Latest posts by Seth Ryals-Fernandes (see all)
- A Heavy Discussion on Weight - June 18, 2018
- Fantastic Factories Is An Engine Building Game For Hardcore and Casual Players Alike - June 14, 2018
- Posthuman Saga, What I Wish The Fallout Board Game Was - June 11, 2018
- $29 for Kickstarter Version
- Engine Building
- 1-5 Players
- 45-60 Min Playtime
- Medium Weight
- Cartoony Art and Theme
Fantastic Factories, The Perfect Light Engine Building Game For Your Collection
Engine building games are some of the most beloved games by casual board gamers, and there is a reason for that. When I think of engine building games, Settlers of Catan isn’t the first one that comes to mind. That being said, it is probably one of the most ubiquitously loved games across age groups and experience levels. The game play of Fantastic Factories is nothing like Settlers of Catan. Let’s just be clear about that right out of the gate. Where Settlers of Catan and Fantastic Factories intersect though, is that they bring together casual and hardcore gamers.
In the Kickstarter video for Fantastic Factories, the Youtuber Christian Kang of Take Your Chits says exactly this. I was obviously immediately skeptical. In my opinion, there are very few games that exist that I feel comfortable playing with more casual players, that also challenge me sufficiently. If you are looking for more games like this I would recommend Riftwalker, a game that I reviewed recently. I would feel weird saying this normally, but I think a lot of you out there feel this same struggle, especially those of you that host events. But after reading the rules, and watching game play, I’m confident that Fantastic Factories has achieved that sweet spot right in the center between light and heavy.
Basic Concept of Fantastic Factories
The basic concept of the game is where I think Fantastic Factories really shines. The object of the game is to score points, this can be done in two ways. Points can be earned by either gaining prestige or producing goods.
This is achieved through two turn phases. The first phase of every turn is called the Market Phase. In the Market Phase each player either takes a blueprint card for free, aka a building card, or discards a blueprint card from their hand to hire a contractor with the corresponding tool symbol, found in the upper left of every blueprint card. One thing I found confusing at first is that the contractors do not have set tool symbols, it depends on the order they are currently laid out on the board.
After the Market Phase comes the Work Phase. During the Work Phase, all the players simultaneously roll their dice and take one of three actions with them. These three actions are Research, Mine, and Generate. These three actions allow plays to draw another blueprint card, acquire metals, or generate energy accordingly. With these resources the players build buildings. There are two different types of buildings, training buildings and factories. Training Buildings allow the player to change their dice slightly to make up for a dice that was maybe one or two off of what it needed to be to be used. Factories allow players to turn their resources into goods, which are worth points at the end of the game.
The game continues until a player has produced 12 or more goods, or a player has built 10 or more buildings. One more round is then played and the scores are tallied.
My Overall Thoughts on Fantastic Factories
I think Fantastic Factories will do exactly what it has aimed to. The game will give more hardcore players a chance to play something lighter that still engages them. I have really no complaints about the game itself. The rules, which can be found here, definitely need a little bit of work still. But I was still able to parse out pretty easily what the game does and how it works. Figuring the game out just took a little bit more time than it could if they were streamlined a little. Beyond that the only other complaint I have about Fantastic Factories is that the art style is not my favorite. I’m not a huge fan of the presentation, but there’s no accounting for personal taste in those sorts of things.
Overall though the game looks really fun, and I don’t do this very often but I am genuinely considering backing it. I think the $29 price point of the game is extremely affordable, especially considering the replay value that it seems to have. I would say if you need a game that scratches that engine building itch, that you can play with your friends, this is a good one to go for.
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