Welcome to our next review from Arcane Wonders Furnace! In this 2-5 player game, players become industrial capitalists at the turn of the century. Can you get enough resources to produce enough oil to gain money? Let’s find out!
Furnace is a highly engaging and dynamic board game that allows players to become industrial capitalists and build their corporations to make the most money. The game is designed for 2-5 players and is played over four rounds. The game aims to extract resources and process them into final products to gain money and purchase more companies.
The game components are impressive and add to the game’s appeal. The game comes with 36 double-sided company cards featuring fantastic illustrations of the factories players can control. Each player takes a startup company card, a capitalist card, and a colored player token, along with the four capital discs labeled 1-4. Also included in the game are 40 black cubes representing coal, 20 iron bars, and 15 oil drums made of wood. The game has 61 money tokens and 12 company upgrade tokens. The innovative round counter is grooved on one side, allowing the round marker to slide down easily.
At the start of the game, each player receives a random startup company card and a Capitalist card. Each capitalist has their own special rule they can break during the game. They also receive their own player token and capital discs. The players then receive the starting resources at the top of their company cards.
The round counter is placed near the play area, and the marker is set to round one. Now you are ready to play
Furnace is played over four rounds, each consisting of an Auction and Production Phase. In the Auction Phase, players place their Capital discs on the companies. The only rule they have to follow is that they can’t place two of their own discs on the same company, nor can they put a disc of the same number already placed on the card. This alternates until all players have placed their discs on cards.
In a two-player game, there is a slight variation of this rule. After the second player goes, one player rolls the die and plays a “phantom third player” – the number rolled on the die equates to the numbered card from left to right. (Only six cards in the display for a two-player game.) and the player places the highest disc remaining from the phantom player’s stack on that card. If they can’t due to a color or number match, the disc is placed on the card to the right. They keep moving one card to the right until they can place the token, even if that means looping back to the beginning of the row. This might seem like overkill in a two-player game, but we found that it added an additional layer of challenge. If the phantom player won the company, everyone else would get resources which we’ll explain below, but no one would get the company.
In a normal game, once all players have placed all their capital discs, they go left to right along the row and award the company card to the winning player. They also reward the losing bettors with either the appropriate amount of resources based on their disc or the opportunity to produce more. Both of these (production and extraction) are multiplied by the losing player’s number on their capital disc. These benefits are listed at the top of the company card.
Once all cards have been distributed or, in the case of a two-player game, put in the box when a phantom player wins it, then play moves to the production phase.
In the production phase of Furnace, all players work simultaneously to generate money and resources. To do this, each player works simultaneously by laying out their companies in any order they want to create an engine-building scenario, where one company’s resources produce money or other resources that later, in turn, can be used to create more resources or money from other companies. Each player creates the best supply chain possible to generate the most money. The start-up card allows a player to spend an upgrade token, which allows the player to flip another company to its more advanced output and that can produce even more money in the end.
At the end of the round, the players advance the round marker and lay out a new row of companies, and the cycle, again.
Furnace is an immersive and exciting board game that is worth buying. The game’s components are high quality, and the gameplay is engaging. The game’s auction mechanic adds a layer of strategy, and the different capitalist cards add variety to each game. The game’s unique production phase also allows for creative thinking and planning. I highly recommend Furnace to anyone who enjoys strategy board games.
If you enjoyed this review, you will soon be able to pick up your own copy in the store. We are getting copies in over the next few weeks.