I can see Faktoria being a game that lots of different types of players can enjoy. The paths to victory are limited, but navigating those few paths are fun and challenging.
Theme and What is it?
King Ludwig desires a new center of trade that will add more power to his budding kingdom. He has studied the trade routes running through his kingdom and has chosen a spot to pinpoint as a new city. This new city will bring trade from all over the world.
You have been chosen as one of the main architects to help build this city. You must plan effectively as there are limited resources at your disposal. Are you able to work with what is available to build a trade center that will be the new envy of the modern world? You sure hope so since the builder who impresses the king the most will win the title of Mayor. They will hold the office until death and then pass it on to a family member. Can you imagine the impact this will have on you and future generations? Everything will change. So get out there and use your resources smartly and build some magnificent buildings and impress old King Ludwig.
Faktoria is a bidding/resource management game for 2-5 players.
Faktoria uses bidding and set collection mechanics. Each player wants to build their area of town with the most prestigious buildings and collect the most victory points. On each player’s turn, merchants bring resources into the city to sell. The player, who’s turn it is, selects which resources they want to place out for everyone to auction on. Each player places a bid on the resources for sale. The highest bid wins the resources. If a player wins the resources on their turn, they get to collect all the resources. If another player wins the bid, they must choose one resource cube and give it to the player who is currently taking their turn.
Players then use resources to build structures. These structures are used to score victory points or to create more resources.
There are three actions each player can take, and they can only take each action once each turn. They can place resources for sale. They can construct buildings. They can collect resources from their established buildings.
There are five rounds. Each round the king provides some type of gift to each player. At the end of the five rounds, the player with the highest score wins the game.
Faktoria was easy to learn and teach. Just a few minutes in the rulebook and a few more minutes explaining the game and in no time, we had our first game up and running. There was almost no need to go back and double check rules. Everything was straight forward. The rule book is set up to go through the first few rounds of a game. They made it very easy to see how everything works.
Game play moved quickly, even for our first game. I liked the idea of the bidding system in Faktoria. It helps all players stay involved the entire game. There was not too much down time because of this.
My first game was a four-player game and everyone enjoyed it.
Game Build Quality
The build of Faktoria is very well done. The cardboard is stout and should hold up to plenty of plays with no issues. The wooden components are all standard quality and what you would expect to see.
I don’t think anyone will run into any issues with quality for Faktoria. It seemed very run of the mill production quality for its price point.
The artwork is meant to bring the players back in time to the medieval period. The artist did a great job in depicting a budding trade center in an up and coming kingdom. The pieces all work well together artistically. There is a strong classical appeal that helps players really get involved with the theme.
Like I said earlier, my favorite part of Faktoria is the bidding. Resources and money are both very limited, so it makes each bidding opportunity very important. The wrong move can hinder a player for much of the game. It made everyone very cautious with their bids early in the game.
Because of the limited resources it makes set collection very important. Trying to decide which resources to use to build each structure is challenging and fun. Again, the wrong choice will be felt for many rounds. I enjoyed the tough choices.
Age Range & Weight
Faktoria is recommended for 8+. Maybe with the right 8-year-old this game would play OK. I don’t think my 8-year-old would do well with it and he has lots of gaming experience. There are just too many tough decisions that have to be made and if you make bad ones early in the game, you can be sitting around twiddling your thumbs through later rounds.
There is some wonderful strategy and complexity to Faktoria. I feel like seasoned gamers would enjoy it and find it is a game that grabs their attention.
Faktoria is full of choices that must be made with limited resources. Some resources are more limited than others and when one of those become available, players must decide how much they want to give up in order to claim the rare resource. Those decisions can lead to fame and glory (in game) or they can lead to shame and devastation (in game and out of game because of gloating by the winning player).
I can see Faktoria being a game that lots of different types of players can enjoy. The paths to victory are limited, but navigating those few paths are fun and challenging. One misstep can be felt throughout the game (I have experienced that) and timing risks are essential. Yet, the rewards are worth it if you are the player who comes out on top.
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