$10.00

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User Rating Comment Status
enes kadioglu
Turkey
izmir
bayrakli
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10
Apr 2009*
MY POINT SYSTEM V 1.0

FUN -9
INTERACTION----8
FOR MY GROUP---?
FOR ME---------10
QUALITY -9
COMPONENTS-----9
BOX------------8

RULES -8
EASY-----------7
DETAILS--------8
WEIGHT -10
FOR MY GROUP---?
FOR ME---------10
GAMER INTEREST -8
FOR MY GROUP---8
NEW POT.GROUP--6
FOR ME---------10
PREPARING TIME-------- -9
GAME LENGTH -9
FOR MY GROUP---7
FOR ME---------10
NEW IDEAS -10
REPLAYABLE -10

AVARAGE POINT------------9,1
2008-06-17*
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Dave Heberer
United States
Redmond
Washington
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10
Jan 2008*
A great economy building game. Had a great time.
2008-01-30*
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Scott Nelson
United States
Idaho Falls
Idaho
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10
Dec 2007*
Another must have from Wallace. Sounds exactly the game that should make the Age of Steam fans go crazy for it.

edit: Played it now and can now rate it. It is more forgiving than AoS, but the game lacks something that AoS has, but I have not pinpointed it. I enjoy both, but the shipping of goods in AoS, maybe because it was the first time I used the mechanism, was in a sense "cool". And I see new mechanisms and they don't wow me like they did before. That said, AoS and Brass are both 10's. I think grasping the rules of Brass is harder, but plays a tad lighter than AoS. I would play both willingly, but choosing one over the other would be difficult. I think I like Brass' way of not getting stuck if you end up building to a dead end. Brass doesn't give me the same feeling of a well-played game of AoS, but those are few and far between, anyways. Brass is a welcome game to my collection, and will get played more if I can get the time-table down to the 1.5 hours mark, instead of the 3 hours for the first 2 games.
2007-12-13*
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Maciej Wereda
Poland
Olsztynek
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10
Aug 2009*
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Robert Jones
United Kingdom
Woodbridge
Suffolk
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10
Nov 2008*
EDIT: After a few plays, now upgraded to 10. Not much to criticise here - tiles are fiddly to set up, but only take 60 seconds, virtual link is odd, but I don't build shipyards anyway, so no big deal. 2-player variant is excellent - I'm getting a much better feel for the game, and I really like it.

The rules aren't as bad as many portray - there are a few oddities, and missing/ignoring them for the first play or two isn't going to spoil the game.

And what a game! Ever-present delicious agony of wanting to perform at least 4 actions per turn, and usually in several different orders.

I'd prefer it to be slightly faster, so may well break out a timer next time, if only to encourage players on a bit.
2008-05-06*
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Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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10
Dec 2011
Top 5 game for me. Desert island game. I absolutely love this game despite its rough edges. I played about two dozen online games against some real Brass sharks and honed my skills as well as gained a great appreciation for this design. I'm over 30 plays and still captivated by this one. Sure, I'd love a new Brass map but there's tremendous replayability right here; there are always surprises in a Brass game for me.

The first two players should always develop as their action, but after those openings, the gambits begin -- tactical and strategic gambits in terms of going for immediate market-refilling coal/iron works vs taking the tempo in terms of cotton and/or building rail lines. There's a wonderful asymmetry here in terms of industries, and you'll need to pick a path soon enough. That path will inevitably intertwine you with other players, and you'll have to find ways to benefit from each other. I always tell players that you get 31 actions in the game, never more, maybe less (if you combine two into one). One of the fun challenges is using other players' stuff to your advantage. As I love games that rely on reading player incentives, this is heaven for me. When you're ahead of the game, you feel like the smartest guy in your gaming world; when it's the other way 'round, it's a bitter pill but makes you all the more determined to come back the next time.

As to the game's weak points: the cards can feel like the wind behind you pushing you onward or in your face; the randomness of the foreign market can screw you; the rules are dense, and the Birkenhead exception is exceptionally fiddly. Still, I find it an engrossing play every single time because all those are true for everyone and you're all going to get slowed down in some way. Perhaps there's an odd play when one player benefits more than others, but griping about the cards is just an inexperienced player who hasn't figured out the creativity required to skin the cat a different way. Always have to leave yourself options, or better yet, plan out your turns in advance with the cards you have (admittedly easier done online than on table).

