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New Game Round-up: More Fantastic Factories, More Evolving Zombies, and More UNO for More Players

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Time for the annual inbox clearing, with short takes on many announcements that got stuck in the convention gears and dislodged only now:

Fantastic Factories, the first title from designers Joseph Z Chen and Justin Faulkner and publisher Metafactory Games, was Kickstarted in mid-2018 and reached backers in October 2019 — at which time Deep Water Games announced that it had partnered with the company to release the title on a wider basis to retailers starting in January 2020. An overview of the game:
In Fantastic Factories, you race to manufacture the most goods or build the most prestigious buildings. There are elements of dice rolling, worker placement, engine building, resource management, tableau building, simultaneous play, and some card drafting. Each round is split into two phases, the market phase and the work phase.

During the market phase, you choose to either acquire a new blueprint for free or pay to hire a contractor. Blueprints are used to construct new factories during the work phase. Contractors can be used to reinforce your strategy by providing resources or allowing you to roll additional dice. You need to be mindful of what cards are available in the marketplace and the strategies your opponents may be pursuing.

During the work phase, all players simultaneously roll their dice and use their dice as workers to run factories. Factories start as blueprints and need to be constructed. Once constructed, each factory can be used once each turn. Worker placement can happen in any order and figuring out the correct sequence can enable a powerful chain of actions. Additionally, you can build training facilities that allow you to manipulate the dice values of your workers. Each work phase is like solving a unique worker placement puzzle in order to optimize your output of resources and goods.

Once any player has manufactured 12 goods or constructed 10 buildings, the game end is triggered and one additional and final round is played. The player with the most points wins (combination of building prestige and manufactured goods).
• In September 2019, Le Scorpion Masqué uploaded an ultimate "Tough Zombies" challenge (PDF) for its legacy game Zombie Kidz Evolution from Annick Lobet. Notes publisher representative Matthew Legault, "It is only for those who have opened all 13 envelopes, so it is really a thank-you to the dedicated players who have played the game enough to have explored all the surprises the game has to offer." (Disclosure: I was paid to edit the rules of this game. —WEM)

• In October 2019, Mattel introduced UNO: Braille Edition, which plays the same as ye olde UNO, but with Braille on all the cards and with audible rules for blind and low-vision players.

• Designer Donald X. Vaccarino posted errata and rules tweaks for Dominion in September 2019, noting that the text of a few cards would be changed in future printings and changed more immediately for online play.

• Many messages in my inbox take the form of a random tweet I sent myself in the hope of researching the title later. Does the game sound interesting? Does it lack a BGG listing? Will I actually get to this title in a reasonable amount of time?

Here's one such example of this phenomenon:

The game in question is Die Pest im Pott ("The Plague in the Pot"), a 2-6 player design seemingly published by LWL, that is, the municipal association Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, which employs 17,000 workers that operate schools, hospitals, museums, and visitor centers in the German region of Westphalia.

What's the game about beyond something associated with the plague? I don't know, but I can tell you that you need to supply your own d6s. Maybe someone else can follow up on this and get it in the database...
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