Mid-Weight Network and Route Building Real-Time Short and Sweet Tile Placement

Factory Funner – Board Game Review

Do you have what it takes to solve this spatial and route-building efficiency puzzle?
Factory Funner Box Art

Game at a Glance

Factory Funner Box Contents with wooden insert

This is a review of the 2021 reimplementation by Boardgametables.com

A review copy of this game was provided by the publisher; however, my opinions are my own

Skip to Review, Skip to Final Thoughts


In Factory Funner you are a factory manager who must install machines onto your factory floor. All machines have an input and output and in this case that comes in the form of a strange, colorful goop. For a machine to run it needs a supply of one or more goop colors in a certain quantity (or pressure?), and in return, it will produce additional goop in a color that may be used to loop into the input of a different machine.

The game has eight rounds with three phases: Selection, Connection, and Bookkeeping. Players will first select machines in real-time, place them on their personal Factory Floor Board by adding Connector pipes, Supply Reservoirs, and Output Reservoirs. All machines must be properly connected to inputs and outputs before moving on to the Bookkeeping phase. Once that is complete players figure out their income for the round (Component cost minus tile revenue) and adjust their position on the money track. After the eighth round is complete, players calculate machine input bonuses and then adjust the Money Track a final time. The player with the most money wins the game.

The rulebook also outlines rules for a No Speed Variant which changes the real-time tile selection element into a less-hectic tile draft.

Factory funner machines and connections on the player board


Factory Funner is a unique tile-placement game that combines a spatial and route-building efficiency puzzle with frantic real-time tile selection. It can accommodate up to six players at a time, and although I have not played it solo I get the feeling that this is a game that feels very similar at all player counts, thanks in part to the simultaneous play and lightning-fast tile draft.

As far as accessibility goes, I found the game to be fairly easy to learn. I had no experience with the previous iteration of Factory Funner nor Factory Fun so I experienced the rulebook as a blank slate and found it to be concise. A few visual examples helped me understand the game and answered some of the questions that popped up during play. The rules are straightforward and I think this could be taught to just about anybody.

Connection pipes in Factory Funner

Just because the game is easy to learn does not mean that it is easy to play it well. The puzzle can be rather intense for many and it may feel punishing for first-time players. This leads me to my biggest issue with the game: empty turns. Sometimes it makes sense to skip a machine placement during round and it’s very possible to do well in the game missing one or two machine; however, a player can get such a bad start that they may not get to participate in several rounds back-to-back. That was my experience on my first game when I accidentally placed too many Supply Reservoirs close together and severely limited my options. I realized my mistake pretty early but was unable to find the right piece to help me out of my jam. This did not keep me from wanting to play again, but I can see this causing enough frustration with new players to be a turn-off.

My first factory was a terrible, inflexible mess. Lesson learned: don’t cluster the Supply Reservoirs…

The real-time element comes during the Selection Phase in which players simultaneously flip a tile and then choose one for their board. The tile choice frenzy is tempered by the need to pick a machine that can work well in your factory, having the right input and output colors and layout to network together with what has been built. Once a tile is touched, it is claimed and must be placed in the system. If a player regrets their choice and decides not to place it there is a $2 penalty. This causes some hesitation in the choice – it’s important to be fairly certain you can make a machine work before committing to it. There is also a slight penalty for making the first pick, and a small incentive for choosing last. Finally, the person stuck with the remaining tile is exempt from penalty if they decide not to add it to their factory.

Real-time tile selection in Factory Funner

The higher the player count, the more tile choices a player has (assuming they can think quickly enough). I have found that when fewer people are playing I actually prefer the No Speed Required Variant. It removes the chaos of selection and allows each player a choice between three tiles every round. I think this is especially important in a two-player game where the tile choices are extremely limited.

Don’t let the real-time tile selection fool you – Factory Funner is not a social game and has a “multiplayer solitaire” feel to it. Even the interactive Selection Phase feels like a solo experience – each player is simply looking for a tile that might work with their own design, not worried about messing up their opponents’ plans. I did not feel like the game had any meanness or “take that” built-in simply because it is too chaotic to facilitate scheming. Yes, I have been close to choosing a tile right before an opponent snatches it, but the selection phase is too fast to truly know whether the tile would have been a good fit. It doesn’t feel personal and it’s easy and essential to move on quickly to other options.