In addition to different paths for scoring, there's a nasty defensive aspect to the game in hemming players in with their rail networks. I've had more than one game where I couldn't take an action on the last turn of the game b/c I let myself get fenced in. A lot of the game's strategy is predicated on the brilliant turn-order mechanism whereby the player who spent the most amount of money (i.e., you know, did stuff goes last). So going last, spending the least, and then going first for two turns in a row is S.O.P. at least a couple times a game. Taking loans (described by one expert player as the pit stop of the Brass race) should be carefully planned as a refueling before getting back in the race. Every turn is so damn meaningful, and therein lies the brilliance of this game and its repeated allure. Can you coordinate your 31 better than the other guys?

Now, for me, it took several plays to get adept at it, but I stuck with it because something drew me on. I can easily see some players getting frustrated, blaming the cards and moving on. Alas for them. In summary, this game has a lot to teach a player if he commits himself to it, and rewards the player who's got an eye on what's going to happen next.
2012-12-21
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Mauricio Arruga
Brazil
SAO PAULO
SP
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10
May 2008*
As usual in MW's games you always need one more action per turn. Amazing is how different strategies the players take along the game, and how different strategy one player take between eras.
2008-05-02*
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Seth Jaffee
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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10
Oct 2008*
Record: 12-14

Matches Railroad Tycoon in scope. It's by Martin Wallace, so the rulebook is poor and there's suddenly an odd rule that doesn't work the way you expect it should.

You really have to play Brass once through to learn the rules, then again before you really know what it is you want to be doing. So it's not until your third game that you can play "for real."
2010-07-25
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Cristiano Oliveira
Brazil
Salvador
Bahia
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10
Jul 2009*
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Jody Webb
United States
Whitesburg
Kentucky
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"I feel in them a sense of duty and commitment, yet I can feel nothing else. It is as if their duty is to an empty void."
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10
May 2011
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Juan Nadie
Spain
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10
Apr 2009*
Owned
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Sean Harris
United States
Texas
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10
Aug 2009*
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Keegan Hayes
United States
Hackettstown
New Jersey
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10
Aug 2010
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Bermudez Jimenez Cesar /cesarmagala
Spain
Málaga
Málaga
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10
Apr 2011
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Krzysztof Matusik
Poland
Andrychów
Małopolska
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10
Feb 2013
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ilde arenas
Spain
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10
Oct 2011
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Brian Spieles
United States
Vandalia
Ohio
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10
Jan 2012
Amazing game. If only the rules were a bit more streamlined (i.e. fewer exceptions) it would be a 10.

EDIT - Screw it. It's a 10.
2012-01-21
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siqi li
China
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10
Dec 2012
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Keeton Laidlaw
United States
Michigan
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10
Jan 2013
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Kyle Perryman
United States
Sanford
Florida
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10
Feb 2014
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Justus Kelloniemi
Finland
Vaasa
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9.5
May 2010
Owned
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Rafael Luna
Spain
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9.5
Nov 2014
Enfundado
2015-01-29
Owned
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Anders Olin
Finland
Vasa
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Justice for the 96!
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9.5
Dec 2014
Great game. One of the best to come out 2007.
2008-06-11*
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Southy
United Kingdom
Nuneaton
Warwickshire
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9.5
Oct 2011
Awesome!
2009-11-29
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Pedro Burgos
Brazil
São Paulo
SP
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9.5
Jan 2009*
If it weren't for some bizarre and untematic (and hard to remember for new players) rules, I would give this game a 10. The best economic game for 3 players, hands down. Lots of interesting choices, different games because of the cards, paths to victory... I'm always wanting to play it more to try a different strategy. Another hit for master Wallace.
2008-11-18*
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| (• ◡•)| (❍ᴥ❍ʋ)
United States
Saint Louis
Missouri
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Any game (except Fireball Island) in my collection is for sale. Please geekmail me with reasonable offers.
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9.5
Oct 2009*
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Bob Snake
Canada
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9.5
Feb 2010
I had the game, gave it away and now want it again!

I love this game. Played 3 times. So many ways to win. It's a gem.
2010-11-21
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Shane Larsen
United States
Pleasant View
UT
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9.5
Mar 2012
Can't get it to the table, so I'm dabbling with online play...

3/24/12 - Wow. Just wow. I'm very impressed. I wrote this mini-review in my GCL. So I decided to just copy-and-paste it here. Enjoy!

--

So what did I enjoy about Brass? Here's my best effort to sum it all up:

1. Tension. This game has tension in spades. The best way to illustrate this is by examining one of my favorite design elements to the game: turn order. In Brass, a player takes two actions on every turn. Turn order changes every round based on the amount of money spent by each player at the end of each turn. The player who spends the least, gets turn-order priority in the next turn. So by spending less this turn, I can potentially go first next turn. This makes for some very interesting and powerful decision making. In most actions, you'll be spending at least a few pounds to complete the action. But there is one action that doesn't cost anything, and that's getting more money (taking a loan). So you can see what kind of great decisions develop: I want to build my cotton mill, and would like to sell to the distant market before Billy. But the cost of the cotton mill will put me after him in turn order next turn, so he could sell before me. Okay then, I'll just build this link for 3pounds then take a loan. Then next turn I'll have cash on hand, get to go first, build my cotton mill, then sell before Billy can even react. Brilliant! Now, which cards do I use?...

