Updated: Oct 24
Designed by Luc de Charriére and published by LuTyGo, Faktoria looks at first like a medieval city-building resource management game with an auction mechanic. In fact, it's almost entirely an auction game where you and up to four other players are bidding for resources (two common types which are stone and wood, and iron and gold which are very rare) that you’ll be turning almost directly into victory points.
There aren’t very many decisions to be made in Faktoria: it’s all about how much you’re willing to pay for the resource cubes available. Once you’ve decided that, you can invest in production buildings early on but the extra cost for building more than two means that it won’t make much difference. It’s then just about turning resources to points through prestige buildings that mostly don’t otherwise affect the game.
The one factor most likely to swing the game is if/when a gold cube comes out (there are only two available), which enables the purchasing of the unique castle and palace buildings; these can almost single-handedly win the game for you. If you have a tiny bit more money than anyone else at that point, everything else is practically irrelevant. This could lead to interesting bidding scenarios throughout the five rounds between players who are all familiar with the flow of the game and its unique economics but, sadly, for beginners there is very little of interest to latch onto.
Art is by Bartek Fedyczak and the presentation of the game is good in terms of components, artwork and simplicity of rules, but unless you and your fellow gamers are seasoned auctioneers looking for a game with a city-building theme you probably won’t find Faktoria to be up your street.
(Review by Matt Young)