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Subject: TVB - 2P - Initial plans don't work, but experience shows. rss

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Richard Pardoe
United States
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At this point, Sabrina left and it was time to pull out one of Rich's Essen's game to try -- Factory Fun by Cwali. Players are given a warehouse into which they have to build machines that convert various materials (represented by colours) into final products (represented by black). Each turn consists of adding another machine which will produce a certain revenue that turn. But the player must also pay connection charges (pipes, feed and product tanks) that will cost the player revenue. If the product of one machine can be hooked up as the feed to another machine - that will be worth additional revenue at the end of the game.

The machines are chosen by a "grab auction" - Each player reveals one machine from the pile of face-down machines. Players can then grab the machine they want with the person to grab first getting that machine. (This is the only "direct competition" in the game relying as it does on the speed element.) Players are not compelled to grab a machine - they may forgo all the machines if desired. So at its heart - this is a 2D optimization game as players try to generate positive revenue in the most efficient manner possible but without knowing what future needs will be.

Dave and I started our first game - building competitively and cooperatively as we went. While there is some competition for the machines, once selected, each player's board can be a puzzle that all the players can work on, offering advice as necessary. I liked this feature as it meant that downtime of waiting for a player to finish a move is minimized - always something else to work on. In our first game, Dave and I learned the downside of building machines too close together. That might be great for reducing the connection costs, but as the game progresses - players will want room in their systems to allow for additions, new routes, etc. A small price paid early can save larger costs at a later stage.

When all was said and done, Rich had 5 machines built to end with a total of $7. Adding in the connection bonus (6 units at 5 each) gave Rich a final score of $37. Dave had built 8 machines to end with a total of $18. Adding in his inter-connection bonus (also 30) - gave Dave a final score of $48.

Having played this game once, we did something that is a bit rare, we immediately played another game. The initial machine distribution was interesting as 3 of the first 4, 4 of the first 5, and 5 of the first 8 machines were all final product machines. (This means that their product can't be used to feed another machine - limiting the opportunities to build those valuable interconnections.) But our experience with the game started to pay off as we both did better when the end came (Rich had $27 while Dave had $26). But again, it was the inter-connections that determined the winner as Rich had 6 (for an additional $30) while Dave had 10 (for an additional $50). Dave wins $66 to $57.
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