Games In A Pub – 13th May 2012

Tackling the challenges of power and thoughts on falling numbers

Power Grid = The box artwork
As the group gathered Martin began to explain Power Grid, a game he had brought along and which I had read much about and was keen to try (as indeed I am Power Grid: First Sparks, the lighter variant). The game, as with many euro games, offers a relatively simple set of rules that then presents many different choices and ways of reaching the winning conditions. In this game the players find themselves as the bosses of power companies trying to build their business around the provision of power to as many cities in Germany as possible (the reverse of the board shows America).

Players bid for power stations (coal, oil, wind, garbage or nuclear), buy the rights to supply cities and try to cope with the fluctuating fuel markets as they seek to source the fuels for their power stations. In providing the power to the cities they then generate the income that allows them to invest in yet more fuel, power stations and cities.
Power Grid - The players
Neither the board nor the theme grab me, HOWEVER
as a game it was excellent. The rules were quickly understood by all of us, but the choices we then had always seemed difficult and when it came to the final go we were all very close to winning, although perhaps not surprisingly Martin’s greater experience at the game prevailed. Although he had thrown his hands up in despair a couple of times late in the game as he felt he had made poor decisions. Sadly for the rest of us they weren't that bad!
Power Grid - The board with a line of Oranjeboom beer mats marking the area of the board not in play
Power Grid was by far and away the longest game we have yet played at the pub, taking around 2 ¼ hours. However the playing time didn’t seem to detract from our enjoyment with everybody keen top play it again. Martin obviously enjoyed it more than the rest of us!
Power Grid - My power stations, with fuel to power them for one go, plus the player guide
On a separate note it may not have gone un-noticed that both the younger and the feminine dimensions seem to be missing from the recent gatherings. I suspect the later is partly because we are meeting in a pub and that with various individual reasons why our once regular ladies are not with us, that the absence of one or other lady has in part then led to the reticence of the others to join us, a sad thing.

As to the absence of the younger people I can only guess that they have found a watering hole more to their tastes and so are less frequent visitors to the Blue Anchor with the result that joining us on a Sunday evening is a less natural part of their social lives. I may be wrong and they will join us next time but …….

Does this mean that you cannot create a Social Gamers Group in a pub with a wide demographic? On the evidence of London On Board I don’t believe this to be the case but certainly for the moment we seem to be reflecting a narrower demographic than I had hoped would be the case.

That said I am very grateful to Robin, Oliver, Simon and Martin for their continued support and can only hope that in the nature of chaos some random communication, poster, conversation or other factor will help attract others to our friendly little group.

More photo's of the evening can be seen here.

Our next event at the Blue Anchor, Crowborough is in two weeks time on Sunday 27th May starting at 7.30pm - £1 per head. More details can be seen on our Facebook Page Social Gamers - Crowborough


  1. Ironically the first game I ever played of Power Grid the power went out for the first hour or so and we played by candlelight.

    I heard enough good things about this game to ignore the "meh, it's a game about power plants?" instinct within myself. I'm glad I did, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Near the end of the game I found myself buying up cheap resources I couldn't even use just to prevent the front-runners from snagging them.

    1. The pub can be pretty dark at times and we have toyed with the idea of using candles to boost the electric lighting. Somehow candles seem very apt for this game.

  2. I think it depends on the town Kevin. For example my friend Sam attends a game group in a pub which is populated with a young crowd, but its in Oxford, a university town that is famous for people who like to be challenged intellectually.

  3. On the alternate Sundays to our meetings the pub hosts a very popular quiz night and we thought our activities might appeal to the quiz attendees, offering a fresh intellectual challenge. Largely this has not proven to be the case.