Casino Gambling: Taking Full Control over the Games

Power Grid Board Game Review

In Power Grid, a new power market has opened up and everything is up for grabs. Compete against other power suppliers as you work your way towards becoming the biggest power supplier in the land. Build power plants and control the market for raw materials such as garbage, oil, coal and uranium. Connect cities to your power grid before others do and become the greatest power magnate!Power Grid is a strategy board game designed by Friedemann Friese and is a remake of the German board game Funkenschlag. Each player represents a power supply company trying to connect as many cities as possible to its power grid. To do so, you will have to build power plants to supply enough electricity to power your cities; own enough resources to run the power plants; and earn enough funds to connect the cities and buy the power plants and resources.Each game of Power Grid is played on a board featuring a map of a region hungry for power. The base game comes with 2 maps: the USA and Germany. Each map shows the cities that can be connected to your power grid and the connection fees between the cities. For example, it is cheaper to connect Washington with nearby Philadelphia than it is to connect San Francisco to Seattle. The board also contains a grid showing the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage and uranium), how much is available and how much they cost.There are 4 actions each round in your quest to power the most cities (the game ends when a player connects a certain number of cities, determined by the number of players). Firstly, players take turns to bid for power plants. These plants can be powered by materials such as oil, coal, garbage, uranium and wind. Each power plant also has different efficiencies (being able to power a different number of cities), but you pay for that efficiency by spending more to buy the more efficient power plants.There is an order to the bidding process. The player with the most connected cities each round get to bid for power plants first. However, this is balanced by the fact that they will be the last to buy raw materials and connect cities. Buying raw materials involves grabbing coal, oil, garbage or uranium from the board at their current price. There is a raw materials market that changes depending on supply and demand. The materials replenish at a fixed rate each turn, and are consumed by players using the related power plants. The more of each material is available, the cheaper it is.Connecting cities involves paying connection fees and placing your tokens on the connected cities. There are clusters of cities on each board where the connection fees are pretty cheap, but building in those areas means competing against more players who also want to take advantage of the cheap connections. Power Grid also divides the game into 3 phases: starting, growing and matured phases. Progressing from one phase to the next changes the amount of raw materials that are replenished each round, and also increases the number of players who can connect to each city.The last action in the round is to power your cities. You use up the required raw materials and earn cash depending on how many cities you powered. You can then use this cash to buy more power plants and resources, and connect more cities the next round.Power Grid is mainly about efficiency and strategic planning. The goal is to power as many cities as you can, and the player who is the most efficient and can do it the fastest will win. Also, how much are you willing to bid for that attractive power plant? Should you spend your limited funds connecting choice cities first or overbidding for that new power plant? Is it worth it to spend a bit more to connect to distant cities in order to cut other players off from a city network? Should you target cities in cheap but congested networks or go for the isolated expensive ones? These are questions you need to always keep in mind, and the answers will change depending on how your opponents play as well.The game also has expansion boards and power plant sets. New boards include France, Central Europe, China and Korea, and each introduces interesting aspects to the game. For example, the order in which power plants are revealed in the China game reflect’s the country’s planned economy. Similarly, there are 2 resource markets in Korea to reflect the separate North and South economies, and the North Korea resource market doesn’t have uranium (right…).Overall, Power Grid isn’t too challenging a game to learn. The mechanics are pretty straightforward and easily grasped, though it might take time to master the efficiency and fund-allocation required to be really good at it. The game takes just over 2 hours, and is one of few games that can play up to 6 players without losing its appeal or taking too long.Complexity: 3.5/5.0Playing Time: 2.0 to 2.5 hoursNumber of Players: 2 to 6 players

