Today, I’m going to be talking about a game that I missed when it initially came out. Now that there are expansions on Kickstarter, it seems like as good a time as any to cover
Fantastic Factories is a game designed by Joseph Z. Chen and Justin Faulkner, originally published by Metafactory Games and now by Deep Water Games. It’s a 1-5 player game where you’re building an engine of factories to make the most goods and win the manufacturing race.
The main parts of this game are dice and cards. Each player starts with four dice of their player color, a headquarters board, a metal resource, two energy resources, and four random blueprint cards as their initial hand. There are also four random blueprints face up in a market area, as well as four random contractor cards. The contractors each get a random tool token next to them.
At the start of each round, players take turns drafting a card. You can draft a blueprint to your hand, or a contractor. Blueprints are simple – you just pick one up and add it you your hand, refilling the empty space immediately. You can also spend an energy to discard all available and get a new set to choose from.
To take a contractor, you’ll need to discard a card from your hand that matches the tool symbol next to that contractor, as well as any other required cost. Then you take the effect of the specific contractor immediately, and discard it. Contractors are one-time use. You’ll refill that spot immediately.
After everyone has drafted a card, the work phase begins, and is done simultaneously. Everyone rolls their dice, then assign them to various tasks.
- Build Cards – Pay the build cost on a blueprint from your hand, and also discard another card from your hand that shows the same tool symbol as the one you’re building. This newly built card goes into your play area, which is called your compound.
- Research – Put a die in this area of your Headquarters to draw the top card of the blueprint stack. You can put up to three dice in the research area, and if any match, you’ll be able to draw extra cards.
- Generate – Put a die of value 1-2-3 here to generate that much energy. Up to three dice can go in this area, and matching dice give you extra energy.
- Mine – Put a die of value 4-5-6 here to produce one metal. Up to three dice can go in this area, and matching dice give you extra metal.
- Activate Cards – Once a card has been built, you can activate it. Some cards require dice, some require some kind of payment, but all can only be used once per round.
Once everyone has finished the actions they are going to take, you must discard down to 12 resources and 10 cards in hand. If no player has reached the endgame threshold, keep playing. If someone has manufactured 12+ goods, or has built 10+ buildings, there will be one more round. After that, the player with the high score (manufactured goods plus building prestige) is the winner.
The expansions on Kickstarter right now add different stuff to the game. Manufactions gives you new blueprints, factions, a new resource (vitamins), and new contractors. Subterfuge gives you new blueprints and contractors, as well as sabotage tokens. The campaign runs until October 27, and this is as good a time as any to include my standard disclaimer that I’m not receiving any compensation for plugging this – I haven’t played Fantastic Factories, I just think it looks interesting. Engine building games are certainly hot right now, and I enjoy seeing all the possibilities in a game like this. They can be a bummer if you can’t get your engine running, but I think this one looks pretty interesting, and I’ll have to give it a shot sometime.
That’s it for today. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!