How to Play Brass Birmingham Board Game

Brass: Birmingham, a captivating board game, transports players back to the West Midlands during England’s Industrial Revolution, spanning from 1770 to 1870. This economic strategy game, the sequel to Martin Wallace’s 2007 classic, Brass, offers a rich and immersive gaming experience. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of how to play Brass: Birmingham, covering the rules, strategies, and resources to help you master this complex and rewarding game.

Getting to Know Brass: Birmingham

Before diving into gameplay, it’s essential to understand the game’s background and core mechanics.

The Game Overview

Brass: Birmingham is a competitive board game that combines elements of hand management, network building, and economics. It’s designed for 2 to 4 players and typically takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. The game revolves around entrepreneurs vying for success by building industries like coal mines, ironworks, and breweries, and connecting them to ports and cities to sell their products. Notably, Brass: Birmingham is renowned as one of the best board games globally, making it a must-try for tabletop enthusiasts.

The Game Phases

Brass: Birmingham unfolds over two distinct eras: the Canal Era (1770-1830) and the Rail Era (1830-1870). Players aim to accumulate the most Victory Points (VPs) by the end of the Rail Era to emerge victorious.

Learning Resources

Now that you have a grasp of the game’s fundamentals, let’s explore the resources available to aid your journey to becoming a Brass: Birmingham expert.

1. Watch Tutorial Videos

Several tutorial videos are accessible on YouTube, providing valuable insights into playing Brass: Birmingham. Two highly recommended options are the “Brass: Birmingham – How To Play” video by Heavy Cardboard and the “How to Play Brass: Birmingham in 17 Minutes” video by Watch It Played.

2. Read the Rulebook

For a more comprehensive understanding, refer to the official rulebook for Brass: Birmingham. It’s available online and can be downloaded from the publisher’s website. The rulebook offers detailed instructions, clarifying any queries you may have about the game’s mechanics.

3. Join the Community

Online communities, such as Reddit’s r/boardgames, serve as excellent platforms to engage with experienced players. You can seek advice, ask questions, and share your experiences as you progress in your Brass: Birmingham journey.

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Gameplay Basics

Now, let’s delve into the core rules and actions involved in Brass: Birmingham gameplay.


The primary objective is to accumulate Victory Points (VPs) by the end of the Rail Era. Players take on the roles of entrepreneurs and compete to become the most successful by leveraging their resources, industries, and links.

Board Setup

Begin by placing the game board on either the day or night side. Draw eight cards from the Draw Deck to form your hand, keeping them concealed from other players. Draw one additional card from the Draw Deck and place it face down in your player area as your Discard Pile. Shuffle all players’ Character tiles and place them in random order on the Character Track.

Turn Order

Each round, players take turns following the turn order track, receiving two actions. These actions encompass various activities, including building industries, constructing canal or rail links, developing technology, taking loans, selling goods, or passing.


Players can construct industries like coal mines, ironworks, and breweries, connecting them to ports and cities to sell their goods. Industries require resources for construction and can be upgraded to increase production.

Canal and Rail Links

Building canal and rail links is crucial for connecting industries to ports and cities. These links require monetary investments and can be upgraded to transport larger quantities of goods.


Developing technology can significantly enhance your industries and links. It demands both money and resources but offers substantial benefits, such as cost reductions for building or upgrading industries and links.


Taking loans can provide immediate funds, but it comes at a cost. Players must repay interest on their loans at the end of each era, or they’ll face penalties in the form of lost Victory Points.

Selling Goods

Players can sell various goods, including cotton, iron, or manufactured goods, to ports and cities. The selling price varies based on the demand and supply dynamics of each type of good.


If a player is unable or chooses not to perform any actions during their turn, they can opt to pass. However, they won’t be able to take further actions for the remainder of the round.

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In conclusion, Brass: Birmingham offers a deep and immersive gaming experience set against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution. Mastering this game requires a combination of strategic thinking and resource management. By following the rules and learning from available resources, you can embark on an exciting journey into the world of Brass: Birmingham and strive to become a successful industrial entrepreneur.


1: Is Brass: Birmingham suitable for beginners?

A: Brass: Birmingham can be challenging for newcomers, but with patience and practice, it becomes more accessible. Starting with simpler strategies and gradually advancing to complex ones is advisable.

2: How long does a typical game of Brass: Birmingham last?

A: A game of Brass: Birmingham usually takes 2 to 3 hours to complete, making it a substantial commitment for players. Plan accordingly for a satisfying gaming experience.

3: What are Victory Points, and how do I earn them in the game?

A: Victory Points (VPs) are the primary measure of success in Brass: Birmingham. You can earn them by building industries, constructing links, developing technology, selling goods, and other in-game actions. The player with the most VPs at the end of the Rail Era wins.

4: Are there expansions or additional content available for Brass: Birmingham?

A: Yes, there are expansions and promotional content available for Brass: Birmingham, which can further enrich your gaming experience. Check with your local game store or online retailers for these additional components.

5: Can I play Brass: Birmingham solo?

A: While Brass: Birmingham is primarily designed for 2 to 4 players, there are unofficial solo variants created by the gaming community. These variants can provide a satisfying solo gaming experience for enthusiasts looking to play alone.

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