player returns the resources to the supply (not the resource market).

Please note that, even if you can store the resources elsewhere, you are not obliged to. You may still want to build over that power plant and lose the resources, if you are planning to buy them out in this round. This has been clarified by the official 2F-Spiele FAQ:

Q: May a player dump fuel that could be moved? A player was buying an oil plant, and discarding a coal plant along with its fuel. He didn't want to move fuel to his hybrid plant because he was going to corner the market in oil. Corollary: He could have transferred coal from the hybrid to the coal plant just to dump it.

A: Yes. You are not obliged to move them.

Example 1: You have plants #04 (coal), #13 (eco), #21 (hybrid). The #04 plant has 2 coal tokens on it. You buy the #26 plant (oil), wishing to build over the #04. You may either:

  1. Move first the coal tokens on the #21, thus preserving them, and then build over the #04.
  2. Keep the coal tokens on the #04 and build over it, thus losing them.

Example 2: On the same token, if you have plants #04 (coal), #13 (eco), #14 (trash) and you build the #25 (coal) over the #04, you can first move any coal tokens from the #04 onto the #25 that you just purchased. You are not forced to do it, though. This has been discussed here.

Please take a look at the Power Grid FAQ on BGG for similar questions that might come up during gameplay.

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  • @AndyT : (a) That's in fact an excellent question. You do want to discard resources, say, in a 2-player game, where you are last in turn order, thus buying resources first, and you wish to buy-out the remaining resources to block the other player, but not have enough space. Dumping resources is a sound move, to make space, so as to buy-out the rest. I've done it a couple of times. (b) I don't exactly get your question, could you rephrase it, please? – Adama Feb 6 '17 at 21:09
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    @AndyT Thank you very much for your comments; I further looked into it and it seems that my previous example on the #25 was a bit misleading. You can indeed move coal from #04 to #25 (that you just purchased) but you are not obliged to. Thus, there is no different treatment between the "three power plants" (the one you just bought and the two you are keeping). I've rephrased my answer on that. – Adama Feb 7 '17 at 15:53
  • Much better, +1. Comments deleted as now superseded. – AndyT Feb 7 '17 at 16:15

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