Michael "Tie-Dyed-Eyes"
United States
Rapid City
South Dakota
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Factory Manager - Play 2

I first played this on New Year’s Day with Will Yargo & Brian. Last night I arrived (late), to find Factory Manager all over the table. I thought I had missed it. Worse. They hadn’t started, because they were waiting for me. (guilt). I thought our gaming group had a "No Wait" policy, and I had told them I would be late. Well anyhow, on with the game--or at least, the game from my point of view. I wasn’t able to watch everyone’s choices, but I’ll write what I recall.

Brian and Tony had both recently purchased this game, and Tony hadn’t gotten to play yet. So for once, I had actually more experience at this game than most people at the table--an extremely rare event in our group. So Brian & Mike=second play, Tim, Tony & Brad=first play.

I used The Force to make Tim pick my color for the opening bid ("You will pick red.")--some may feel this an inappropriate use of The Force, but I am considering a career with the Dark Side. I failed to win the last seat (and biggest discount). But there was a snafu on the explanation of the play order. After the correct ruling was found, Brad called for a do-over on the auction. And this time, I did win the last seat in play order. I continued this practice at least 3 of the first 4 rounds. In the final round I surprised everyone by bidding two for the first seat, which I received, but it was my biggest mistake of the game. More on that later.

My strategy was to keep my power consumption low, and play last to get the biggest discounts. (Read: Mike is a total cheapskate).

Tony discovered the pain of playing 3rd, when all of the tiles he pulled down were purchased by players 1 & 2. With my -4 discount in the first round, I bought a $17 Control (the one with the lightning bolt) to bring my power and man-power needs down, and a $4 robot to increase production. At the end of round 1 I had $31.

Round 2, seats 3,4 & 5 all had the same discount, so I bid for seat 3, and got it. Tony, after his frustration in round 1, bid heavily for seat 1. I pulled down 3 Optimizers: a 17 and 2 30’s. Brad, who was going last, thought that an odd move, since (in his opinion) nobody had $30; I didn’t correct him. I managed to get the $30 piece, and reduced my power consumption and increase production. At the end of round 2 I had almost $40.

Third round, I bid on the last chair and got it. I noticed everyone else except Brian had more production than storage. So I pulled down about 6 storage tiles, figuring nobody but Brian would buy any. He did buy one, and with my -4 discount, I bought 2 of the 14’s for $20, bringing my storage up by 6. I think this bumped my income up by $20, without any increase in spending, except for an increase in the price of power. Tim, who always has a kind word to say, commented favorably on my efficiency. At the end of the round, I think I had almost $70.

Round 4, I got last chair again, I can’t remember what all I pulled down, but I wound up only buying the $7 robot. I had planned to buy 2 robots, but right before I purchased I remembered the the machine:robot ratio, and I thought I couldn't purchase 2 robots. After the turn was over, Brian mentioned I could have still bought another robot, I just would have had to idle a less efficient one. I still had 3 more storage than production, and now I knew what I had to do.

Round 5, I got to bid first again, because I’d been playing last. When I bid 2 actions on the first chair, which had no discounts on it, everybody scratched their heads and said, okay, you can have it. My mistake was bidding 2. I only had 4 actions, and forgot I would only get to pull down 2 tiles. I knew I could buy whatever I wanted, because I was playing first, but the piece I needed was 3 tiles deep, and I couldn’t reach it. Much to my relief, Brad pulled down the piece I wanted, the $9 robot. I slapped him on the back and forgave him for every impolite noise he’d ever made. Then Tim gave me the game, when he (with his fully automated factory) pulled down about 4 or 5 more robots, giving me access to the $20 Production robot. On my turn, I promptly bought it, and idled my $4 robot, increasing production by 2, and dropping my energy drain by 1. Ever since round 2, when he underestimated my cash resources, Brad had been watching my money closely. As soon as I bought that piece, he said, "I think you beat me by almost $20."

With all his surplus actions, Tim made a massive purchase, but had miscalculated the labor to demolish existing machinery. We allowed him to return 2 tiles that he couldn’t use, and he still made a major renovation, and his production went way up. Brian did an impressive rebuild and brought his net income up to $110, I believe. But he must have had significant power usage because his final score was under $200.

When it came time for collecting income Tony and I had the exact same scale, $90 income, and 2 energy for $6 each, so in the double-round we both brought in $156 dollars. I paid homage to Brad's rapid math skills, because his prediction was dead-on.

Final scores:
Michael: 237
Brad: 221
Tim: 198
Brian: 192
Tony: 168

I apologize if this sounds like a gloat-fest. It’s just so rare that I win against these guys. And really I think if Cates had been there, he would have claimed I had only won by "King-maker." But this is a great game. Thanks for hosting us, Brian!
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Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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You've got at least one rule wrong. Round 1, the best discount available is only -2, on the 6 or 7 tile.

The high discount tiles you start with aren't used for round 1, the first thing you do is auction new tiles to replace them.
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