Becoming Your Own Video Game Tester

Some of you may be wondering what I’m referring to when I talk about being your own video game tester. Although there are video game jobs that have you play and test games and be paid for it, this actually has nothing to do with that. Before I go any further though, let’s get one thing straight – Video games aren’t exactly the most affordable form of entertainment. If any of you visit game forums or blogs, you may have come across someone talking about how they’re saving their money, or set some money aside, so that they can purchase an upcoming new game console or a particular software title that they’ve been looking forward too.I think it’s safe to say that in many ways, purchasing something video game related can also be quite an investment. It can be a real pain having saved up all that money only to find out that the game you just purchased simply didn’t live up to your expectations. It’s something no gamer looks forward too. Personally speaking, this has happened to me many times. In many ways, it can be a really exciting time – You’re looking forward to a particular software title that has you really excited and ready to play. On the flip side of the coin, the end result can be a very daunting experience – that title you were so anxiously waiting for not only didn’t live up to your expectations, but let’s face it, just plain sucked. What a waste of your time and money!Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to help take back the time you’ve invested in being excited about a software title. On the other hand, their are ways to help cut back on the cost before you purchase the game at full price, brand-new. One of those ways is too actually rent the software title you’re interested in before you buy it. It’s seems obvious, but it actually surprises me at how many people I personally don’t see doing this, especially if they’re not sure whether they really like the game or not. This is the time where you actually become your own “video game tester.” Essentially, you want to test out the game and get a feel for it – by doing this, you can better evaluate whether the game is for you or not. If it is, then you go through with the full purchase. If not, then you just saved yourself some money and the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t just blow it on a title you didn’t like.In some cases, you may actually beat the whole game during your rental – in that case, you owe yourself a pat on the back as now you beat the title and saved yourself some cash at the same time. On the other hand, some people may find that even after renting and beating their game, the replay value is so high that they go ahead and purchase it at full price anyway. So again, it’s all a matter of course. Save yourself the hassle of being disappointed in a purchase you thought was going to live up to your expectations, and rent before you buy. There are many benefits to renting a video game and it shouldn’t be overlooked.Alternatively, there’s another option that could help save you some money on games your interested in – especially ones that for whatever reason passed you by, or you simply didn’t have the time to invest in. This goes beyond the “testing phase”, as now you won’t be renting but instead buying. Don’t panic – this is great news, and again, it surprises me at how many people I don’t see doing this. What am I talking about? Purchasing used-games, of course! To keep things short, let’s just say that it is not difficult to find games for very cheap at the “used section” of almost any game retailer you can think of. Some of those retailers include Blockbuster, Micro Play and EB Games. So, always remember to test out those titles before you purchase them brand-new. Or, try and find older titles you may have forgotten about at the used section of your closest video game retailer. Good luck!

Video Game Beta Testers – Can I Really Get Paid To Play Video Games?

Many people make a living as a video game beta tester. What this means is that they get paid to find bugs in beta versions of upcoming video games. The reason for this is quite simple. For the game company, it is financially beneficial to pay professional game testers to thoroughly test a game and all of it’s features so that it meets consumer expectations, and so that it is the best quality that can possibly be achieved.Generally speaking, here’s how you get started: you contact a few game developers & game companies and you persuade them to hire you as a beta tester. In a nutshell, that’s basically what needs to be done. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately though, it is much easier said than done.The best way to “persuade” these companies and developers is by showing them your overwhelming amount of expertise in the video game industry; things like your skill level as a gamer, your ability to accurately document glitches and bugs, your ability to follow instructions to the letter, and so on and so forth. Occasionally, it means making them an offer they can’t refuse, such as testing a few video games for free (GULP). Why test them for free? Well, to get your foot in the door and show them that your a dedicated tester that just loves to play video games. Remember, they are looking for true blue game testers that can be remarkably efficient when testing video games.When you begin landing video game tester jobs, you are generally sent a free copy in the mail as well as a questionnaire and “report” to fill out. Typically, you’ll be given an assignment to complete that either involves beating the entire game from start to finish or playing one level over & over & again. It really just depends on the information the developer needs.Once you get your assignment, it’s time to go to work. Complete the assignment, fill out the form or questionnaire, and then mail it back to the game developer. It’s important to be fast with your video game testing and, at the same time, you must be professional as well. With that being said, get the work done quickly but make sure it is done accurately and without mistakes. After they have received your report, you will be issued a check in the mail. Typically, the checks are paid every other week to the video game beta tester.To be a good game tester, you have to have an eye for detail, as well as the ability to play certain parts of a game repeatedly. At the same time, you have to be able to properly document errors and glitches that you find, which will be done via the bug reporting form.When it comes to getting started and finding your first video game tester job, there are two paths you can walk. Path 1: You go out on your own and do everything completely by yourself without any help from anyone or anything. Path 2: You research and read through the numerous resources & testing guides in order to find a “tried, tested, and proven” approach that others have achieved success with. Obviously, the path you choose is up to you, but personally, I’d go with option 2. Why? Because video game testing is an industry made up of teams, not solo gamers. Plus, why would you want to “reinvent the wheel” when you can just improve upon it?There you have it; a quick & simple guide on how to get paid as a video game beta tester.


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