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Fantastic Factories» Forums » Reviews

Subject: a review of the print and play kickstarter version rss

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CardBoard Bear

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I've played multiple games during the kickstarter campaign (using the print and play version, which was not 100% final), both solo and with another player. I find this a very well made lightweight game.

To put things in context, I play Gaia Project, which is reasonably complex by most board game standards. So if I say Fantastic Factories is light weight it does not mean that it is boring or too easy. However, after several playthroughs it did not hold interest for me to continue, and in the end I cancelled my pledge.

The gameplay is basically to assign dice (which you can manipulate with some cards). While there is some luck involved, I did not feel that the game was out of my control, as you can just assign dice in the most optimal way for the results you got.

The play time listed by the designers is 30-60 minutes but I don't see how it can take that long. I can play it in 15 min, and players are supposed to take turns simultaneously, so in theory playing with 5 players should take about as long as playing with 2. A game where I explained the rules to a second player and we did not take our turns simultaneously took about 30 minutes.

There're different cards but several are similar. Sure one card might ask you to put 3 identically valued dice, while another might ask you to put 3 dice with a total sum of at least 14. One might give you x metals and y energy and other might give you x goods and y metals, but that does not make for varied gameplay after multiple games. there's just so many times I can put two identically valued dice on a card, and pick either 4 metals or 7 resources, and still consider it fun.

You CAN apply different strategies, a good sign of a well made gameplay design. For example in one game I put down 2 beacons and the megalith in 3 turns. the beacons increase in value as you put down more of them together, while the megalith becomes cheaper based on the number of beacons already built. so they make for a good combo. they don't produce resources that you can use to build more cards, but they create victory points. those 3 cards, I built in 3 consecutive turns. that's 8 prestige points right there...with the 2 cards I had put down previously it easily triggered the 10 prestige points requirement to end the game [EDIT: slight mistake here, as the trigger is 10 building cards, not 10 prestige points, but I had 9 cards in the last round for this game, so it doesn't change my opinion].

in another game I quickly put down solar panels (gives you energy whenever you build a new card), scrap yard (gives you metal whenever you build a new card), then a power plant (creates a lot of energy) and an Al factory (uses a lot of energy to create goods which are worth victory points). I churned out goods in a few rounds and easily triggered the 12 goods requirement to end the game.

not all games might be as fast, and it IS fun to pick cards, build them and make combos. but it is not THAT much fun, after multiple playthroughs.

I'm sure there are combos that I have not seen. so there is some replayability, and you could just increase the point triggers that end the game, to make the game last a bit longer. but I guess I just need something that is heavier. so if you like a GOOD, well designed, and varied lightweight game, I think you might like it. I personally wish there was a bit more variety and a bit more depth, with more interactions between cards, maybe about twice as many cards, and some extra type of resources. But as it is, I see it more or less as a very well designed filler game, which is perhaps unfair, as I probably would not have fun playing most filler games, but I did have fun playing this, just not enough to buy it.

I think the art is good.

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