Chocolate Factory from Ally Cat Games – Review

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Steve Mayne
Steve Mayne
Writer, Oompa-Loompa, Story-Teller, Gamer, Hawaiian Shirt Aficionado, He/Him.

Theme&What is it?

Time to Make the Candy

Welcome to the world of Chocolatiers, the happy few folks who make the world’s most delectable delicacies. You are the proud owner of your very own factory that produces these fine wonders. You’ve set yourself a nice little business, opened a couple of corner stores to get your name out, and set some contacts with the local major chain stores for open orders. Everything is just fine and dandy. Now, let’s make some dreams come true.

In Chocolate Factory you’ll be in charge of your own business. It’ll be up to you to decide what machines to place in your factory, what chocolates to produce, and what department stores to work with. Over the course of seven rounds you’ll be filing orders, running your plant, and keeping things moving to get your name out and improve you revenue. Can you be the best factory in town?

Interesting First Encounter

I wasn’t sure what to think of this game. It had some drafting, some programing, and some resource management. There’s a slight amount of luck in when cards and contracts come out, but overall the game looked to be pretty straight forward. The pieces were nice, and the different tokens used to represent the types of candy you can make were quite cute. I was looking forward to getting it to the table to try it out.

InitialImpressions

GameplayMechanics

Lucy was Here

Chocolate Factory plays out over seven rounds. Each round starts with players receiving an amount of coal to run their factory and setting out a number of piles for drafting. You’ll draw five machines and set them into a number of piles equal to the number of players. This means that some piles will be larger than others. You’ll also draw one worker card from each of the five Department Stores in the game and divide them into piles equal to the number of players.

Players then take turns drafting the stacks of cards. The first player picks a stack, then each player in order chooses one, the last player in the line choose two stacks and then each player chooses one back to the start player who takes the last stack of cards. If you took a stack of machines then you choose one to go into your factor and place it in one of the space on your player board. If you choose a workers stack you choose one of the workers and discard the rest. When choosing workers you’ll not only get a special power but it will also decide which of the department stores you can sell candy to.

Each player then simultaneously runs three shifts through their factory. During a shift you’ll place one coco bean on the first space of the factory. You can operate an machine at a location for an amount of coal and this will alter the coco on the space associated with the machine. You start the next shift by adding coco to the front of the line and advancing it one space. You then repeat using the machines and so on.

After the third shift any chocolate that has left the plant can be sold to the various department stores, corner stores, converted to coal for use in the furnaces, and up to 2 pieces of chocolate can be save for future rounds. When you advance to the next round.

Once seven rounds have been completed, you’ll tally your points, add in a few bonus points, and the player with the most points wins.

Made with Care

The cards are excellent quality, though the corner store cards are a bit small and I wish they were a bit larger to facilitate tokens that are placed on them. The worker cards and machine cards are decently sized for their use.

The wooden pieces used to represent the different chocolates you can make are all quite nice. Each of the designs were nice and looked fun. Everything had a nice chunky feel.

The boards were inlaid to allow cardboard conveyor pieces to slide along as part of your factory operation. Unfortunately, my boards have warped slightly, not so much that it impedes play, or renders them unusable, but enough that it is noticeable.

The rules are well written and easy to follow. I liked how everything was laid out and taught the game in a reasonable manner.

All in all a good quality production.

GameBuildQuality

ArtisticDirection

Who can take a Rainbow?

The art has an old style advertisement quality about it. It’s the bright colorful quasi-realistic art that appeared in magazine ads in the 50’s and 60’s. I like how it all fit together with the theme and looked. It gave the game a nice retro feel that I appreciated.

An Interesting Puzzle.

The game is a puzzle. You’ll be trying to figure out how to put your factory board together and what business’ to work with. A large part of the game is working your own board with the drafting phase being the only time you really interact with the other players. In that regard the game can feel a bit solitaire. I don’t think it was too much of a problem since some of the bonuses built around what stores you’d dealt with and those can swing the game near the end.

FunwoohooFactor

Agerange

Is it for the Whole Family?

The box says 10+ and I’m not sure. While I think the rules are simple enough for someone that age to grasp, a lot of the decisions might be a bit beyond them. Ultimately, this will depend on how mature the player is and how well they can think ahead. If you feel like they might be able to handle these decisions or think this might be a great way to strengthen these skills then I don’t think the rules will get in the way.

As for game weight, I’d put this at lower middle weight game. More in depth than something like Ticket to Ride but not quite as intense as Power Grid. It doesn’t take long and the decisions all feel meaningful.

Tastes Good but Not Filling

Overall I like this game. I think it runs in at a solid 7 for me. I think it plays well and has interesting decisions. I like the art, how the game handles, and the satisfaction of watching your factory build orders. Especially after the game has been going for a few rounds and you can really see a space go from having a single coco bean to producing several pieces all at once.

I think the biggest drawback to this game is how tight it is. If you make a single mistake in setting up your factory at any point you’ll pay for it almost immediately. After that it becomes difficult to comeback. I think it’s possible, but it’s certainly more difficult.

I think the game is fun and would play again. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it in my collection or trade it to a friend. It could go either way right now. I’d like to get in a couple of more plays before deciding fully.

As always, I encourage you to try before you buy. We’ve got game stores opening up more and more and conventions will be coming back soon (Hooray!!!). I’m hoping we can all get some demos in soon.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.

Myconclusions

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