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Brass: Lancashire — first published as Brass — is an economic strategy game that tells the story of competing cotton entrepreneurs in Lancashire in the industrial revolution. You must develop, build, and establish your networks and industries so that you can capitalize demand for iron, coal and cotton. The game is played over 2 halves: the canal phase and the rail phase. To win the game, earn the most victory points (VPs), which are counted at the end of each half. VPs are gained from your rails, canals, and established (flipped) industry tiles.
At the end of a player's turn, they replace the two cards they played with two new ones from the deck. Turn order is determined by how much money a player used on the previous turn, from lowest spent first to highest spent.
After all the cards have been played the first time (deck size is adjusted for the number of players), the canal phase finishes and a scoring round commences. After scoring, all canals and all of the lowest level industries are removed from the game, new cards are dealt and the rail phase starts. During this phase, players can now occupy more than one location in a city and a double-connection build (however costly) is possible. At the end of the rail phase, another scoring takes place, then a winner is announced.
The cards limit where you can develop your industries, but any card can be used for the develop, sell cotton or build connections actions. This brings the strategic timing/storing of cards. Resources are common so that if one player builds a rail line (which needs coal) they have to use the coal from the closest source, which may be an opponent's coal mine, which in turn gets that coal mine closer to scoring (i.e., being utilized).
Brass: Lancashire, the 2018 edition from Roxley Games, revives the original Warfrog Games edition of Brass with new artwork and components, as well as a few rules changes:
- The virtual link rules between Birkenhead are no longer.
- The 3 player experience has been brought closer to the ideal experience of 4 players by shortening each half of the game by one round and tuning the deck slightly for an consistent experience.
- 2 player rules have been developed and are playable without the need for an alternate board.
- The level 1 cotton mill is now worth 5 VP to make it less terrible.