Several machine tiles in Factory Funner

Interestingly enough, this game might inspire social interaction in other ways (depending on the group). During one game I noticed several people stopping to ask a competitor for help. There were plenty of “I don’t think I can fit this piece in – can you take a look?” conversations happening. This might seem bizarre for a competitive game but nobody turned down the opportunity to attempt to solve their opponent’s puzzle when asked. Other in-game conversations revolved around players excitedly showing the group how they resolved a tricky tile placement, laughing at their complex noodle-pot-pie network of pipes, and lamenting about their terrible tile choice.

I can confidently say that there’s not another game on my shelf with an aesthetic quite like Factory Funner. The look is cohesive throughout the game so the busy box cover gives a good indication of what to expect inside. The factory boards are minimalistic with the exception of the occasional pillar obstacle. This is good because the tiles that will fill it up are full of personality. The machine illustrations have a hand-drawn quality that reminds me of something a mad scientist sketched out on a napkin during a moment of bizarre inspiration. Each tile has a unique machine with some sort of strange theme. Tiles such as the Smileificator are bizarre (and sometimes unsettling), but I still find them charming in their own strange way. The art style might not be to everyone’s liking but I genuinely enjoy it.

Smileificator tile in Factory Funner
The Smileificator will haunt your dreams…

This is an abstract game but I found the theme to integrate with the mechanics cleverly. The idea of machines having inputs and outputs and the use of connecting pipes work incredibly well with the factory theme. It helped me to visualize some of the rules better. For example, a machine’s output cannot be placed back into its own input to create a perpetual motion machine. It was also fun to remind players to cap their outputs with Reservoirs by reminding them that they had colorful goop leaking all over their floor.

The replayability is fairly good with this game. There are 48 tiles in the box and in each game you will be placing eight at the most, so the chances of building the same factory twice are slim. Each of the six player-boards included is double-sided. All six boards have an identical “easy” side with a single pillar in the middle. But the backs of the boards have unique layouts with increasing difficulty. This would be a great way for a person to challenge themselves. In fact, the alternative boards are critical to the solo mode. Mixing up the boards would be a good way to strike a balance between new and experienced players as well.

Factory Funner game with a more difficult factory floor board
Different Factory layouts provide new challenges

Despite the busy nature of the illustrations, the graphic design is spot-on and functional. Once a player understands the anatomy of a tile, they are all easy to read. The income value is boldly placed in the middle of each machine, and the input and output values are clearly indicated with dots and numbers, respectively.

The component quality is solid. The tiles are nice and punched out well for me. I’m especially fond of the connector pipes simply due to the variety of shapes they come in and how they look. Everything looks good and functions well in this game. This implementation of Factory Funner comes in a smaller box than its predecessor. An optional wooden insert is available for purchase at a fairly reasonable price. The game is a breeze to set up and put away with this insert. The small space is used incredibly efficiently without much room for shifting. While I appreciate the efficiency, I do worry that without the insert this game would be difficult to get into the box.

Factory Funner Wooden Insert
The wooden insert is worth the cost for ease of setup and cleanup

Final Thoughts


Rating: 4 out of 6.

I have been gravitating towards more interactive games lately, and Factory Funner is more of a multiplayer solitaire experience. That being said, I have been enjoying my time with this game and my husband and I both find ourselves playing it back-to-back. I even enjoyed myself during the frustrating first game experience where I had to sit out for about 50% of the turns due to my poor initial planning. We had a lot of moments of cooperation during that game, and one player started squealing with glee when they managed to place a very tricky piece onto their floor. At that moment we were all laughing and I knew that the game had something that was worth exploring further. I also realized quickly what my mistake was, vowed to never repeat it, and felt the need to play it again right away to redeem myself. I think this game works for me due to the challenging individual puzzle it provides and the relatively short game length.

I am happy that the rules included the option to eliminate the real-time element. I struggle with real-time games. The pressure of having to make an informed decision quickly can be overwhelming and overshadow the fun aspect in some games for me. I did not experience that much with Factory Funner because I think all players were equally flustered, but I did enjoy the option of slowing our choices down. The drafting choice presented in the No Speed Variant was still difficult, especially since I was not allowed to touch the tiles and rotate them to see how they fit, but it was a fun challenge. Going forward I might be willing to play the original, real-time rules with a large group to speed things up, but with a smaller group (three people or less) I would much prefer to use the No Speed Variant.

I would recommend Factory Funner to gamers who enjoy puzzles. I think this would be a lot of fun for solo gamers, as well as people looking for a brain-crunching activity to share with a group of up to six people. I think the puzzle might be a little too intense for some younger gamers, but I would be comfortable introducing this to my nearly 10-year-old son. Factory Funner is unique, quirky, and has a good mix of simplicity in rules combined with a brain-burning puzzle and I think that will be appealing to a lot of people.

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