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Factory 42

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Number of Players 2-5
Playtime 90-120 Min
Suggested Ages 12+
Designer(s) Timo Multamäki
Publisher Dragon Dawn Productions

Factory 42 is a Euro-style game for 2-5 players. The game tells the story of the workweek of Marxistic dwarves in a steampunk industrial setting, putting the player in the role of factory Overseers. It combines worker placement and a cube tower to make a resource management puzzle. Factory 42 is a cutthroat competitive game with elements of co-operation and deals involving Fantasy, Economics, Industry and Negotiation with a pinch of satire, but not too much to make it a Humor game. It satisfyingly mixes two-fold tensions: camaraderie forged in shared goals, and the opportunistic trampling of temporary competition. A tight game of glancing blows and communal glory making a wicked blend of sharp elbows and shared ambition. Visually, Factory 42 is influenced by 1920’s Soviet Union propaganda, fantasy literature and elements of pre-WWI Prussian decor.

The general process control at Factory 42 is:

  • Get work orders/requisitions from the government
  • Get some of the requisitioned resources (as determined by the cube tower)
  • Load resources (and spike additional resources) onto rail cars
  • Move the railcars to docks at individual manufacturing facilities
  • Burn leftover resources to create steam
  • Trade resources on the open market
  • Use steam and resources to make requested items.

Capricious Bureaucracy:* Resources made available to players, making up a common pool, are delivered via the Bureaucracy Tower; a mechanic that can deliver or withhold resources in a random manner. This simulates the notion that “the powers that be” redirect funds/resources by tying them up in red tape, trapping resources that would otherwise normally be available for the general populace. What enters into the tower does not always come out, or may have been held up during some unknown bureaucratic process, to later materialize when least expected

Requisition:* Tactical decisions begin with the acquisition of resources vital to the production process. The order of worker meeples on the requisition line dictates the volume of resources obtained for the common pool (available to all) and the number that can be obtained and stored in a player’s personal warehouse. Decisions made here can benefit a player’s future actions but may also unwittingly aid a rival, making each choice so very important.

Loading:* Players may tactically direct their workers to the loading bays where resources are loaded onto lines of rail transport. Order here can be extremely important to one’s success. Misjudging the order (or cunningly foreseeing the future) may lead a player to load a cart for a rival rather than for one’s self. Alliances might be made during this process, just as enemies can be made of rivals, depending on choices made when loading

Shipping and Storage:* Once loaded, each rail cart moves to the shipping location awaiting direction. Workers have the option of forwarding the loaded carts to player’s docks. Once again order of placement is paramount as carts are only shipped in order. A cart may not contain useful resources and so could be sent to a rival, taking up valuable storage space, or maybe it will benefit a rival in an attempt to fulfill a verbally agreed alliance. Often a cart has been loaded with a wide variety of resources and only a portion of this precious load is of use. Limited storage space in a player’s personal docks and warehouses dictates the shipping decision-making process as much as a rival’s needs

Trade and Research:* Commodities may be traded on an ever changing market, often allowing an unnecessary resource to be exchanged at a price, for something of more use. Research is equally important, letting players expand storage facilities, improve material handling in the manufacturing process or even learn how to use Invention cards to add special actions/abilities during play

Manufacture and Accounting:* The government dictates what, what must be manufactured during a game round. The government orders must be completed or many, sometimes all players will suffer sanctions. A degree of cooperation is required here for the greater good of Dwarven society, but on an individual level, completion of a government order leads to reward and ultimately progression on the path to victory

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