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Dream Factory
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Dream Factory

multilingual edition of Traumfabrik

List Price: $59.95
Your Price: $47.99
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(Worth 4,799 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2001

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 60 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Filosofia Editions

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Product Description

Do you like movies? Have you always dreamed of becoming a producer for a Hollywood mega-studio? Good news! In Dream Factory you can hire the biggest stars to play in your movies!

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2001

Product Information


  • 1 game board
  • 1 rulebook
  • 5 player studio screens
  • 50 million-dollar bills
  • 22 films (of which 15 are identified with 5 studios)
  • 93 tiles:
    • 19 actors
    • 7 stars
    • 4 legendary directors
    • 15 directors
    • 9 agencies
    • 13 special effects
    • 13 musicians
    • 13 cameramen
  • 30 rolls of film
  • 11 trophies
  • 1 camera token

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 8 reviews

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by Ken M
Another fine effort by Knizia
January 13, 2003

Traumfabrik is a great bidding game that looks simple but has much depth in strategy. I waited until Id played the game a few times (7) before writing this just to make sure I understood Stuart Daggerss concerns (as stated in Counter magazine 3/01). Ill dispense with describing the game mechanics & dive straight into Mr. Daggers concerns.

1) Picking first at the party sticks with one player most of the game.

This is only partially true. And its also part of the strategy. Do you blow your wad of contracts gaining stars to secure first pick of unknown Party tiles? Or, do you spend your contracts trying to complete films? In all but one of my games, the Party pick switched throughout the game. I can also state that I have won the game by choosing last most of the time and also by choosing first most of the time. In my opinion, the Party works great.

2) Need for more extra films. I disagree here. I think the limited number of extra films is intentional. Most of the scoring is biased towards completing films quickly (the one exception is worst film..which you should wait as long as possible to complete). The reward for completing a film early in the game is getting a new film. If you snooze, you lose!

Once again Reiner Knizia has created a fun and addictive game!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Showmanager is good, but this game is great.
November 19, 2000

For one who does not really appreciate a lot of Auction Type games, I loved Traumfabrik. It was one of the most enjoyable games that I have participated in, in a long time. This game is complete in almost every way except one: it was too short--meaning that you got into the game and you kept wishing that it would keep on going. Knizia even manages to give himself a cameo role as the worst actor in the game. If you liked Showmanager you'll love Traumfabrik.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Hasbro should bring this one over
November 14, 2000

From Reiner Knizia, this may be the most surprising of the current Essen crop. Surprising because there just doesn't seem to be much discussion about it, and because there are apparently no plans to bring out an English version. This is a shame given how fun and involving a game experience it is. The theme of the game is film-making; You're the head of a studio, and you're trying to bid for the best stars, directors, effects, and music in order to get your films made. You do so by bidding against the other studio heads in a round robin fashion, moving from group to group of random tiles, each respresenting different known actors and directors, and better and worse music and effects. The mechanisms that meet to make it all nail biting auction fun? Limited resources, exposed tiles for bidding, two sets of hidden tiles that are chosen in order of how many stars your studio has signed on, and the fact that all successful bids are distributed evenly to the other players. Very fun, with a slight luck element regarding the hidden tiles and the distribution of movies you're trying to get made (different movies have different requirements); nevertheless, the combination works extremely well. And who couldn't love a game where you can cast the author himself (who carries a negative value) in Casablanca to try and get the 'worst movie of the game' bonus?

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Lights! Camera! Fun! -- in the Golden Age of Film Studios
June 01, 2003

This Knizia design is another one of his auction/bidding games, set in Hollywood where players build film productions from an all-star cast of directors, actors, and scripts, with music and special effects thrown in. As others have noted in their reviews, the resulting combinations are often hilarious. The theme works rather well here.

The rules are very easy to grasp, and the game plays in under an hour.

The auction phase makes this game different from many of Knizia's more popular auction/bidding titles (e.g. Taj Mahal, Medici, Modern Art, Money, Ra, Amun-Re), because the winner distributes his/her bid (contracts are used instead of cash or points) evenly among the losers. With a finite amount of contracts in the game from the very beginning, this ensures that those who lose a few auctions will eventually hold enough contracts to win one. I really like this method, as it aids strategic planning considerably.

The components are excellent, and capture the theme well. While the film cards are in German (naturally), the English titles are listed in the rules translations. I made up some simple English 'cover' titles in PowerPoint, and mounted them on heavy card stock for those who prefer them.

I highly recommend this game for gamers who like excellent auction games and/or the Hollywood theme.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A Knizia game where the theme works!
January 23, 2001

Ok, ok, there are other Knizia games where the theme isn't just pasted on. But this one is really a fine meld of game system and theme. You really do get the feel of being president of a major studio producing films. I especially enjoy being a Roger Corman type and pumping out film after film. What could be cooler than The King and I starring Rita Moreno and Reiner Knizia?

Despite the theme it shares with ShowManager, this game actually has more in common with Ra. The zero sum bidding mechanic and tile collection is very reminiscent of the latter. The production values are superb, interaction is high due to the auction element, and there's a good amount of depth.

So, to put it in gamerese, it's ShowManager's theme with some of Ra's mechanics and its own special flavor of actual Hollywood thrown in.

Highly recommended.

It loses a point because it rates Jimmy Stewart as a mere '1 star' actor. What were they thinking!?!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Mega Stars! Mega Action! It's another Knizia Box-Office Smash!
February 21, 2005

Receiving an evite for an Oscar Party today, I was immediately shocked that such parties exist, and even more so, that I was actually going. Give me a solid night of gaming over watching Joan Rivers mocking wardrobe anytime.

Figuring out how I can introduce a game into the mix once stuff starts slowing down (like between Best Actor-Best Picture...can you say Best Award for Sound Editing goes to....I looked fondy upon my game of Traumfabrik. I don't get into describing mechanics, rules, etc. Others do that far better than I.

