Even More Power ...
The Power Grid tournament at the 2005 World Boardgaming
Championships was quite a success. 94 unique and 113 total entries
over two heats represented an increase from the 84 entrants in
its inaugural year.
The first heat had 16 games, with one five-player table and
one table choosing to use the German side of the board. Luckily,
we had just enough space and boards for 16 games. Competing with
several other tournaments scheduled at the same time, the second
heat drew slightly less, with only 12 tables. I played a very
close game with Blair Morgen, Tom McCorry and Tom Saal in the
second heat. McCorry brilliantly bluffed me into paying too much
for the 42 plant on the last turn and won on the tie breaker.
Six of the 19 people who played in both heats won twice; Jim
Castonguay, Chris Johnson, John Weber, Phillip Shea, Steve Koleszar
and Benoit Groulx. 14 of the other 16 winners appeared for the
semifinal, making five tables of four each. At one of the games,
Valerie Staton tried a very unorthodox strategy of not building
on the first turn. This created a very different dynamic and
caused a very slow game. Valerie finished second to Rod Spade,
although everyone played a brilliant game.
One of the winners of the semifinal, Steve Koleszar, chose
not to advance to the Final due to prior commitments. That left
four people in the Final: Jim Castonguay, Rod Spade, Gerald Lientz
and Matt Calkins. I asked the finalists if they would like to
use the German board and they all agreed. They chose to leave
out the brown region in the northeast and the blue region in
the southwest. What followed was one of the most resource intensive
games I've seen. Several players hoarded coal and caused the
market to be depleted by the fifth turn. Bad plant markets caused
all players to pass on putting plants up for auction on turns
3, 6, 8 and 10.
The critical point in the game came on the eleventh turn when
Jim decided not to build in order to allow him to control the
resource market and the build phase for the rest of the game.
On the 13th turn, he managed to save enough money to build seven
cities, bringing his total number of cities to 17 and ending
the game. Gerald also built to 17 cities that turn, but lost
to Jim by 17 electros on the tie-breaker. All four players played
an excellent game.
Congratulations to Jim Castonguay for winning all four games
he played that week and becoming the new Power Grid champion.
Thanks to my assistant GMs, Jim Castonguay, Keith Levy and John
Weber. Their help was invaluable to a first year GM.
Keith Levy dons goggles and lab
coat to get in character to assist GM Jason Wagner.