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Just Say Yes to Fantastic Factories!

Fantastic Factories Box Art
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I’ve mentioned my love of factory games before, but Fantastic Factories by Joseph Z. Chen and Justin Faulkner has blown me away. I missed this game the first time around on Kickstarter. Luckily, I was able to pick up Fantastic Factories, the expansions, and the amazing playmat during the most recent Kickstarter campaign.

What’s Fantastic Factories all about?

Using dice (worker) placement and engine building,  players will create a compound filled with factories that produce goods and resources. To win the game, be the player that produces the most goods and prestige points. The factories you build are worth prestige points, so these are earned along the way.

This game is easy to setup and put away. Gameplay is typically an hour or less. Solo play is much quicker at roughly 20 minutes per game!

What’s in the box?

The components in Fantastic Factories are well done. The resources are thick cardboard. The cards are thick with a nice matte finish. It seems like the linen finish is preferred for game cards, but the matte seems to fit the theme better here. Also, the industrial style artwork is thematic, and I love it!

Let’s talk about the player boards. They’re awesome. I pulled them out of the box and just wanted to play with them. They’re so sturdy, and again, the artwork is really cool. These are top-notch components that truly enhance the game.

If I were to fault anything, it would be the dice. They’re small and average. I think if they were solid color, they would be more appealing. There’s just something about the translucent hue that doesn’t work for me. With that said, they do work as intended!

How do you play?

Gameplay is divided into two phases!

Phase 1 is the market phase. This is where you can draw new blueprints for factories and monuments into your hand (You’ll actually build them into your compound during phase 2). Alternatively, you can also hire a contractor for the second phase that will give you extra benefits (extra dice, additional resources, etc.).

Phase 2 is the work phase. Players complete the work phase simultaneously. There are several actions that can be taken, and there’s no specific order that actions need to be completed.

  • Role your dice!
  • Build blueprints into your compound by trading in the required cards and resources. Build as many as you like (and can afford).
  • Activate your factories. You can even activate freshly built factories!
  • Place a die (or more) onto your player board and produce resources. You can also sacrifice a die (or more) to draw a new blueprint card.

Game end triggers when a person produces 12 or more goods or has 10 or more buildings in their compound. When this happens, finish the round, and then one more round. Count your goods and add on the total number of prestige points your factories are worth. 


One of the most entertaining parts of Fantastic Factories is putting together various combos in your compound. For example: I like to build the megafactory, manufactory, and the battery factory together. If I can activate the megafactory, I’ll score a fifth dice of any value. I can couple that with my last remining dice and use them to activate the manufactory. That will allow me to produce 3 goods (victory points) and 3 energy. I can then use the energy to activate the battery factory and score another good!

There are plenty of ways to manipulate and get extra dice (contractors and certain factories) which betters the odds of being able to activate the various factories in your compound. This also helps to offset the random luck of your dice rolls!

Tip: The rulebook suggests that you leave the goods produced in your factories on top of their respective blueprint cards. I play like this, and It’s a great way to see what’s working, and what’s not!


I feel fortunate we were able to get the playmat for Fantastic Factories. It’s well done, and the colors are so bright. Having this playmat will make teaching this game to people much easier. All important information is noted on the mat itself, which will save you time flipping through the rule book. Also, the playmat is compatible with the manufactions expansion!

Bonus: The Fantastic Factories playmat is double sided! The reverse side has the layout for solo play. There’s some extra rules you’ll need to remember for solo play, but the playmat has reminders which keeps your game on track. I also like that the left side of the playmat is setup to organize the Machine’s (your solo opponent) compound. Everything stays nice and tidy.

**If you can’t get one of these lovely playmats, there are fantastic reference cards that will guide your gameplay as well!

Final Opinion

Fantastic Factories is the game I immediately want to play again when a game is over. It’s the type of game that leaves me thinking about it for hours after I’ve walked away from the table. I’ve even pulled out the appendix and studied the different factories that can be built. I’m always in search of some amazing combo I haven’t played yet!

So what’s your favorite Fantastic Factories combo?

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