How to Play
To begin the game everyone takes a factory board, a scoring token, a pillar token, one of each color of supply containers, three output reservoirs, and one diagonal intersection tile (if the players have chosen to use these tiles). Everyone’s scoring token is placed on the 2 spot on the money track. The pillar token is place on the pillar space on the gameboard. Before play begins all of the players need to decide whether they are going to use the classic or expert side of their gameboard.
Ten machine tiles times the number of players playing are randomly selected and placed in the middle of the table (face down). Two supply containers of each color as well as the thirteen end-product reservoirs are also placed in the middle of the table.
Each round consists of all of the players taking two actions:
- Picking a machine.
- Placing the machine in your factory.
#1 Picking a Machine
To begin this step all of the players take one of the machines from the center of the table (without looking at it). Once everyone has grabbed a machine everyone flips them over at the same time. The players can then look over the current machines that are available. If they like one of the machines they can grab it preventing the other players from taking it. If a player doesn’t like any of the machines they can pass on picking up a machine. Any machine tiles not picked are removed from the game.
When picking machines some of the tiles have a “+” symbol and a color or a “?” inside a circle. If these tiles are selected the player who picked it gets a supply container of the color inside the circle. The tile with a “?” allows the player to take a supply container of any color.
#2 Placing the Machine in Your Factory
The main step in the game is to place your machine onto your factory floor. Each machine tile has between one to three inputs and one export. In order to successfully be placed into your factory, the machine has to be supplied with its’ required inputs and the outputs from the machine need to either be placed in a holding reservoir or be fed into another machine. The black colored product is a final product and may only be connected to an end product reservoir.
When dealing with inputs, the machine needs to be supplied with at least as many of a resource that is printed on the card. A machine can be supplied with more of a resource that it needs. Supply containers provide unlimited amounts of their resource. In addition to using supply containers a player can feed the output of one machine into the input of another machine. When using the output of one machine for the input of another machine, the number of output has to be at least as large as the input needed by the other machine.
Other rules with regards to adding machines to your factory are as follows:
- Machines can not be placed off the gameboard or on top of any other tiles placed in the factory floor.
- Pipes can be used to connect supply containers, machines, output reservoirs, and end-product reservoirs. All ends of a pipe must connect to another pipe, supply container, machine, output reservoir or end-product reservoir.
- Pipes that split in multiple directions can either split the flow of a resource and they can merge flows from different machines. You cannot merge the output of a machine with a supply container. You are also unable to merge two different colored materials.
- A machine can never supply its’ input with its’ own output.
If a player takes a machine they can decide not to build it into their factory. If the player took the last machine available they can decide to not place the machine and will not incur a penalty. If the player took any machine other than the last one available, they will incur a five point penalty if they do not place it into their factory.
When placing a machine into your factory you will incur building costs. Placing the machine itself is free. Other actions will cost you money.
Actions that cost 1 money/point:
- Placing a reservoir
- Placing a container
- Placing any pipe that has only one direction of flow
- Replacing a pipe with one direction of flow with one with two directions of flow
- Moving a reservoir, container, or pipe to a new location
Actions that cost 2 money/points:
- Placing a new pipe with two directions of flow
- Moving a previously played machine to a different location. You can only move machines on turns where you place a machine. You can also only move two machines each turn.
Actions that cost 0 money/points:
- Removing reservoirs, containers, or pipes (you cannot remove placed machines).
- Turning/rotating a pipe to a new direction while staying on the same space.
After placing a machine into your factory, you can earn some revenue. On each machine tile a large number is printed near the center of the machine. This is the amount of revenue that the machine will earn on that turn. Revenue from each machine is only earned on the turn that it is placed into the factory. The player records the revenue on the money track making sure to subtract building costs from the money track as well.
Players also earn bonus money by connecting the output of one machine to the input of another machine (these points are recorded at the end of the game). Pipes can be used to connect the two machines. The player earns bonus points equal to five times the input of the machine that is accepting the output from the other machine. A player takes a bonus chip equal to the number of points earned and places on the input of the machine. If this connection between machines is eliminated in future turns the bonus chip is removed from the factory.
End of the Game
After 10 rounds are completed the game ends. Players take the value of all of their bonus chips and add them to their current money total. Whoever has the most money (is furthest along the track) wins the game.
At its’ core Factory Fun is a puzzle game. You need to take different tiles and figure out a way to connect them to one another. The game is essentially a spatial awareness type puzzle where you need to figure out what needs to go where in order to successfully connect the various machines in your factory. It is kind of like Tetris except that all of the pieces are squares or rectangles and there is quite a bit more flexibility. I personally loved this puzzle aspect of the game and it was one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed the game. I am also well aware that this gameplay mechanic will not appeal to everyone. If you don’t like solving these type of puzzles you will not enjoy Factory Fun and you will get frustrated pretty easily.
Looking at the rules it might look like Factory Fun is a complicated game. At first I thought the same thing. If I had to classify Factory Fun I would say it is a moderately difficult game. Some people will find the game to be pretty easy while other people might have a lot of trouble understanding the game. It most likely will come down to how good you are with the spatial awareness puzzle aspect of the game.
