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Factory Floor

Plan your factory floor by building rooms and hiring workers. However, you don’t just have to keep an eye on where each room will fit, but also which rooms you are putting next to each other. If the workers aren’t close enough to the production rooms, they can’t do their jobs!

Currently on Kickstarter from Space Duck Games, Factory Floor is a spatial puzzle game with tile placement and worker placement elements.

Gameplay

Each player takes a board which shows a grid of spaces. The game is divided into five days, with each day divided into a morning phase, an evening phase, and a scoring phase. At the start of each morning and evening phase, the person with the first player token draws four tiles from the tile bag, plus two extra for each player. These tiles are placed in the center of the table. Tiles come in various shapes and sizes. Each tile represents a room and there are three different types of rooms in the bag: staff room, production, and quality control.

Then, starting with the first player, everyone takes one of four actions. Everyone then takes another round of actions starting with the person who was last. At the end of both the morning and evening phase, the first player token moves to a new player.

The four actions you can choose from are: draft a tile from the display and add it to your factory, hire workers, spend a worker, or pass your turn.

When drafting a tile, you select one of the tiles on the table and add it to your factory floor. You may rotate it around but never flip it, it must be placed so that it covers empty spaces, and it cannot extend beyond your board. If you place a staff room, you immediately put two workers on it. Rather than choosing a tile that was drawn from the bag, you may place a storage room tile instead, if there are any left in the supply. They are the only tiles that are only two spaces in size — if you manage to fill all ten spaces that surround one by the end of the game it is worth one point.

Hiring workers allows you to place up to two workers on a staff room (no staff room can ever have more than two workers on it). When you spend a worker, you discard one from a staff room or a production room and may either swap one of your rooms with a tile from the table or move a tile elsewhere on your board. If you move a production room tile that has workers on it, you must return the workers to a staff room or discard them.

During the scoring phase, you move any workers in each staff room onto empty worker spaces in adjacent production rooms (each production room has space for two to three workers). You then score points for your production rooms, earning the point value shown on each tile plus one extra point for each worker in the room.

After the final scoring round of the game, there is a bonus scoring round where each production room scores again for each quality control room that it is adjacent to. Bonus points are also awarded to the player with the largest number of staff rooms adjacent to each other, the player with the largest number of quality control rooms adjacent to each other, the player with the most workers on the board, and the player with the most production room tiles on the board. You also lose one point for each space on your board that is not covered.

Factory Floor components

Review

Factory Floor is an engaging spatial puzzle game that is both clever and fun. It plays quickly and is uncomplicated to teach, but quite difficult to master as you slowly learn the best ways to put your factory rooms together effectively. The random draw each round ensures that you have to adapt your strategy based on the options available to you.

The game does want you to plan ahead. As you lay down each room you will need to consider carefully what other rooms it will be adjacent to, keeping in mind the end game scoring bonuses for large concentrations of matching room tiles, and what shapes of empty space that will leave you nearby to fill on future turns. However, we really liked that there is a mechanism in place for fixing your past misplays with the ‘spend a worker’ action, and that the storage tiles allow you a little more flexibility of choice.

There’s also an advanced variant in which players take column tiles and agree how many to use and where to place them on their boards at the start. Players then have to build around these during the game. This adds a nice variability to the game’s core puzzle and allows you to increase the difficulty.

The way the rooms interact with each other is clever. You need staff rooms to fill the production rooms and quality control rooms to trigger the production rooms again at the end of the game. You really want to strike a good balance between all three room types, making your choices more significant than simply ‘what can I fit where’.

It is difficult to pull tiles completely randomly from the bag, simply due to the fact that you can’t totally avoid having some feeling of the tiles while drawing them. Also, you do have to draw quite a number of tiles, particularly at the higher player counts, which adds just a little bit of extra downtime while the other players wait.

We found Factory Floor to be thoroughly enjoyable. We liked trying to figure out the best placements for each room tile based on their shapes as well as their abilities. It isn’t an easy puzzle, but it is one you enjoy learning and improving at. Check it out on Kickstarter!

Pros: Clever puzzle, variant for increasing difficulty, mechanism for correcting your mistakes

Cons: Difficult to draw tiles totally at random, there is a lot of tile drawing

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.