I knew I wanted to add Power Grid to my board game collection so I opted for this updated 10th anniversary version rather than the ever-popular original because of the new artwork, power plants, money tokens, and natural gas resources. I also was attracted to the idea of the new Trust 2-player game, which I will discuss momentarily.
The components are all very sturdy feeling, and thankfully the money comes in quarter-sized chips rather than paper. The main problem I have with the money tokens are their denominations, which include 1s, 5s, 10s, and 50s. I would like to have 20s or 30s since breaking 50s introduces more room for mathematical error, but this is not a big issue. I like that the two sides of the game board are different than the original. One side is North America and the other is Europe. The new board is big enough to house the auction tracks on its pre-designed spaces, which are also new, but the game board reaches at least from edge to edge width-wise of our 27.5"x 60" card table. This means there is no player room along the edges, so we have been keeping our power plants on the board itself in areas that are blocked off from use.
After two two-player games, I can honestly say that I really dislike the Trust variant, and I will probably never play with it again. It bothered me that the Trust never actually has any money. It simply gets all of its power plants, resources, and generator/cities for free. It just didn't feel thematic or smooth at all. The way the Trust player works is that until he runs out of generators in his supply, he gets a free generator every time a player buys and connects a new generator to their power grid. Because he only "buys" the 4th (and 6th in step 3) smallest power plants, they NEVER actually power all or even very many of his cities, but he still always occupies the 2nd place player position, which determines player order. He is only there to clear out the small power plants, occupy spaces, and drive the resource market up.
Altogether, I like this game a lot, and I don't think the Trust variant or the money denominations should impact my rating since they are actually notable improvements over the original's 2-player game and paper money.
I plan on trying out The Robots expansion with this version and comparing that experience with the way the Trust played out in our previous games. I will post an update with my thoughts.
While I hear the other Power Grid expansions are not supposed to be compatible with the Deluxe version, the Robots expansion does not have any version-specific elements, and it worked great during our games. My husband and I recently played a couple of two-player games that each had two robots. It is my opinion that I will never be using the Trust two-player variant ever again, and instead I will be incorporating the robots into our games as they offer a superior two-player experience. It adds a little more work on the human players' parts, but since we each had a robot to control, we found that everything went along pretty smoothly.Though we slightly lost both games to one robot or the other, it was challenging and fun. The second game was a three-way tie (human-human-robot) that came down to mere dollars, and had us retracing our final steps to defeat.
Therefore, if you are looking to buy Power Grid Deluxe because you have heard the two-player variant is better than the original, I would still have to suggest you reconsider. There are a lot of reasons to buy this version over the other, and I don't regret my decision whatsoever, but I think my husband and I will consistently invite a robot to join our two-player games from now on (Besides, the expansion is only $10 and it fits in the Power Grid box).
Power Grid deluxe: Europe/North America is a standalone game in the Power Grid universe. For the 10th anniversary of the highly successful game Power Grid we present this new deluxe version including brand new components. Wait for a huge double-sided game board presenting Europe and North America, newly customized wooden parts and an entire deck of new power plants, some of which use natural gas instead of garbage. New overview cards for the resource refill improve game play. An exciting new two players experience is also added - "Against the Trust"! The game is still Power Grid, with all the exciting auctions, the nerve-wracking resource speculations, city networks and the competition among the players, all the way to the tight game ending with several players fighting for the win. The goal of Power Grid Deluxe is to supply the most cities with power when someone's network reaches a predetermined size. Players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they need to power these cities. However, as power plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you're potentially allowing others access to superior equipment. What's more, players must acquire the resources (coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium) needed to power said plants (except for the "renewable" windfarm plants, which require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes. - Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America Board Game