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Brass: Birmingham The Heart of England’s Industrial Empire

Brass: Birmingham The Heart of England’s Industrial Empire

Birmingham, a city renowned for its ingenuity and industry, pulsated with the growth of civilization throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Here, in the clamor of hammers and the towering industrial fumes, empires were created and fortunes made.  “Brass: Birmingham,” a strategic economic board game, allows you to act as a shrewd businessman at this pivotal time.

An Industry’s Legacy

Martin Wallace’s Brass: Birmingham, published by Roxley Games in 2018, is a sequel to the well-received “Brass: Lancashire.”  The gameplay remains mostly the same as its predecessor, but Birmingham offers a distinctive experience by focusing on the growth of railroads and, eventually, canals as the foundation of industry.  The game lasts 60-120 minutes every session and can be played with two to four players. Due to its medium-heavy weight, players need to be financially and strategically prepared.

The Game’s Structure

Playing Time60-120 minutes
DesignerMartin Wallace
PublisherRoxley Games
Year Published2018

The district-based board in Brass: Birmingham is a dynamic representation of the city. To connect their activities and maximize earnings, players strive to expand and develop enterprises by building a network of canals and eventually railroads. The Canal Era (1770–1830) and the Rail Era (1830–1870) are the two unique eras in which the game takes place. Players must modify their methods as a result of the distinct chances and challenges that each period offers.

The Actor’s Engine

Brass: Birmingham’s unique action selection system is its main mechanism.  Each player selects two moves from a pool of six, each having a distinct strategic weight:

  • Build: Put money into starting new businesses to provide the framework for your economic engine.
  • Network: Build railroads or canals to connect your industries so that items can be transported efficiently.
  • Develop: Enhance the value and manufacturing capability of your current industries.
  • Sell: Turn the commodities you’ve produced—cotton, coal, and iron—into cash to fund future growth.
  • Loan: If you need more cash, take out a loan, but be prepared to pay terrible interest.
  • Scout: (First released in Birmingham) This move gives you more versatility by letting you toss cards and find natural resources or industries.

The Craft of Negotiation

Brass: Birmingham is distinct in that it has a “loan system.”  Players who accept loans effectively “gift” their money to other players, who benefit from a brief increase in revenue. This generates an intriguing dynamic in which players can deliberately employ loans to impede opponents and gain temporary advantages.

Triumph via Ingenuity and Calculation

After eight rounds, participants compete to get the most victory points (VPs), which is how the game ends.  Points can be obtained in many ways, such as completing linked networks, established industries, and sold commodities. After the game, the player with the most virtual points is crowned Birmingham’s industrial titan.

Beyond the Fundamentals: Craft Mastery

Brass: Birmingham’s basic principles are somewhat simple, but winning the game demands a deep grasp of its economic subtleties as well as strategic complexity.  Here are some important things to think about:

  • Reading the Market: It’s important to comprehend how demand for different items varies over time. Building industries that manufacture things in high demand will bring in a substantial increase in revenue.
  • Network Optimization: Moving commodities from producing locations to markets requires the construction of effective canal and rail networks. Efficiently organizing your relationships optimizes revenue.
  • Combo Building: By developing industries in a particular order, you can forge strong combinations that let you take advantage of resource chains and score a lot of points.
  • Using Loans as a Tool: Loans have two sides. Use them strategically to upset rivals or quicken your development, but be aware of the long-term effects of debt.

Brass: An Intriguing Journey to Birmingham

Brass: For fans of strategy board games, Birmingham provides a deep and engaging experience.  A dynamic and difficult environment is produced by the interaction of players, economic planning, and action selection.  Careful planning, measured risk-taking, and an awareness of the underlying economic dynamics are all rewarded in this game.   Brass: Birmingham is a rewarding voyage into the heart of the Industrial Revolution, where shrewdness and forethought pave the route to industrial dominance, whether you’re an experienced player or a newbie to the world of strategic board games.

Above and Beyond the Fundamental Experience

There is more to Brass: Birmingham than just the main game.  For players with more experience, a few expansions offer deeper strategic options and more obstacles.  The gameplay is kept interesting and fresh with the addition of new industries, mechanics, and even alternate historical settings in these expansions.

Brass: Beyond the Core Experience: Birmingham

Creating Your Own Industrial Empire: Strategies and Advice

After going over the fundamentals and tactical ideas of Brass: Birmingham, let’s take a closer look at some useful advice and approaches to help you build your industrial empire:

  • Early Game Focus: Creating a network of canals top priority throughout the Canal Era. This makes it easier to move coal, which is a necessary resource for later phases. To guarantee a consistent source of income, concentrate on starting cotton and coal mines.
  • The Potency of Combined Structure: Create industries in a calculated order to reveal potent combinations. Building a coal mine adjacent to an ironworks, for instance, enables you to create steel, a high-value item that produces a substantial volume of value points.
  • Understanding the Loan System: There are defensive and offensive uses for loans. Take out a loan on yourself to fund an important development, or “gift” a loan to a rival shortly before they require a sizable amount, therefore impeding their capacity to move money around.
  • Getting Used to the Rail Era: The Rail Era brings with it new difficulties. Although they are more expensive to build, railroads have greater transport capacity. Make modernizing your industries a top priority to make effective use of rail. In the later stages, concentrate on creating manufactured goods as well, as these are in high demand.
  • Card Management: Make sensible use of your hand of cards. While some cards give natural resources or industries, allowing for more options, others offer savings on establishing or developing enterprises.
  • Analyzing Your Rivals: Observe what your rivals are creating and refining. This enables you to anticipate their tactics and modify your plans appropriately.

Getting Expert at Making Deals

In Brass: Birmingham, negotiation is a subtle but important part of the story.  Despite the lack of official trading features in the game, users can nonetheless make advantageous transactions.  Utilize negotiation leverage in the following ways:

  • Loan Agreements: Make sure to work up a good payback schedule before “gifting” a loan. In exchange, you may request an industry card or a specific resource.
  • Network Sharing: Offer a temporary connection to another player if your network can help them both. This will ensure that everyone wins.

Examining Birmingham’s Depths

Brass: Birmingham has a plethora of expansions to improve the gameplay experience for players who are itching for more strategic intricacies and challenges.

  • Brass: Lancashire: In a different historical context and economic environment, Brass is the forerunner to Birmingham.
  • Brass: Birmingham – Spires of Steam: With the addition of public structures that grant unique powers and bonuses, this game adds a new level of strategic depth.
  • Brass: Birmingham – Britannia and the Canal Network: Adds new industries unique to the British Isles and enlarges the map with more canals.

These expansions are designed for more seasoned players looking for a more complex strategic challenge. Brass: Birmingham is a fascinating and constantly changing game thanks to the addition of new mechanics and strategic aspects with every expansion.

An Industry Community

Beyond the actual game, there is more to Brass: Birmingham. There is a thriving player community on the internet that provides a multitude of tools, tactics, and conversations.  Online discussion boards and platforms let players:

  • Exchange Strategies: Find out about fresh combos and techniques from more seasoned players.
  • Talk About Gameplay: Have conversations regarding particular guidelines, how they should be interpreted, and intriguing gaming scenarios.

Locate Online Play: You can play Brass: Birmingham against gamers all across the world on a variety of online platforms.


Birmingham is a living example of the timeless attraction of board games with strategic elements. It tells a gripping story of resource management, industrialism, and shrewd rivalry.  For players of all skill levels, Brass: Birmingham delivers a fulfilling and immersive experience with its sophisticated design, captivating gameplay, and strategic depth.  So, get together with other business owners, ignite the industry forge, and set out to become Birmingham’s greatest industrial titan!