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Published by IELLO     Designed by Shun & Aya Taguchi     Art by Sabrina Miramon
2-4 players aged 10+    Average online price £14.00 rrp £19.99  Always Support Local Games Stores if you can

 What’s in the box?
44 Resource cards       16 Level one, 19 Level two, 9 Level three         
30 Building cards        12 Influence point tokens  4 Starting money tiles

This is a resource and building game, and from the off there is a marked difference to other resource games. Resources are quite plentiful and shown on cards marked as Levels 1 (Yellow), 2 (Blue) and 3 (Red), plus there are enough Start Money cards (valued 3, 4, 5 & 6), dealt out at the start of play, one to each player in clockwise order, with the Start player taking the lower value. There is a deck of Green cards which are the Buildings, five of which are marked on the back as Starting Buildings.

There is no board so each Resource deck is separately shuffled and placed in a column on the table with their levels in descending order. The Building cards are placed as the top deck in the column, with the first row made up of the Starting Buildings; the rows underneath are of cards from each deck, dealt out one at a time so that there are five different cards in each row - not necessarily one of each though, as any doubles turned over are placed on their equals, slightly off line to show the multiples.

Take your time and learn what each symbol, and where it is, on the cards means. The large illustration in the centre of the card shows the Resource it gives, its Coin value or the Building. The Brown plank at the top of the card on a Building card shows the Building effect - this can be activated once per turn. Symbols on the top of Resource cards are for Production. Symbols with a Coin value next to them can be used for Production or Trade.

The symbols on the bottom of the cards, building and Resource, are what is/are required to Build, or gain the Resource, that is the large central illustration. Cards Built or Traded are replaced at the end of the player's turn so that every player has a full house in front of them.

  

Buildings may be built by being Traded for Money (using the coins shown top left of one or more resource cards) or they can be built by paying (in some cases just showing) the necessary Resources. For example to build the Castle you need Planks, Pipes and a Brick wall OR 30 coins. To build a small House you need a Plank OR 8 coins. On top of building illustrations is a white number in a gold star - these are Influence points - you need 10 (or greater) to win. 

On centre top of the Building cards are the effects that can be activated. Look carefully at these as every 'single' item to the left of wooden arrow has to be discarded to gain the reward to the right of the wooden arrow. There are items with a slash (/) between them and this means one or the other has to be discarded UNLESS the item is shown to be on a card, in which case you only have to SHOW that you have such a card in your hand. Example: on the small House card you need Cotton (to discard) or a Sheep (to show) to gain a Twine.

  

Played until there are no Influence Tokens left unclaimed (when you gain Influence you take an Influence Token) or until one player has 10 or more Influence Points. If it's the former all players count up the Influence they have. If it's the latter the player with 10 points wins. Point Tokens are found on certain Building cards but available only when there is an effect that allows it.

Because you can always gain something - if you don't do anything else in your turn you can take a FREE Level 1 card - the game moves at a pace most Resource/Building management games cannot keep up with. Four players who know the rules and the cards well should be able to play to completion within 30-35 minutes; the game box suggests 45 minutes.

Iello's LITTLE FACTORY game has all the feeling and re-playability of a BIG FACTORY game. It has fine mechanics, colourful cards, and a rulebook that is laid out in steps and stages to make learning how to play swift and efficient. The small illustrations on the cards are big and clear enough, unlike many big-box games where the icons are so small you have to pick the card up and study it to see what they are.

Colour coding the cards by type means they are always easy to recognise and sort at any time. The number of some of the Resource card type depends on the number of players - therefore it may be necessary to remove a certain number of cards from their decks prior to playing. These cards have something like 3/3/2 on their bottom right - this means there are 3 cards with 4 players. 3 with 3 players and 2 with 2 players, thus 3/3/2.

  

Although the gameplay is swift, players have decisions to make throughout. What cards do you Trade? When do you build? Should you Trade or Build? When you require two cards that are on the table you must decide which to take and then hope that another player doesn't grab it before your next turn? Take note of what your opponents are saving as it may give you insight into what they are after, allowing you to take card/s that they need. When Trading you can use the coins on the cards you are discarding to effectively buy more than one card, but you may only Build one building in a turn.

Easy to setup, easy to understand, strategies a-plenty. These are some of the reasons I and our group of fairly-well experienced games players truly enjoy LITTLE FACTORY. Great for family players and core board gamers alike, there is very little that is little about Little Factory.

Another reason is that there is a double-sided page of variant rules that actually make this a solo player game one that I like, a very rare game indeed.

  

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021