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Brass’ New Kickstarter Brings A Fresh Polish For Tabletop Industrialists

Brass’ New Kickstarter Brings A Fresh Polish For Tabletop Industrialists

One of the most enduring economic games in the boardgaming world is Brass. First published in 2007, it has consistently found itself near the top of boardgaming rankings for the past decade. And with good reason. The game is an economic slugfest where you push your income and your victory through fierce competition and opportunism over various industries. And now, it’s getting a slick new version which is currently up on Kickstarter.

Brass is getting a bit of a name change with the new publication. It will now be Brass: Lancashire. Partly this is to reference the part of England you’ll be competing in, but also its to distinguish it from a brand new title – Brass: Birmingham. Using a very similar engine, Birmingham brings a ton of new changes to the game.

lancashireBut let’s talk about Lancashire first. For the most part, the game mechanics are a faithful recreation of the original. More impressive are the visuals which are getting a stunning new update. The cover is getting a far more realistic and gritty depiction that really drives the sense of harsh capitalism. It is far more evocative of the gritty competition that the players will experience than the somewhat more enthusiastic and hopeful cover of the original. But, in an obvious callback, the new cover still features the well-dressed man holding his contraption.

But it isn’t just the outside of the box, the inside is getting a revamp as well. The board uses darker tones and conveys more of a countryside theme.  Whereas the old board was much cleaner with minimal artwork. Plus, the cards have all new art. As always, depending on the success of the campaign, there are a number of stretch goals that will provide component upgrades.

CardsAlthough it’s mostly a faithful recreation, a few tweaks have been made to the rules. Mostly they seem quite positive. For instance, the “virtual link” is gone. That thing was so infrequently used and so confusing to new players that its removal was highly justified. Also adjusted are the rules for two and three players to bring it more in line with the awesome four-player experience.

One of Brass’s strongest points is the way that quasi-alliances arise organically as port players and cotton players work together – not by agreement, but simply by self-interest. They need each other to really succeed and you can make a whole lot more points by focusing on one or the other than trying to do both for yourself. Finding a way to preserve that tenuous and economically motivated cooperation at lower player counts will be a great achievement.

birminghamIf you are looking for something new, though, that’s where Brass: Birmingham comes into the picture. It’s quite different from the original. So different, in fact, that while it draws obvious inspiration from its predecessor, it changes fundamental mechanisms to create something wholly new.

In Birmingham, you sell to various markets around the board – each wanting different types of goods. And that’s important because Birmingham involves more than cotton. There is also manufacturing and pottery. And, of course, beer.  In fact, the breweries can be quite critical to getting your goods sold at all. Think of it as a way to lubricate sales.

Birmingham takes the basics of Brass and really tweaks the incentives. Previous strategies become less powerful while new ones can be discovered. For long-time fans of the original, this will surely be an intriguing way to explore a new system even while it operates on a familiar core set of principles.

As of this writing, the Kickstarter has already blown past it’s funding goal. So head on over and check it out.

Are you looking forward to the new Brass? Tell us about it in the comments.

All Image Credits: Roxley Games

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