Very exciting stuff. Tension abounding.

2. Unique economics. I don't have a "true" economic game in my collection. I don't consider Brass to be one. It's no 18xx title, that's for sure. There's no real speculation and/or market trade. And its market is fairly abstracted with several rule exceptions for me to consider it "true". But what it does well is create an atmosphere where players aggressively compete in a tight space for the best financial positioning. There are a few markets to consider: iron, coal, and cotton sales in distant lands. The distant market for cotton is simply a race mechanic. The first couple players to sell to the distant market make the most money and have the least risk that their sales will be rejected (while demand is high). The other two are only present when players on the board aren't offering iron or coal from their industries. The variety of industries is nice, but they're all very simple--which I like.

Loans are an important part to success in this game. I can't imagine a player ever getting the money he needs to win without taking out at least a couple of loans. But the loans are also very forgiving. In most situations, you can see within one or two turns how you will pay back your debt, and usually surpass the debt you incurred for the loan with optimal play. It's also entirely possible for no players to ever pay anything to the bank since players start with enough money to build up the required industries to generate income each turn.

There are no stocks in Brass.

In short, the economic system here is very interesting, but it's not going to give a lot of satisfaction to advanced economic gamers. That isn't to say it doesn't have its place. It definitely does, but if you're looking for a deep, detailed economic simulation, you won't find it here. If you want a more stream-lined, tactical-based economic system (less focus on buy/sell), then this may be your game.

That said, it's perfect for me and my gaming level. Some day I'll be ready for more. (I'm currently considering Poseidon or 1830 for more.) for now, I'm loving what Brass offers for an economic gaming platform.

3. Engine building without the upkeep. Great engine-building designs often get fiddly. Mr. Wallace has created a low-maintenance engine-building system with the industry tiles in Brass. You build an industry and basically there is a required amount of goods each industry needs to generate/fulfill to pay it off. After that, you simply get money each turn (and some VPs at the end of the period). Simple and elegant. It doesn't even seem like you're building an engine, but you are. Industry tiles that seem crazy-expensive at the first of the game are more affordable at the end of the game. Flipping tiles (meeting its fulfillment requirements) at end-game becomes easier than it was at the first. Before another player mentioned its engine-building element, I hadn't even thought of it that way. That's how elegant it is.

There's something incredibly satisfying about flipping over several industry tiles in one turn, moving your income marker up the track, and seeing more VPs in your color on the board. It's also fun to see how everybody's networks grow to eventually devour a board that initially seems unnecessarily oversized! It's an incredible implementation of several relatively-complex ideas that all come together smoothly. And it is fun to make it all happen together.

4. Coopetition. This is not a typo. When I first read it on another review, I knew exactly what the reviewer was saying. If I hadn't played Brass, I probably wouldn't have known, and would have thought it was a typo. Brass introduces coopetition. Paul Springer talks in his UFBRT video review about how every part works together in a system of inter-connectivity, and without every part, it wouldn't work--including the players! Players who build an industry are dependent on other players to build other industries requiring their produced resources, while that second player is dependent on the first player just to build that industry that he needs. Did I just blow your mind? Good, because that's what this game has done to me so far. It has blown my mind.

--

I can't believe I let Brass sit on my shelf for so long without playing it. Now that I've got two full plays under my belt, and two more close to finishing. I feel ready to take it to the members of my family that will appreciate it--my mathy-gamer sister is going to LOVE it.

After two full plays (and two in progress online), I'm giving it a 9.5, it's immediately going into my Top 10, and I assume it will be in my Hot 10 for some time to come. I'm happy to say that what is probably a respected classic for most of you is my current HOTNESS!
TAGS: economic, euro, hand management, 2-4 players, favorites, Wallace, medium-heavy, route building, empire building
2013-09-13
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wawrzon 77rpm
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9.5
May 2014
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surmik
Poland
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9.5
Nov 2012
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Daniel Vinnichi
Poland
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9.2
Oct 2014
Gra nie może się znudzić, tak jak w szachach cała radość polega na planowaniu różnych strategii, dopasowywaniu ich do działań oponentów i budowaniu, budowaniu, budowaniu
2014-06-29
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Gerry Standerline
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorkshire
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9
Nov 2007*
Love the theme - it helps that I'm from near where the game is set. The mechanics of the game are nice and easy once you grasp some of the key ideas. I think the rules could be improved by stressing these points more, but overall this is great.
2007-11-11*
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Chris Brooks
United States
Sherwood
Oregon
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9
Apr 2009*
Almost perfect. Love this game.
2009-04-02
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R. H.
United States
Lake Oswego
Oregon
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9
Sep 2011
Owned
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Steve Zamborsky
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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"Ah, Denny, I've hardly seen you this episode."
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9
May 2009*
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Bo Link
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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9
Jul 2009*
I enjoyed my first play. I would like to play it a few more times to see if the shipyards are required to win or not.