This game is fantastic. It has real stars, real pictures, and it a ton of fun to play. I love bidding games, and this is one of the best. Plus the theme is so dang original, and I think really adds a ton to this game. Production value is excellent. Small downside is that everything is written in German, but a lot of fun trying to see if people can translate their films.

Giving out awards at the end of the round is fun break inbetween things and a good opportunity to let newbies see things develop. I have no problems teaching this one, as people pick it up pretty quick.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Dr Jay
Lights, Camera, Action!
November 15, 2003

When one starts playing a Knizia product, you expect quality. Dream Factory or Traumfabrik delivers as a social interaction and just plain fun.

First, it takes a while to sort all the production pieces, including cameras, special effects, stars, agents, and directors. The goal, obviously, is to make movies and as many as possible to pile up star points.

Therefore, bidding is spirited in a game that moves from one large square to another until you reach a party. Everything is bid in contracts called Vertrags. It is fascinating to watch some players (We played a five-player game)bid high to make sure they achieve directors with four or three stars on their chip or production counter. Unfortunately, the high bids mean players have to spread their vertrags (e.g. six vertrags), and other players pick up one of the vertrags to replenish their own dwindling supply of vertrags for bidding. For eight vertrags laid on the board, each player except the bidding player can pick up two vertrags.

That feature means some players can accumulate 15 or more vertrags (started with 10 for five-player game) before actually doing some serious bidding. You are supposed to announce when the movie card is filled, usually with stars, special effects, cameras, and agents as well as guest stars (if appropriate). I announced a movie was finished with no points for Rita Moreno, -1 for Reiner Knizia as well as a director, camera, and special effects. That became known by the group as the porn strategy. I may not have made any points from the point circle counters (0), but the film was made on the 'cheap.' Later, that film received 10 points Oscar award for the best drama. The San Fernando Valley would be proud of being the porn capital of the world.

Certain players figured out early to bid and obtain as large as a star base with their production counters. Soon these players were receiving 12's, 14's, and other large numbers for their films as the best entertainment and adventure films. The oscars were being passed. It is the total number of oscar points at the end that determine the winners.

In disbelief I received a third place finish because of so many films done on the 'cheap.' I particularly like the parties where the player with the largest number of stars chooses one of the five production chips and so on through the entire list of ranked numbers. The game also has a nice finite quality to it, and does take about 45 minutes after the rules are carefully studied.

In one case we realized a misinterpretation of the rules occurred when we totaled our points. You may, for example, stack several production counters on gray star spaces on the film strip. However, you can count the top star for purposes of choosing at the two parties. We misinterpreted adding all the production counters together instead of just taking the top production counter when allocating the best movies and the oscars. We would like to play again, because some of our strategies of bidding high for the most expensive directors may not have been the best. The agency wildcard production chips also created problems, because once an agency is placed on a gray square for a film strip, only agent chips can be placed after that in the particular gray area. One player did say it was a strange game, but he is used to wargames and that different mentality.

In spite of its misinterpretations, the game proved a fine social indulgence. I am ready for my next closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Shades of Showmanager - Auction Style
December 03, 2000

Seems like there have been some comparisons of Traumfabrik with Showmanager. I really enjoy Showmanager and so was looking forward to playing Traumfabrik. The games have a similar theme--namely trying to produce the best shows possible. In Showmanager you do this by hiring actors that are on a sliding pay-scale and have the option to clear those (by paying cash) and getting a new selection. Money is limited and you can only obtain more cash from loans on previous shows. In Traumfabrik, each player ('Studio') is trying to obtain the best actors, directors, musical scores and special effects by bidding a number of contracts--which you pay to your fellow studios. In this way, the contracts (money) are recycled and it works rather well as a balancing mechanism. Although the theme and object are very similar, the gameplay is quite different. Traumfabrik is an auction game--reasonably typical Knizia bidding (verbal) for a given slate of actors, directors, music and/or special effects (each auction has from 2-3 of these things). In addition, there are special bonuses for best movie produced that year, and at the end of the game for things like best director, best action movie, best drama and even things like worst movie (especially good if you can find the Reiner Knizia 'star' actor which is worth minus 1--the worst actor in the game!). Im generally not a fan of auction games, but this one moves along nicely and there are a lot of possibilities of where to put the obtained actors, directors, etc. when staging your movies. There is also some mystery in two of the board spaces where chits are face-down and are not revealed until you reach them mid-way and near the end of the year. I also like the fact that when you produce a movie, you obtain another one to work on (the supply is limited so it can be beneficial to put on a show or two early even if it doesn't score huge so you can get into the public supply stack of new movies). While I did like the game, it's more serious than Showmanager and in my mind was not quite as fun. I missed the tension of being so low on money that you are at the whim of the drafting board to try and cobble together a show (when you are short of contracts in Traumfabrik you sit and wait while the bidding takes place without you). I like the fact that you sometimes get stuck with trash actors (with Traumfabrik, you tend not to get stuck with something completely bad--you can always throw it away or not bid on it in the first place). I missed the lobbying for someone to take an actor (or NOT take an actor you are interested in) and I missed the shouts of 'Clear the Board!' when the actors were very poor. But maybe I was trying to draw too much of a comparison between the games--they really are different after all. The auction brings Traumfabrik up a notch into the gamers crowd but at a loss some of the fun Showmanager has. I like both games and they are quite different enough that both are worthy. I will gladly play either game. When I'm in a more serious mood, Traumfabrik will fit nicely. The rest of the time, Showmanager is the slightly better game for me. For Traumfabrik I give 3.5 stars (but since half stars are not allowed, I bumped it down since Showmanager gathered 4 stars).

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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