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Power Grid Expansion – End of Game

Power Grid is one of my favorite games: the point is to build your power plants in cities and power them, while minimizing connecting costs, prices of new power plants, cost of resources, etc. It has an evil handicapping system, where the person in first is given fairly stiff penalties.

During the initial part of the game, players must select which city they wish to start building in. This can be a critical choice, but it is difficult to see how some regions are truly better than others. To answer this question, I turned to Ruby.

To win the game, the player needs to build in 17 cities (or 15, or less, depending on the number of players and the board). So, which city can get to 17 cities the cheapest? The following table lists all of the costs to build 17 cities for the US Map (only connecting costs, not the actual city costs, which are a minimum of 170):

Cost City
59 Jacksonville
59 Miami
59 Savannah
62 Tampa
64 Buffalo
64 Memphis
64 New Orleans
64 New York
64 Pittsburgh
68 Kansas City
68 Knoxville
68 Omaha
68 St. Louis
70 Atlanta
70 Chicago
70 Duluth
70 Fargo
70 Houston
70 Minneapolis
71 Birmingham
71 Boston
71 Cincinatti
71 Detroit
71 Norfolk
71 Philadelphia
71 Raleigh
71 Washington
73 Dallas
73 Oklahoma City
106 Billings
106 Boise
106 Cheyenne
106 Denver
106 Portland
106 Salt Lake City
106 Santa Fe
106 Seattle
132 Las Vegas
132 Los Angeles
132 Phoenix
132 San Diego
132 San Francisco

Edited 8/17/2008. This should be more correct now. I had a piece of code commented out in my function that skewed the numbers by quite a bit.

This confirms the obvious: the east coast is cheaper, by half as much as most of the west coast cities. Of course, having competition in an area will drive up prices (at the very least by driving up the 170 fixed cost of building all of the cities).

This also tells us that it takes a minimum of 170 + 59 = 229 elektro (money) to end the game, although much more to actually win (including powering them all), since the person who then ended the game would lose to anyone who still had elektro left, or anyone who could power even a single city. The cheapest set of power plants that will power 17 cities costs 81 elektro (for example, the 20, 30, and 31 power plants can supply enough power), so we are up to 310 elektro.

From there, we start getting into a lot of variables. I'm still working on tweaking my Ruby code to come up with some interesting numbers, so stay tuned.

  1. Gretyl on Monday 18, 2008

    I’d be interested in seeing that Ruby code. :)

  2. admin on Monday 18, 2008

    I’ll post it up. Another reader commented on my costs and pointed out a possible bug, so I will fix that first. But I should have it up within a couple of days.

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