UPDATE: Played this again, and I'm starting to appreciate the game more. There is always something to do no matter what cards you are dealt, and there are many ways to generate points depending on the cards you have. I no longer feel that the shipyard strategy is the only viable option.
2008-02-25*
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David Tracy
United States
San Francisco
CA
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9
Feb 2008*
Martin Wallace has some dedicated fans. For me, my appreciation started off slow. I didn't enjoy Age of Steam, or Tempus, or La Strada. Then, I played Liberte and thought it was great. Brass is also a great game. It doesn't feel as heavy as other titles, maybe because it is more forgiving? It's very dynamic in balancing production, flipping tiles, but then staying on top of upgrading, but at the cost of income, and... well, that sounds a little dull doesn't it? You really feel like you are building your industries and you have several ways to grow and several things you can concentrate on. At the same time, the game is fun and doesn't feel like a math optimization exercise.

The components are top notch and this is definitely the best looking title from Warfrog as well. I'm looking forward to playing this again.
2008-02-28*
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Jim Anderson
United States
Gloucester
Virginia
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9
Mar 2012
Owned
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Javier García
Spain
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9
Aug 2009*
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jeff Sweet
Canada
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9
May 2008*
I love this game! Love it!

Couldn't ever get it to the table. Sold.
2012-08-08
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g s
United States
Moab
Utah
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9
Feb 2009*
When I first read the rules, I thought I wouldn't like this game. But after several plays, I rate it a '9'.

OTOH, I would never get to play this if it wasn't for the online version.
2008-05-28*
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Ik ben een kleine boefje
United States
Austin
Texas
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2006/2011 (Amsterdam - Maastricht - Apeldoorn - Den Haag -Delft) Vijf jaar dat ik ga nooit vergeten.
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Warning: Very handsome user.
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9
Feb 2013
Brass Martin Wallace 2007
Brass seems to be at first sight an economical game, and normally, I dont like games of this sort, but Brass is just an amazing eurogame designed for the euro geeks and not for the casual gamers. However it is not really dificult to teach (although the rules are somewhat fiddly and easy to forget) but it is normal that in their first games the players have no clue about the best options to take, and usually they feel overwhelmed by the game. Just try it again, you could end loving it as I did. In my book, this the best of the Martin Wallace´s designs and this is saying a lot. An excellent game that works perfectly with three to four players and has also a very good variant for two players sessions.
2012-01-30
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kim hong
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9
Nov 2009*
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Goose Bonis
Spain
Palma de Mallorca
Baleares
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9
Nov 2010
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Łukasz Segiet
Poland
Karpacz
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9
Aug 2009*
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Lars Berg
Denmark
Frederiksberg
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9
Feb 2013
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K B
Poland
Warsaw
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9
Feb 2011
Initial rating - this could be 9, but it's lowered down by the horribly written rules.
EDIT
Damn, I LOVE it.
2011-05-01
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Artur Konefał
Poland
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9
Nov 2009*
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Jean-Michel Petit
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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9
Jan 2014
Wow, what a nice game. Wow! I really dig the mechanism involved in this one from Wallace. Lots of choices, lots of TOUGH choices. Many embranchement to go from when you make a decision. A very tight resource management engine and minimal luck make this game a stellar choice for economical games lovers.

An immediate favorite.

Wow! (again)
2009-10-11
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Dan
United States
San Francisco
California
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I must think over my position and how I may improve it.
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9
Feb 2012
I fell in love with Brass after the first play. More than 50 plays later, it still holds my interest. There is a subtle cooperation between players unlike any other game I've played--and not the type where we agree to kill the points leader and then duke it out ourselves.

In online play, I've repeatedly seen "the winning strategy" debunked by unintuitive and creative play. Brass paradoxically always feels familiar and fresh at the same time. At my best, I was rated 6th on Hammerite's website (Dec. 2009). This is, unfortunately, one game that plays much better online where I can think about each move carefully. It's not a game I'd like to play face to face because the downtime between turns can be atrocious even if your group is experienced.
2010-09-28
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