Power Grid

Keeping the lights on! This is the main theme for Power Grid. From the opening auction to the end-game scramble, Power Grid is a suspenseful and exciting game for 2-6 players. Players will fight for control of the least expensive routes between cities. In the auction phase, bidding on more productive power plants can be frustrating. In the meantime, one must keep a balance of finances, strong enough power plants, and building the right amount of cities. Although I tend not to win very often, this game is very fulfilling if you can end up winning at the end by… keeping your lights on! =-)

power grid box

Last July was when I posted my first game review. If you are interested, click here to go back and read that post. It might give you better understanding of my rating system. As with Settlers of Catan, I do not want to explain how the game works or get into all of the rules and strategies. You will just get a small sample. =-)

My purpose here is to simply rate and review Power Grid.


 

Here is my rating system:

There are 10 points distributed in 5 categories.

Learning – Can players teach/learn in a short amount of time? Is the rule book clear and concise?

Components – Are the pieces good quality? Do they make the game better or are they distracting?

Interaction – Do players need to work together? Is there actions that can be spiteful or helpful?

Complexity – How deep is this game? Are there lots of ways to earn points and win?

Replayability – Will this game get boring? Is it the same for every play?

Each category will earn 0, 1, or 2 points.

Score of 0 – game does a poor job or does not display any beneficial or useable substance

Score of 1 – passable quality and fair mechanics but will still lack superior form

Score of 2 – excellent craftsmanship and function, brings enhancement to overall game play


And Power Grid earns…

Rate – 8 out of 10 

Learning – This game can be tough to learn. The gameplay is somewhat confusing because each turn, the order changes. Score of 1

Components – The wooden pieces are typical. The paper money is a hassle so we just use pen/paper to keep track of our money. Score of 1

Interaction – Players must auction every turn. Players can also block other players for better routes. Lots of interaction here. Score of 2

Complexity – The only luck factor is which power plants come out. You must adapt to the game every time to win. Score of 2

Replayability – There are power plants that change every game. With turn order changing constantly, you won’t play the same game twice. Score of 2

power-grid game

If I continue to rate these games, I feel as if I will never get a 10 out of 10. Power Grid is certainly in my top ten list of favorite games. Perhaps even my top 5. I really love playing all kinds of board games but this one just gets me. So don’t let the 8 of 10 score fool you. Playing this game can be electrifying!

 

One last item. Would you take the poll? I plan on a Rate and Review every 3-4 months. Thanks!

Settlers of Catan

One small island full of various resources but not enough room for settlers. You are one of those settlers. To be victorious, you must utilize these resources to build roads, settlements, and cities. Gathering and managing resource cards, trading with other players, and trusting the luck of the dice roll could possibly lead to victory in Settlers of Catan! This link will lead to the manufacturer’s website.

catan title

Settlers of Catan has been around since 1995. It makes a great gate-way game in that new gamers can learn it quickly but the variety and unknown factors can make even seasoned gamers enjoy a round.

As this is not a tutorial, I won’t delve into the details on gameplay. I will simply rate and review the game.


 

Here is my rating system:

There are 10 points distributed in 5 categories.

Learning – Can players teach/learn in a short amount of time? Is the rule book clear and concise?

Components – Are the pieces good quality? Do they make the game better or are they distracting?

Interaction – Do players need to work together? Is there actions that can be spiteful or helpful?

Complexity – How deep is this game? Are there lots of ways to earn points and win?

Replayability – Will this game get boring? Is it the same for every play?

Each category will earn 0, 1, or 2 points.

Score of 0 – game does a poor job or does not display any beneficial or useable substance

Score of 1 – passable quality and fair mechanics but will still lack superior form 

Score of 2 – excellent craftsmanship and function, brings enhancement to overall game play

I said I would rate and review. Here are my thoughts on Settlers of Catan.

Rate – 7 out of 10 

Learning – This game is good to learn or teach because it is fairly easy to grasp. The gameplay is not confusing either. Score of 1

Components – The wooden pieces are sturdy as well as the tiles. It’s easy to distinguish different cards/colors. I like the art work as well. Score of 2

Interaction – Players can trade with others but this is not absolutely vital for a well-balanced player. Players can also block other players. Score of 1

Complexity – Once you learn Catan, there are only a couple of ways to win. The luck of the dice keep this game from being too complex. Score of 1

Replayability – There are dice and tiles that change every game. These two reasons give it a feel each time you play. Score of 2

catan pic

 

There you have it. Even though I scored this a 7, it still deserves to be in your collection. Did I mention the fact that there are about a dozen expansions for the base game?!?! This will drive my score up. Things get more complex. Player interaction increases…and so does the tension! And it is that tension that drives any gamer to want to win. It’s fun to play board games!

If you are not a gamer, this would be a great place to start. Settlers of Catan is a classic in my book and will always have a place on my shelf.

 

 

Swimming with Sharks and Eating Pizza at Midnight.

I made it. I am back from my first ever cruise! Wow! It was one of the best vacations that I have ever taken! This is the route that our ship was on for the cruise.

cruise map 3

Where do I begin? Not just being optimistic here but there is nothing bad to say about the cruising experience. In fact, the only bad thing happened after we got back. We had our flight home cancelled. Obviously, we got home ( a whole day later) but that had nothing to do with the cruise. So I say to save your cash and book one today. Just be careful on which airline you want to fly. =-)

There were two highlights that I want to feature. In reality, the whole experience was a highlight though.

The food. More accurately, the access to food. It was great being able to eat, literally, anytime you like. We visited the cafe for pizza around midnight a few times. =-) I love to eat.

The sharks. I got to swim with sharks. One of the excursions took us snorkeling with nurse sharks. I guess the stingrays and sea turtles were bonus items! What a feeling to be almost weightless and have all these marvelous (yet scary) sea creatures floating all around you! Awesome!

Again, you should just book your cruise today.


So after having been back home for a few days, the question came to mind, “Are cruise ships similar to heaven?” I had no concerns. Everything I needed was available to me without having to leave the ship. There were numerous entertainment options. In fact, I did not even turn my cell phone on while we were at sea. I turned it off in Galveston before departing and it didn’t get turned on again until back in port.

If it is okay, I will answer my own question. Yes, cruise ships are similar but not the same as heaven. I read this morning from John 6. Specifically verse 40. It reads, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

From the verse, it seems that God desires all to see Jesus and believe. If that happens, eternal life is the result. That sounds like heaven to me. Eternal life with the Creator of the Universe…yep, that is heaven. Being on a cruise ship is a small picture of what that can be like. The bible talks about no more death and suffering. No more tears. My knees won’t ache anymore. While I was on that big boat, I felt like I was in heaven but I know that it is not real heaven.

Someday, when God decides that it is the right time, I will enter the real heaven and spend eternity with Him. The best part about it is that there is no return flight (that could possibly be cancelled) because I will already be home.


I have a few more ideas that I want to share about my cruise so stay tuned. See you next week.