The Opinionated Gamers

Power Grid: Fabled Expansion (Expansion Review by Chris Wray) (Spoiler Free)

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Power Grid is one of my favorite games of all time, so I was looking forward to the Fabled Expansion, which was released at Essen 2017 and recently made its U.S. debut.  My and my group recently finished the 3 game North America campaign using the Power Grid deluxe base set, so I wanted to briefly write about my experiences.  Though this is an expansion review, I think the best way to approach the review is with a Q&A format.  Though spoilers aren’t a big deal here — this expansion is replayable even after you’ve gone through the campaign — I’ve kept the review spoiler-free.  I describe at a very high level what the game changes, but I don’t describe the specific changes.

In short, we loved the Fabled Expansion.  If you’re a fan of Power Grid, I think this is a must-try experience.  

What is Power Grid: Fabled Expansion?  

The Fabled Expansion is two decks of cards — one for the U.S. (or North America) map, the other for the German (or Europe) map — that can be used with either Power Grid or Power Grid deluxe, so there are four different ways to play the game.

Using the Fabled system that designer Friedemann Friese had introduced in Fabled Fruit, this expansion offers new experiences in a three-game campaign.  

The cards for the campaign are all arranged on the table at the start, with certain cards overlapping other cards.  When a card’s condition is triggered and there are no cards over it, that card — and a rule change — is put into play in the game.  So the rules change mid-game, requiring you to be nimble with strategy.

How does this change Power Grid?

I won’t go into specific changes (so as to avoid spoilers), but at various points, most of the rules of Power Grid are changed in some way.  Almost everything — from the price of resources, to the size of the current Power Plant market, to the type of plants up for sale — will be altered at some point during the course of the campaign.  Most of the rules are minor, but a couple are big changes.  

What can you tell us about your campaign?

We played with five players.  We did all three games in one sitting, which took about 6 ½ hours.  There was a different winner in the first, second, and third game.  

Each game was very different from the first one.  All three felt like Power Grid, but the first game felt the most like Power Grid, and by the third one, there were some big differences from the base game.  But we enjoyed all three.  I think the consensus favorite was the second game.  

Does this require a particular player count?

I’ve only played it at five players, but I think it’d probably work with 3-6 players.  I believe there are rules for the 2-player game, but I’m more of a fan of Power Grid with three or more, and I think many of the cool rules changes would be lost in a 2-player game.

Do you have to do this all in one sitting?

No.  You could easily break this up into multiple sittings, and in fact, I’d probably recommend that… we all had our fill of Power Grid by the end of the day!

Is it replayable after you’re done?

We think so.  You obviously know what’s coming, but you can’t always anticipate the triggering events, and the vast majority of the changes are incremental.  

What were the best parts of the expansion?  

We loved this expansion, but we loved Power Grid, so that’s to be expected.  

The best part of the expansion were some of the cool twists on how to play Power Grid.  In fact, our group liked some of the changes so much we’ve thought about trying to replicate them in future games.  The gameplay shifts in delightful ways, and each new location card was eagerly anticipated by my group.  

The expansion is simple and fast to learn, and as experienced Power Grid players, we were able to jump right into expansion.  It really took us less than a couple of minutes to read the rules and begin enjoying this.

In short, my group loved the game.  If you like Power Grid, I’d enthusiastically recommend this.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

 

If you have further questions, ask them below and I’ll respond and add them to the questions above.  Thanks!  –cw

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