Little Factory

Published by Iello and distributed in the UK by Coiledspring, and originally released as Goods Maker, Little Factory is a relatively simple engine-building game where 2-4 players are collecting resources to build and operate their factories so that they can convert the raw materials into products that are more valuable. In other words it's Economics 101.



The basic raw materials are in plentiful supply because, when used, these are discarded back into the display where other players can buy or draw them. It's the secondary and tertiary products that are relatively scarce: you can only take/make those that are displayed. Competitive players will therefore want to keep a weather eye on what others need in order to feed their factory. Tho' there's no direct sabotage in that you can't directly throw a literal or metaphorical spanner in an opponent's production engine, you can block their progress by denying them the resources they need...


As you build your factories, the production from them will usually earn you 'influence points' (for which read 'victory points'). The winner is the player who has the most influence points when the supply of tokens runs out (and the game only comes with 12 tokens) or when a player exceeds a value of 10 points from the combined value of their tokens and their buildings.



Sabrina Miramon's artwork adds to the game's appeal and Little Factory is easy to play once you understand the rules. Unfortunately, we didn't find the English translation of the rules of Shun and Aya Taguchi's game to be quite as clear as they could be. There are some basic rule conditions and exceptions covering resource drawing and card trading that should be better presented to avoid any confusion in what is intended as a 20-30 minute family game. It would also be helpful if the rules had included some examples of turns so that new players could get off to a flying start.


That gripe aside, Little Factory is a good way of introducing new players to the engine-building game mechanic, and it's an enjoyable filler-length game in its own right. And, as a bonus, the game incorporates a solitaire option.


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