Brass: Birmingham is a business strategy game that follows Martin Wallace's 2007 masterpiece Brass. Birmingham tells the story of entrepreneurs competing in Birmingham during the Industrial Revolution, between the 1770s and 1870s.
As in its predecessor, you must develop, build, and establish your industries and network, in an effort to tap into low or high market demands.
On each turn, players take turns following the turn order track, receiving two actions to perform one of the following actions (found in the original game):
1) Build - Pay the necessary resources and place an industry tile.
2) Network - Add a rail / channel link, extending your network.
3) Develop - Increase the PV value of an industry.
4) Sell - Sell your cotton, your manufactured goods and your pottery.
5) Loan - Borrow £ 30 and reduce your income.
Brass: Birmingham also presents a new sixth action:
6) Scout - Discard three cards and take a location joker and an industry joker. (This action replaces the Double Action Build in the original Brass).
The game is played in two parts: the canal era (years 1770-1830) and the rail era (years 1830-1870). To win the game, you have to score the most VP. VPs are counted at the end of each half for established (turned over) channels, rails, and industrial tiles.
Birmingham has dynamic scoring canals / rails. Instead of each flipped industry tile giving a static VP to all connected channels and rails, many industries give 0 or even 2 VP. This gives players the opportunity to score much higher value channels in the first era, and creates an interesting strategy with industry placement.
Iron, coal and cotton are three industries that appear in both the original Brass and the Brass: Birmingham.
New system of "sale
The brewery has become a fundamental part of culture in Birmingham. You must now sell your product through dealers located on the edge of the board. Each of these traders looks for a specific type of good for each game. To sell cotton, pottery, or manufactured goods to these traders, you must also "grease the cogs of the industry" by consuming beer. For example, a level 1 cotton mill needs a beer to turn around. As an incentive to sell sooner, the first player to sell to a merchant receives free beer.
Birmingham presents three brand new types of industry:
The Brewery - Produces the precious barrels of beer needed to sell goods.
Manufactured Goods - Works like cotton, but has eight levels. Each level of manufactured goods offers unique rewards, rather than just increasing HP, making it a more versatile (but potentially more difficult) path compared to cotton.
Pottery - These Birmingham behemoths offer huge VPs, but at huge cost and need to be planned.
Coal and Iron Market Size Increase - The price of coal and iron can now reach £ 8 per cube, and this is not uncommon.
Brass: Birmingham is the finely brewed sequel to one of history's most industrialized business games. It offers a very different story arc and experience from its predecessor. Many of the original's proven strategies are not as powerful as they once were, and more exciting new strategies are just waiting for you to find out.