Factory

No player may draw up to his Ability during his Draw Phase while Factory is in
play.  If any player's hand drops below 5 cards, remove Factory from play.
(errata'd text)

First and most importantly, _note the errata on this card_!  It can't be
emphasized enough.  Originally, Factory omitted the reference to, "...during
his Draw Phase...".  This was a mystifier of sorts.  Obviously you couldn't
draw during your Draw/Discard phase.  However, could you draw due to Patience?
Holy Ground/SE?

The question also came up as to whether Factory directly affected Nefertiri.
While many Locations indirectly limit an aspect of a Personas's ability
(Verona keeps Amanda from attacking at all, but doesn't specifically prevent
her from making a second attack), Factory directly targeted Nefertiri's
ability.

The errata answers all of these questions.  You _can_ draw due to Patience and
Holy Ground/SE, because you don't draw due to these cards on your Draw phase.
Nefertiri can draw cards, as long as she doesn't draw during her Draw phase.

Although the card text suggests that you should be able to draw up to one
_less_ than your Ability, this is not the case.  You cannot draw cards at all
during your Draw phase.

As with any card that removes a card, even itself, the removal of Factory
occurs _immediately_ when a player's hand drops below five cards.

So with these thorny game mechanic questions resolved, the next issue is:  how
useful is Factory?

The ability to draw cards to replace the ones you use is a critical part of
Highlander.  The act of playing cards is a major means of drawing more cards.
Compare this to Magic the Gathering or X-Files, where the normal sequence of
play only allows you one card per turn.

Factory takes away this ability to draw cards freely.  Without the ability to
replace cards, you can easily enter a downward spiral where you are eventually
trapped with cards you can't play or are otherwise useless to you.  If you
have five or more cards when this happens, you will have to start Exerting
every turn.

One means to slow this spiral is to play cards _very_ slowly.  Instead of
blocking and then attacking, merely block.  Save the attack for a later turn,
hopefully after your opponent has used up all of his attacks and you can
respond freely.  Don't use those playable Specials until you have to.

This waiting game is not an unfamiliar one:  it's also a valid strategy in the
multi-player variant during an Encounter.  This is a case of "Who'll blink
first?" as you hope your opponent runs out of playable cards and Exerts to end
the Encounter before you do.

The difference between Factory and the multi-player variant is that you can
_stop_ the "no draw during draw phase" limitation.  Simply play your own
Location, or Illusory Terrain, or TSC Troopers, or Get Away From It All.

There are several problems with this Factory-related strategy, however.
Conserving cards so you don't have to Exert is normally a good strategy.
However, you're not getting any _new_ cards.  And without new cards, you have
no way to eventually break the cycle.  Meanwhile, rest assured your opponent
_does_ have cards that let him bypass Factory.

The primary cards to bypass Factory are Reconnaissance and Patience.  Both of
these essentially do the same thing:  let the owner draw cards up to her
Ability when Factory is out.  Patience is better since it can be used at any
time.  Reconnaissance may be played at any time, but you only get to draw up
once:  during your Draw phase.

Of course, if your opponent plays Factory and you have one or more of these
two cards in your hand, you're in good shape.  Again, the trick to dealing
with Factory is to extend the process.  Try to get by for a few turns without
using them.  Then use one.  Draw some cards.  Draw out the situation some
more.  Play another one.  And so on.  Your opponent will be doing the same.

You still have options even without these cards.  Cards that let you "cycle"
stuff into your Ability are essential when dealing with Factory.  These
include:  Quality Blade/ME, Master's Stratagem, Dr. Alan Neyman, Elizabeth
Vaughn, Flashback/ME, Lean & Mean, and Holy Ground/SE (and the ME version to a
lesser degree - remember it only lets you draw a # of cards equal to those you
previously had, _not_ up to your full Ability).  Brenda Wyatt and John MacLeod
are also cyclers, but pretty ineffective ones.

Use these cards as soon as possible.  If you don't immediately have the
resources to deal with removing Factory, at least these will give you a chance
of drawing what you need.

