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How to Play: Factory Funner

factory funner HEADER

Factory Funner is a fun game – it’s in the name! But the rule book is very lacking. For a game that requires a lot of head scratching, it explains things in some very clunky ways. So hopefully this guide will point you in the right direction if you are a little confused.

Set Up

Every player receives a player board (referred to as a factory board), 3 white output reservoirs and 1 of each of the of the colour supply reservoirs. That is a pink, a blue, a yellow and a green one. The factory board are all labelled. All A sides are the same and are recommended for beginners, then all the others are B1-B6 which are asymmetric and offer harder challenges. You are welcome to choose any side of your board you want. The rest of the boards, coloured supply reservoirs and white output reservoirs can be placed back in the box.

Every player then gets a score marker that matches their player board and places it on the ‘10’ space on the point tracker. This is also referred to as the money track. The rest of the components can be placed in the centre of the table. These are all the pipe pieces, the clear chips, and the black output reservoirs. The first and last tokens also needs to be placed in easy reach of every player.

Shuffle the factory tiles and give each player a stack of 8 face down and return the rest to the box. The stack of factories remains facedown and cannot be looked at.

Breakdown of a Round

A round is played simultaneously between all players and follows a structure of a selection phase, then a connection phase and finally a bookkeeping phase.

The selection phase starts when everyone has confirmed that they are ready. Someone will count down from 3 (or 5, or a 100 if your head needs examining) and then every player flips their top factory tile into a face up pool in the centre for all to see. Then players are free to snatch any machine that they want to place in their factory. As soon as you touch a tile, you have to take it. You are not allowed to change your mind. The first player to choose a tile must also take the first token, and consequently the last player to choose takes the last token. In a two-player game the last token is not used. There is also a more traditional turn-based variant you can play instead, which will be explained later on.

You do not need to take a tile if you do not want to. If you take a tile and then choose not to place it (or if you can’t) you will pay a penalty of $2. If you are the last player to choose and you decide not to place the tile, you are not subjected to the $2 penalty. This means if there is one player who doesn’t choose and there is one tile left, they have no reason not to take the tile. If there are more than one tile unclaimed then they get shuffled up and given randomly to those who did not choose. Those players are also not subjected to the $2 penalty if they don’t place the tile given.

The connection phase is where you will place your chosen (or given) tile into your factory. Any machine tile that gets placed MUST have all their outputs and inputs connected to their appropriate components with placed pipes. Whether that is a coloured reservoir, a white/black output reservoir or connected back to other machines. The placement rules are outlined in the next section.

The bookkeeping phase is where you will calculate how much profit or loss building the machine in your factory made. First you will gain the profit shown in the centre of your placed machine tile. Then deduct $1 for every additional component placed – every pipe, coloured reservoir, and black/white output reservoirs. Also deduct $1 if you have the first token or add £1 if you have the last token. This is also where the $2 penalty will be paid if necessary.

Placement Rules

So as mentioned above, after you place your machine, you MUST connect it appropriately. This means that every single input and output must be accommodated by the correct piping and reservoirs. Inputs will always point towards the centre of the machine and will have dots on them, and the outputs will always point outwards and will have numbers on them. The dots tell you how much of that colour you need to power the machines, and the numbers tell you how much of that colour the machine is putting out. This matters as you can link the outputs of one machine into the inputs of another machine so long as the colours match and the output is at least that of which the input requires. If you manage this, you will place on of the clear tokens on that connection which will net you bonus points at the end of the game. The coloured reservoirs output an infinite amount of that colour and can be used to feed inputs with any number on them.

Placing pipes and reservoirs is the main part of the game. Connecting the machines will be the most frustrating and rewarding mechanism you will come across in Factory Funner. You have a lot of freedom in this process, but it is in a very confined space so forward thinking is critical. The pipes you place will be used to connect inputs and outputs to their respective reservoirs. The blue supply reservoir will be needed to connect to the blue input of the machines. The outputs however will all end in a white output reservoir (unless it is black, then a black output reservoir will need to be purchased and placed) but you only have access to 3 white output reservoirs. A white reservoir can only hold one coloured output. This means you will have to carefully consider what machines to place to be able to use your 4 coloured inputs to turn them into only 3 output colours.

Pipes can be placed in any position so long as they wind up connecting the inputs and outputs into their respective input and output reservoirs. You can not however have the input and output of the same machine linked directly. The pipes can even overlap each other on the same tile space. The only limitation with this is that a pipe can never share the same edge as another pipe on the tile space.

After you place a machine in your factory, it is locked in place and can not be moved again afterwards. This is where my main issue with the rulebook comes into play. It is mentioned that connectors (pipes) and reservoirs placed in previous rounds can be removed in later turns. But the picture only shows output reservoirs and not coloured input reservoirs. It frustrates me that both inputs and outputs are referred to as reservoirs. I interpret it that both inputs and outputs can be removed and replaced.


The bookkeeping phase is important to get right. In a game where a single point is hard to come by, this needs to be tracked properly. You first gain the revenue shown in the centre of the machine placed. You then deduct 1 point from that for every single pipe placed and every single reservoir placed.

It is important to note that if you decide to rearrange your piping and reservoirs during any turns, you have to remove anything you want to change. This means that you can not simply rotate or move anything. You need to remove them completely from your factory for free, then pay 1 point for every pipe and reservoir that you place again. This can get really complicated in later rounds when you decide to change your layout with lots of pieces. This is why keeping track of what you do during the placement really important for the bookkeeping phase.

This is also the phase that you will add or subtract your first/last tokens and any penalties incurred.

That is all there is to Factory Funner. It SEEMS really complicated, but it is actually really simple. The game is played over 8 rounds, until all the machine tiles have been claimed or discarded. Then whoever has the most points wins. The score tracker only goes up to 69 (nice) but it is not uncommon to end this game with less than 20 points.

 Solo Mode

The solo mode is pretty much the same as the main game. You take 8 random machine tiles to form a face down deck with them. Take the board with ‘A’ on it (the easiest one). Each turn you will take the top tile of the deck and do your best to place the tile into your factory. When you manage to score over 50 points in a game then you will be tasked to move onto the next board in difficulty and go again to 50 points. If ever you score 45 or less points, you are to move to down the board difficulty. It doesn’t state this, but presumably if you score between 45 and 50 then you stay on the same board. None of this matters however as if you ever score more than 50 points in this game, then you should just apply for NASA.

Non Simultaneous Play Variant

In this version of the game, instead of each player taking 8 tiles at the start of the game, the entire machine tile stack gets shuffled together and placed face down in play. Then 3 of them gets placed face up in the middle of the table. The player who’s turn it is chooses one of these tiles, and places it into their factory. The tiles on display get refreshed and the next player takes their time.

There is no penalty for taking a tile that can’t be placed. When every player has had 8 turns the game is over.

Credit Roll

And that’s it! That is all you need to know to be able to enjoy a game or two of Factory Funner.


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