Another day, another dollar. The world of Cobalt is ruled by corporations like yours, but do you think you have the drive to be the best? You’ll have to expand your team of employees, recruit strong units, and construct impressive buildings to acquire more wealth than your competition. Better start expanding, the brass is waiting for you!
What Is It?
Deck Building – Players will buy various types of cards to add to and strengthen their deck throughout the game.
Engine Building – Some cards players can buy are buildings, which will sit out in front of them once played and usually offer some ongoing abilities (i.e. extra resources on your turn).
Asymmetric Reserves – Each player starts with a different faction and has a personal reserve of cards only they can buy for their deck.
Take That – Unit cards can attack opponents’ units, buildings, or mining platforms. Destroying your opponents’ cards will earn you points, and of course make it more difficult for them to earn points.
Who Is It For?
- 1 to 5 Players – The solo game is alright. I like it best at 2 or 3, personally, but I think it’s pretty good at any count, just a bit slower with 4 or 5
- Ages 10 & Up / Any Experience Level – I think it’s a fairly streamlined deck building game. Good for a wide age range, and a good introduction to the mechanism
- Fans of deck building games, personal reserves, and a steampunk theme
- Players who don’t mind a little take that and can adjust their strategies if their cards get knocked out.
- Players who like trying different combos and strategies with different cards
CUSTOM RESERVE – Instead of starting with a set of starting faction cards in their reserves, players can customize their reserves with any cards of their company’s color (up to 10, about 8-12 brass value) — Personally, I’m not huge on this one just because I like the pre-built reserve so I can dive right into the game and build a strategy as I play. But, I do see the value in constructing your reserve and setting yourself up for certain strategies. I can see this having a lot of appeal for players, and extending the replayability of the game.
TEAM – Play with 4 or 6 players, in teams of 2. You can chose any opponent to target on your turn, and can pay an extra cost to put cards you acquire in your partner’s discard pile. Combine your scores at the end and the highest team score wins — I prefer the game with only 2-3 players anyway, so I don’t see a need for team play. If you really prefer team games in general though, it seems like it works fine.
BATTLE – Each player starts with 20 brass as their economic health. When a unit/building is attached, you lose that much brass, instead of gaining it as points like you normally do. You can’t mine in this version, but if cards generate brass, you can heal. If you run out of brass, you’re out, and the last player standing wins. — This is definitely an interesting take on the game, and really lets you change up your strategy, especially if you normally go heavy into mining. Generally a little bit quicker as well, so it works well to vary the game.
SOLO – You play against an AI that will always collect brass, then attack, then acquire 1 or more cards each turn. If you destroy it’s units/buildings, they don’t come back. Normal end game/scoring features, most points wins. — If you like solo and/or just want to try different deck combos, it’s worth trying out. The AI can collect high point cards easily, so it’s interesting to try and control the market to prevent that. On the other hand, since you know exactly what the AI will do in a turn based on the flow of it’s turns, you can plan your best moves a lot more, and it takes out a lot of the challenge in most plays. Overall, alright solo mode.
- Replay Value – Factions are all unique and lend themselves to varied strategies, but I also like that they don’t rely on having all the same type in your deck – you can have multiple faction types in your deck and they still work together well
- Components – The cards are good quality, simple dice for tracking damage, and I love the plastic tokens for brass
- Rules – Well-written, easy to learn from
- Easy/quick set-up
- Box has plenty of room to sleeve cards if you’d like
- I like that the buildings take a turn to come out so they can’t be destroyed before you use them
- Love the personal reserve to buy from; adds more uniqueness to your deck with cards others can’t have, and since you know what you have available from the start, you can strategize around them
- I like the rule that if your mining platform is destroyed, you can’t mine for points. It’s thematic and also incentivizes fixing your platform quickly, which can be interesting if you’re debating between fixing it or buying a pricier card
- Combat is unique since everything can attack back when attacked, which can swing points both ways
- Equal turns
- Rotating card market
- I wish units could be used for mining or attacking their first turn out because sometimes you can lose some of your weaker ones before they even get used
- Solo is fine, but it does have a lot of upkeep – cards are bought every turn by the AI and are constantly sliding
- To me, the theme doesn’t really shine through/connect to the mechanisms, it’s a fairly basic deck builder
Overall, I really like Brass Empire! While, at it’s core, it is a very straightforward deck builder, I think the different factions elevate it and I feel like that’s where the variety for strategy lies, and it’s fun to try different combinations of cards to see what works. I also like the balance of focusing on mining versus attacking opponents, and I think both are viable strategies to get a win. The theme isn’t standout in the game, but if you like steampunk, some of the art is still cool.
If you like deck building, and enjoy trying different strategies with each play, this is definitely one to check out!
My Final Rating – 8/10
Designer – Mike Gnade
Artist – Declan Hart
Publisher – Rock Manor Games
MSRP – $40.00
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
If you like what I do, consider Supporting Me.