This colorful and cute box is inviting for young and old gamers alike. That style feels very intentional since Bot Factory is probably the most accessible game that Vital Lacerda has on the market. Let’s fire up the machines and make some robots!
On the Factory Floor
Bot Factory has its roots in another Lacerda game called Kanban EV. Players take on the role of factory workers moving around the factory floor. Ultimately, building robots to bring efficiency upgrades to the factory.
The factory is made up of 4 distinct zones that serve different purposes. Along with each of the players factory workers is a consultant named Sandra. Throughout the game, she will roam the factory floor in a predictable pattern. While she means well, she’ll definitely impact your efficiency as you work to build these robots.
Building your first robot friend is going to take some planning. Zone 3 is the project board and players can gather project plans for the 4 different robot types. Robots come in 3 pieces, the head, body and legs. You’ll need to use Zone 2, the part production board to gather just the right pieces from the distribution wheel. Assembly happens in Zone 1 where there are plenty of bonuses to earn. Finally, Zone 4 is where players can claim contracts and manipulate the values of the different robots.
Each of the 4 boards feel distinct and ignoring any one of them could be a big mistake. Bot Factory uses a series of bonuses and Executive actions to help you get the most from your turn.
Players start the game with 2 robot parts and a single project blue print. Each turn, you’ll move your single worker to one of the available spaces along the bottom of the board. The factory zones offer different actions and your turn order is dictated from left to right through the factory floor.
On the assembly board, robots are being built on the 4 conveyor belts. Just because you added a part doesn’t mean that you own that robot. Players need to be aware of which of their opponents have project plans for each robot. Fulfilling 2 of the 3 parts for a robot may lead to another player swooping in and finishing the build and gaining the robot.
As you move around the floor in Bot Factory, you’ll work to maximize your time in each of the 4 zones. In a 2-player game, turns are snappy and the game is around 30 to 40 minutes. In a 4-player game, the additional workers can feel constricting and add tension that isn’t there in a 2-player game.
Explain Your Work
Sandra is the consultant meeple that will move from zone to zone, taking the first available spot as she moves left to right. Her movement is predictable but can be costly if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The only currency in Bot Factory are speech bubbles that can be earned through bonuses or action spaces. If you’re in the same zone as Sandra, you’ll need to explain the job your doing by paying a speech bubble that you’ve earned. Speech bubbles feel plentiful if you plan properly.
Speech bubbles are a requirement for all actions in zone 4. Claiming contracts and adjusting the robot market will lead to big end game points for the players that are willing to spend this verbal currency.
Once all the robots of one type are claimed or a single player builds 5 robots, the game comes to an end.
A Gateway Lacerda
Bot Factory is a game that initially feels restrictive with each player only owning a single worker. After a couple plays, earning bonuses and using Executive Actions really open up the game. This truly feels like a great entry-point for anyone who wants to play the Euro games that Vital Lacerda is known for.
After playing the game at 2, 3 and 4 players, I find myself leaning more into the 4 player game. The competition can be fierce and the tension is felt immediately once the first couple robots are built. While I enjoyed Bot Factory at 2-players, it feels like the most casual way to play the game.
In a 2-player game, Sandra blocks the zone that she moves to if she gets there before the player. I love how this plays out but it was never more than a tiny inconvenience. At this player count the game is fast and snappy with player turns, but it’s not my favorite.
If Bot Factory suffers from anything, it would be the repetition that you feel after a couple games. Each zone has up to 3 different things for the player to do. You’ll start to develop patterns to get the robot you need and this can start to feel routine. With 4-players, this is shaken up a bit because of the added competition but it doesn’t have the depth some gamers are used to in a Lacerda game.
Bot Factory is colorful, quick to pick up and really easy to teach. Everything from the components to the game insert are top-notch and what we’ve come to expect from Eagle-Gryphon Games. This is a game that I’m happy to share with my friends and family that may not be ready for a heavier Euro game. Who knows, maybe Bot Factory is the entry level for someone to fall in love with the heavier games in our collection.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Gateway Euro game that’s accessible for new gamers
- Excellent components and colorful design
- Speech bubbles are plentiful for those who plan well
- 2-player games are fast and turns are snappy
- Gameplay can feel repetitive after a couple games
- 2-player games lack the tension of higher player counts