Following the last game that was a silly cooperative game we have a tight economic game that is been around long enough it might be considered a classic, Brass. Designed by Martin Wallace and published in 2007 Brass is a economic simulation of the industrial revolution in England. The theme might not interest everyone, it does us, but the game itself is such a great engine that we think most people should give it a try.
The game is split into two distinct ages; the canal and the rail ages. Each player will be developing industries and connections between cities during both of the eras. Unlike other games all of the action on the board is shared by all players. You get points from your own buildings and connections. However, other players can use your connections and resources to help them score points as well!
Players manipulate the board with the cards in their hand which either have a city or an industry on them. You can use the city cards even if those cities are not connected to another structure of yours. The industry cards can only be used in connected cities though. Figuring out how best to use the cards and money in your possession is where most of the choices lie in Brass.
Getting points in the games comes almost entirely from flipping over your industry tiles before the end of each era. (Some buildings can even score in both eras!). In order to flip over a tile you need to use all of the resources it provides. For cotton you need to sell it to a port or the foreign market. For coal and iron those need to be used up to flip over the tiles. Using coal and iron have the most player interactivity. Players can try to create coal and iron plants that their opponents will want to use allowing you to flip the tile without extra actions yourself.
Brass is a super tight economic engine with interesting play order mechanic based on how much money you spend in a turn. Sometimes it will even be in your best interest to take out loans to make it so you can take a more powerful turn. Brass has been reprinted with beautiful graphics and the smallest bit of streamlining as Brass Lancashire and we look forward to teaching people this #21 on our top 100!