Factory Fun is the type of game where you might have a little trouble getting adjusted to the game but once you figure out how to play it you have no trouble playing it. I think I had trouble for the first two or three turns and then had no trouble figuring out what I had to do.
Once you learn how to play the game it moves quite quick for a game with quite a bit of strategy in it. The box states an estimated playtime of 45 minutes. In my first game it took around 30 minutes. Since I only played the game with two players, that is probably why the game was so quick. It was also my first time playing the game so I think the game will still be quick even with more players.
The reason that the game moves so quickly is that all of the players can make their moves at the same time. Instead of waiting for another player to make their move, you can be taking your turn at the same time. This greatly reduces the amount of time that you wait around for the other players. Generally you only have to wait on turns where you decide not to pick any machines or if you take a lot less time placing your machine than the other players.
All of the players playing at the same time does lead to a lack of player interaction. At times there is very little interaction between the players because everyone is focused on their own factory. In some games the only interaction occurs when picking machines and verifying that the players correctly placed a machine into their factory. People who like interaction in their games may not like this aspect of the game.
In addition Factory Fun has a more laid back feel to it than other games. Obviously everyone wants to try and win the game but the game doesn’t have the cutthroat feel to it that other board games do. If a player needs help setting up a machine, other players are more likely to help them out. It is the type of game where you can sit back and think about what you want to do instead of being forced to quickly make decisions in order to defeat your opponents.
Factory Fun is for the most part a strategic game. If you don’t play well strategically there is no chance that you are going to win the game. You need to carefully plan out the structure of your factory in order to reduce the amount of cost to move things around. You need to keep track of your money in order to prevent spending too much of it adding another machine to your factory.
I think strategy is most important when trying to acquire bonus chips. Bonus chips are the area where you can separate yourself from the other players. You usually don’t make a lot of money from the machines themselves when you factor in the building costs. Therefore you will get a lot of your points from bonus chips. In order to get bonus chips you need to connect your machines together which sometimes requires quite a bit of work and forethought. The work is well worth it though since the bonus chips will usually decide who ends up winning. In the game I played both players were pretty much dead even before the bonus chips were counted. Both players got quite a few bonus chips. I was able to connect all three inputs from one machine with outputs from another machine though which ended up getting me 30-40 points. That machine alone was the reason that I ended up winning with a pretty comfortable lead.
Even though the game is mostly strategic, there are two areas where luck comes into play. First you to make a good guess of where to place your first machine(s). Since you have no idea what machines are going to come up next, you need to make an educated guess of where to place the machine so it doesn’t get in the way while also being able to be used by other machines. The second way luck comes into play is with the machines that become available. Since the game comes with more machines than are used in a game, all of the machines will not make an appearance in a game. If you need a certain input, you need to hope that a machine that outputs that material comes up. If you can’t get a machine with the right output, you will not be able to get all of the bonus chips that you would have otherwise been able to get.
The machine selection process is actually pretty interesting. It kind of feels out of place in a game that is pretty methodical but I didn’t mind it. I actually thinks it actually works pretty well. The mechanic does bring some luck/randomization to the game but I actually that that is good for Factory Fun. If this mechanic wasn’t added I think Factory Fun would have just become a complex math problem where the same player would essentially always win. With this mechanic you need to be able to make quick decisions and not fully analyze every possible outcome. You need to quickly look through the options and make a decision because if you wait too long you may miss that one machine that you truly need.
When I played Factory Fun I played it with one other player. The game plays perfectly fine with two players but I think the game would play better with more people. I think with more players there would be more competition and there would be more selection as far as machines are concerned. I think the ideal number of players would probably be three or four. With five players the game may start to drag a little due to having to wait for other players. While the game recommends two to five players, you could actually play it with only one player with some slight rule modifications. I don’t know how fun the game would be though since your only competition would be to try and beat your prior high scores.
The game components are very good in my opinion. While the game mostly comes with cardboard pieces, the cardboard pieces are really nice. All of the components are made from thick nice cardboard. The cardboard pieces should last for a long time unless you take very poor care of them. There are also plenty of all of the pieces so you shouldn’t have to worry about running out and there are enough differences in the machines that each game should feel differently.
I also love that all of the gameboards have a classic and expert side. This allows players to choose a more challenging game if they want to. If one player is more experienced than another player it also allows the newer player to receive an advantage which might bridge the experience gap. None of the expert factories are the same as well so you could get a lot of replay value just by trying the different factory layouts.
I really enjoyed playing Factory Fun. Even though it might be a little difficult at first, you can quickly get into a groove and the game then becomes quite easy to play. The game is quite strategic and doesn’t rely much on luck. I thought the components were great as well.
While I really liked Factory Fun it is not perfect. At times the game seems to end too quickly. The game can sometimes lack interaction between players. It is also the type of game that I wouldn’t play all of the time. You kind of have to be in the right type of mood to fully appreciate the game.
If you like puzzle type board games of the moderate difficulty level I think you will really like Factory Fun and should consider purchasing a copy. If you don’t like puzzle games or prefer games with quite a bit of social interaction, Factory Fun is probably not for you.