17 October 2022
A light engine-builder with the potential to become fiercely competitive
Following on from their 2017 title Little Town, husband and wife design duo Shun and Aya Taguchi have scaled things back further with the diminutive Little Factory. First released under the name of Goods Maker – and more recently in Japan as the oddly titled but far prettier Firm with Brownies – Little Factory is an entry-level engine-builder for one to four players.
Aside from a few victory point tokens, cards are the only components here, representing everything from basic resources up to advanced goods and buildings. Considering this, alongside the bucolic theme and setting, it’s hard not to think of Alexander Pfister’s excellent Oh My Goods!, but with a mechanical simplicity leaning more toward the family-weight end of things.
Each turn players will either produce or trade goods, all of which being attained from a central card display. Producing requires the spending (or occasionally just revealing) of specific items to efficiently generate more advanced goods, whilst trading offers the flexibility of reducing everything to its monetary value.
The ultimate aim is to construct a string of cohesive production buildings, allowing for extra actions as well as the points needed to win. But things rarely work out so smoothly. Thanks to the public central display of goods and buildings, there’s plenty of scope for players looking to sabotage their rivals’ plans – and truthfully, this sly, tactical action is most of the fun. Building up functional engines rarely works as smoothly as you’d expect, with resources or neatly compatible buildings often not coming up at the right time. Consequently, Little Factory rewards a more tactical style of play over set-in-stone strategy, with turns typically asking players to either adapt their own plans or foil those of their opponents.
Aside from a plain aesthetic and a few finicky rules, Little Factory might be worth checking out if you’re looking for a light engine-builder with the potential to become fiercely competitive.
PLAY IT? MAYBE
Designer: Shun Taguchi, Aya Taguchi
Time: 45 minutes
Looking for more?
Find reviews, news, and features in Tabletop Gaming Magazine, which is home to all of the latest and greatest tabletop goodness. Whether you're a board gamer, card gamer, wargamer, RPG player or all of the above, find your copy here.Get your magazine here
A game that hooked a thousand gamers, it's 40 years of Fighting Fantasy! We take a look back at some of the titles and that changed a generation of gaming, and how it became the behemoth it remains.40 Years of Fighting Fantasy
Sign up to be in the know
Be the first to hear about the things we're excited about, whether that's new games and launches, our own magazine, gaming news and interviews or a few surprises, you'll be the first we tell if you sign up to our newsletter.Sign up here
Have you visited our game store? We have everything from mystery boxes, to games and accessories, so you're bound to find your newest favourite. Head over there now to claim it for yourself!Visit the Game Store
Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products