Dominion Strategy Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1]

Author Topic: Introductory Strategy (draft)  (Read 1382 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

AdamH

  • Board Moderator
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2785
  • Shuffle iT Username: Adam Horton
  • You make your own shuffle luck
  • Respect: +3789
    • View Profile
    • My Dominion Videos
Introductory Strategy (draft)
« on: April 08, 2013, 03:56:05 pm »
+2

So you've played one or two games of Power Grid and you've discovered that it's a lot of fun. You understand the basics of how the game works and you want to take the next step towards becoming a stronger player. This article aims to provide some generic concepts that should help you make tactical decisions as well as create a rough blueprint for strategic play and assessing long-term consequences of your early-game decisions.

Spend your money

The person who makes the most money will get to powering more cities more quickly than their opponents, and in general, to get more money you have to spend your money. There are small variations that come with advantages associated with turn order, and sometimes you're better off using that to your advantage, but any amount of money you spend that isn't directly translating to powering as many cities as possible can be better spent over half of the time.

Yeah I know I talk about exceptions to this a lot, because spotting those exceptions can be a big deal, but I want to stress that a majority of the time, you want to power lots of cities. The extra few dollars you have to spend on resources and cities will usually be cancelled out by those extra dollars you get by powering more cities than everybody else. Generically speaking, giving up short-term benefits for powering more cities is a good trade-off, whilst giving up long-term benefits is not.

How best to spend your money? Well in a perfect world, you aren't burning resources to power cities you don't have yet, and you aren't building cities you can't power -- it's all pretty balanced and you're ending each turn with not much money left. Spend your money with a balance between Plants and Cities and you will maximize your income.

Budget your turns so you don't spend too much on a power plant and you're short $1 on that last city, make a plan and have a couple of dollars worth of buffer in case something doesn't go as planned, unless you're in last place, in which case you can budget perfectly.

I might add that after you've bought your third plant, make sure that powering your beginning plant is still profitable: If I'm powering 5 cities with other plants and the two coal I have to burn to power my 04 Plant (2 Coal -> 1 City) costs more than the $9 I get from powering that city, don't buy the coal. Or if you already bought the coal, hold onto it! Use it for your other coal plant (and get rid of that 04 Plant ASAP)

Don't buy too many power plants

...and now let's begin talking about the first main exception to this idea. If I'm powering my Plant capacity every turn, that means every turn, in order to expand my network and make more money, I have to buy a new plant and replace one of my old ones. Sure, I'm going to make more money this way, but if you're buying a plant every turn you'll be spending way more than everybody else, and that's more than enough to cancel out the few extra dollars you see.

You should aim to buy 5 plants over the course of the game, which means you should try not to have three plants at once that you feel like you need to replace. Four plants total is ideal (it's tough to pull off, though; I wrote a whole article on that), and in longer games I've seen people buy six plants and win, but usually not any more. Yes I know you can change that 15 Plant (2 Coal -> 3 Cities) into a 27 Plant (nothing -> 3 Cities) but are you going to spend $27 on coal before you replace that plant anyways? (Hint, the answer is no, unless there are extenuating circumstances, and even then you have to consider the cost of allowing your opponents access to the next plant to drop without getting your chance to buy it). It's almost never a good idea to buy a power plant if it doesn't increase your capacity by at least 2 cities, and preferably more.

These are the questions you should ask yourself before buying a plant that you'll need to replace before the game is over.

Board Position

Your initial city placement has consequences that will stay with you the whole game. What are the things to consider when choosing your first city to build?

You'd like to be in an area with low connection costs, but keep in mind those areas will be contested by your opponents. Getting a high-numbered plant in the first round will allow you the flexibility to see where your opponents have gone before you commit.

Don't be afraid to pay a few extra dollars to jump an opponent to get to where you want to go. Maybe it's not your cheapest connection now, but taking the city your opponent wants is usually the better option if you can afford it.

If you can manage to get a corner all to yourself (usually by placing initially to make it unattractive for others to join you), don't go hide in your corner! You always want to build toward your opponents before you build away, but resist the temptation to remove your foot from the throat of your opponent. In fact, I'll often pay upwards of $10 for the 04 Plant (2 Coal -> 1 City) just to guarantee that I can build first if I see a bottleneck or some place I can make this happen. Not only is this a strong move, but it gives you a lot of control over the Step 2 Stall, since often you'll be the only one next to any cities that can be built.
Logged
I respond to PMs.

Shiroiken

  • Swindler
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 15
  • Respect: +4
    • View Profile
Re: Introductory Strategy (draft)
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 04:51:34 pm »
+1

Generally speaking, the optimal way to go, as far as balancing Power Plants vs. Cities, is buy the Power Plant first, then build up to the Cities. Sometimes the board position doesn't make that work. Your board position can make a big difference on how many cities you can build during Step 1, so you might need to overbuy early to cut off an opponent. We refer to this as "being named Sam," as the named player in our group often overbuys on Turn 1-2, then buys a high production plant afterwards (usually the 20 - 3 Coal for 5 Cities). His strategy has some success, but I would say this is more the exception, rather than the rule.
Logged

AdamH

  • Board Moderator
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2785
  • Shuffle iT Username: Adam Horton
  • You make your own shuffle luck
  • Respect: +3789
    • View Profile
    • My Dominion Videos
Re: Introductory Strategy (draft)
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2013, 04:58:32 pm »
0

Yeah, Sam likes to buy three cities on the first turn when he can only power one of them. This is an extension of the last paragraph of this article; it seems this is actually a good move when you've already bought the resources to power your plants next round, meaning that suffering in the turn order won't hurt you. This circumstance is specific enough that it may be worth mentioning, but I don't know if it fits in this article. That makes me rethink whether or not the last paragraph here really works in this article, or if I'm better off moving it somewhere else.
Logged
I respond to PMs.
Pages: [1]
 

Page created in 0.082 seconds with 20 queries.