Factory 42 – Review – Dragon Dawn Productions

Hello awesome gamers!

Welcome to my review of the great new worker placement game by Dragon Dawn Productions.

Factory 42 is a worker placement game with an emersive theme, set in a steam-punk industrial setting!

Read about all of the other Dragon Dawn Productions games I’ve reviewed here!

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Factory 42

Player: 2-5

Time: 60-90 mins

Age: 12+

Designer: Ren Multamäki

Artist: Lars Munck

Publisher: Dragon Dawn Productions

Buy Factory 42 here!

I can’t get enough of Dragon Dawn Productions! Everything they make is top quality and Factory 42 is no exception. I have already reviewed Justice which is set in the same world as Factory 42.

Welcome to Zanziar, the steampunk, industrial setting, where you will be playing as the Marxistic overseers of the Dwarven factory. You will need to manage your resources and workers carefully in order to be successful.

The theme of the game is so rich that it has spawned spin-off games, Justice being one example and Mine 77 being another (Review coming soon!). I love that Ren Multamaki doesn’t just think about game mechanics, he has created a living, breathing world in which his games take place.

The World of Zanziar is so interesting and intriguing that it is crying out for more exploration. So you can play Justice in the same world and take on the role of Dwarven Lawyers which is a great twist.

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The game components are high-quality, although we did think that the resource tower was a bit unwieldy at times, but it does look cool! And the Dwarf meeples are really cute.

The artwork is great and really sets the tone for the game – a slight tongue in cheek take on the Soviet system of resource distribution. And the little mine carts look awesome!

There are lots of different cubes for the different resources, but it is not as intimidating as it might look at first as the colours are easily differentiated and the different sizes help.

The game takes up a fair amount of space, despite the small-ish game board as each player has their own playing board upon which they will be placing workers and gathering resources.

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Set up

Factory 42 is played over 6 rounds which represents a working week at the factory. During this time the players compete to complete the most Government Orders and earn the most Victory Points.

Set up is pretty straight forward and you get used to the little routines at the beginning of each round. Each round follows a number of phases and the order is really easily followed by following the numbers on the board.

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Government Orders

The Government Orders are another example of the deeply emmersive theme coming through into the game components. Each card represents a different commodity that the players can attempt to manufacture. You could be competing to manufacture Tins of Food, Survival Packs or Stemtanks!

Each commodity has three standards at which they can be manufactured: Optimal, Standard or Minimal. Each standard has differing resource costs and differing rewards in terms of the number of Rosettes you earn.

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Game Play

Factory 42 is a deceptively simple game with tons of thinking and depth of strategy. The most scarce resource is your workers and if you are playing with higher player counts then you only get 6 workers and you will need to choose carefully where to place them.

The locations follow the supply chain from requisition of resources, loading carts, shipping the carts, generating Steam, Trading and Accounting to Research and Manufacturing. And as the players take turns in placing their meeples, you will need to adapt your stratgey to try to get the best outcome for yourself, or to foil the plans of others.

You will have at least 10 different locations upon which you can place your workers – more if you are playing with the expansions. And most locations can take multiple workers, so you will need to very carefully consider where will be most effective.

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Worker Placement

You will need to requisition resources for both the Common Pool and your own Warehouses and you will need to load carts and ship them to your docks. But this is where the complex interactions arise between players as you cannot guarentee that the carts you load will be shipped to your own warehouses.

There is a great deal of thinking ahead to be done which is hard the first time you play the game. Repeated plays will bring greater insights into the interactions and pay-offs between different strategies.

Each player has the option to promote any of their workers to Commissars each round which have different roles at the work stations so there are lots of moving parts. Players will be competing to get the best spots as the places begin to get taken up.

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Each location is resolved in turn, starting with requisitions and progressing through to Manufacturing. So although you take it in turns, going clockwise, to place your meeples, it is the location order which determines how these actions are resolved.

This part of the game is fun and full of surprises as players either work together to help each other out or throw spanners in the works for others. Best laid plans are dashed as you find out that you didn’t plan for enough resources or you had to pay a tax to a rival Commisar and now you are unable to build the Government Order. Or you are lucky and everything goes to plan and you earn plenty of Victory Points!

As the game progresses, you will begin to get very familiar with the phases of the turn and it will speed up. One mechanic I really like is that each round bring an element of randomosity through the Event Cards which are revealed at the start of each round. The Market Card also changes each round, bringing new prices at the Trading location.

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Commissions Expansion

Once you have mastered the base game, there is the Commissions expansion which adds two new locations onto the main board and a new location onto each player board. It also adds two new decks of cards, the Inventions and the Elven Commissions.

All of this gives the game several new dimensions, introducing new inventions to research from the Inventors Guild and new commissions to manufacture from the Elven Embassy. Of course this will spread your workers even thinner and you will be making even more hard decisions!

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Final Thoughts

All in all I loved Factory 42 and so did my gaming group (and my cat)! It took us a lot longer to play than the 90 minutes advertised, but if we were to play a few times, I know that we would get quicker.

I would say it plays much better at higher player counts. I played it with just two players and it felt like it was lacking something, but at 5 players it was really buzzing with all the player interactions. I wonder if at two players it could do with a dummy player to increase the stakes a little.

Anyways, I love the game, love the theme and love how it ties into some of Dragon Dawn’s other games and I’m looking forward to playing and reviewing Mine 77 next!

Let me know in the comments below if you have a favorite Dragon Dawn game, and until next time, happy gaming!

Buy Factory 42 here!

Check out all my other reviews of Dragon Dawn Productions here!

Thanks for reading!


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