As our reviewers note below, dealing with Factory is a whole new situation if
Nefertiri is using it.  This strategy may not be as obnoxious and/or
predictable as Connor using Mountain Cave.  However, it's very close.

If Nefertiri lays down a Factory, play a different Location or otherwise get
rid of it ASAP.  Use the card cyclers to get what you need.

No review of Factory would be complete without looking at its related Special:
Explosion.  Since it's dependent on Factory's presence, this card is a less
powerful version of Angry Mob/SE.  You can avoid the damage with Careful
Planning.  However, you're better off simply using Careful Planning + Angry
Mob/SE.  You don't have to worry about getting a Factory out and keeping it
out long enough to play Explosion + Careful Planning.

Who should use Factory?  Nefertiri, obviously.  Personas that function better
on a small number of cards might also wish to use it.  This includes Kastagir
(because he Exerts more effectively) and the Kurgan (since he can Power
Blow/Exert better, and Bloodlust gives him plenty of attacks).

Factory is also good in any deck that causes your opponent to discard.  If you
use Master's Advance, for instance, your opponent won't be able to draw to
replace those extra dodges he's using up.  With some careful timing, cards
like Charm/Kastagir, Kiss Your Butts Goodbye (CotW #8), Louise Marcus (CotW
#9), and Cat & Mouse/Attack or Defense (next week's CotW #24) can be
crippling.

Generally, any Persona can use Factory - you merely have to build your deck
accordingly.  Add six Reconnaissance and six Patience.  The problem is that
these are good "toolbox" cards and your opponent will probably either or both
of them as well.

So overall, Steve gives Factory a _7_.  I'd rate it a 5 if Nefertiri didn't
gain such a huge benefit from it.  You rarely get an ideal "lock" when your
opponent has a diminishing hand of 5-7 cards that he can't play.  But when you
do, the game is pretty much yours.  If you have a strong head-hunting deck,
this is perhaps your best unaugmented way to succeed at decapitation.  They
just keep Exerting until they run out of luck.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - A so-so card for anybody but Nef-- now that the ruling has been changed
in her favor.  No other Location supports her as much.  I also like Factory in
a Kurgan deck, to keep them from drawing back defenses before or after a nasty
Bloodlust.  The problem is I have no room for Locations in such a deck.  I
rate it 10 for Nefertiri.

Jeff - Beautiful in any Nef deck -- especially Nef cheese.  Also tends to work
well with Kastagir or Kurgan, if you pop in a few Patience and/or Recons.  A
solid, fun card.

Rick - The Location of choice for Nefertiri so for her this rates a 10 (6 for
any others).  With some Patience and Holy Grounds/SE, you can minimize its
effect.

Hank - The perfect Nefertiri Location, of course.  Anything that slows your
opponent's progress through his deck prevents him from furthering his
strategy.  I've
used it in Nef decks and in a weird Richie deck of mine, and I liked it both
times.

Alan - A great Location when used in combination with Nefertiri, since she can
ignore its effects.  Anyone else using Patience and/or Reconnaissance can do
the same thing.  Great for taking your opponent's head while he's low on
Ability.

Jim - Factory is lethal in the hands of Nefertiri.  Nefertiri is immune to
Factory's effects.  Factory is also a good location for Head Hunting decks.
You can use Reconnaissance and Patience to bypass the restriction Factory
imposes on you.  Make Head Shots when your opponent is low on cards.

Chip - Abstain

Wayne - Factory can be somewhat useful with Nefertiri or any deck heavy in
Patience or Reconnaissance.  I feel that Factory is one of the weakest
Locations.  Most people in our area play with Patience and Holy Ground/SE,
which both negate the effect of Factory.  It's possibly a good Location if you
have nothing better to play, but there seems to normally a better option.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Ben                     6
Jeff                    7
Rick                    8
Hank                    8
Alan                    7
Jim                     8
Chip                  N/A
Wayne                   4

Average:                6.88