Now that the Kickstarter for New Canton is approaching a lot of backers from the previous Brass Empire are asking about what is new from the 1st to 2nd edition of the game. Let me start off by saying that while I feel that enough changes were made to the game to warrant calling it a 2nd edition, the majority are cosmetic and the original game is 100% compatible with the new expansion. The purpose of this post is to inform folks with the original Kickstarter edition about the changes to help people decide for themselves if the 2nd edition is worth buying. If you don’t have Brass Empire yet (or ordered through the Maximum Apocalypse campaign), you can stop reading since you will be getting the newer edition.
Let’s start off with the rulebook changes. If you’ve taken a look at the revised rulebook, you may notice that we revised the rules slightly based on player feedback:
- Destroying a building/unit yields the Brass value of the card rather than just a static 1 Brass (thus you are rewarded for destroying harder to kill cards). You only acquire the Brass from this combat if your mining platform is constructed/active.
- Units can only take the mining action if your mining platform is constructed/active.
This emphasis on the mining platform makes the game much more strategic in our opinion since you can knock out a player’s mining platform and then destroy a larger damaged unit with a small soldier and be the only one who profits from the sabotage. I’m sure some people will like these changes and some will not – you can still 100% play the game with the original rules and they are in the revised rulebook for that very reason. The New Canton expansion rulebook outlines these new rules and can be used as a substitute to the original rulebook.
The majority of the other changes to the game are cosmetic. If you’ve seen the component listing, we swapped out the plastic cubes for cardboard Brass coin tokens. We swapped out the red damage plastic cubes for red damage dice. We also tweaked the card count for the game by adding the 5 faction specific reserve cards from the kickstarter promo pack to the base set and reducing the design department deck down to 90 cards from 100 cards. No cards were removed from the game, but the number of neutral units was reduced so now there are exactly 3 of each; There were way too many security guards.
A larger upgrade that we made to the game is that we upgraded and cleaned up the text of all of the cards. Specifically, we increased the size of the font and clarified many of the card effects:
Take the old Gauntlet Warrior card above. There were always questions over the way the construction symbol was shown and the text on the card. The intended effect was that when the card was played from you hand and put into play that you would gain 1 Construction, but the old card was confusing. Mobilize is defined in the glossary of the new rulebook and defines this action making explaining the effect of the card much easier in our view. Another thing we did was tried to use the labor, brass and construction symbols in the card text more:
While every card got a cosmetic upgrade, we did change some cards for balance. Three cards were nerfed and a handful of other cards were changed to differentiate them or make them actually worth acquiring. We nerfed Professor Quentin Edison so that he costs slightly more and is worth less Brass. His power remains the same and is still quite nasty. The two bigger nerfs were the Distribution Center and Human Resources – these two cards could lead to huge resource pools on every turn if you focused your strategy on your buildings. Human Resources now gives you 2 Labor every turn and the Distribution Center gives you 1 Labor and 1 Construction on every turn.
Graf Airman and Steam Engine were the exact same 2/3 card but Graf Airman was inheritantly better because it was cheaper. We increased Graf’s Brass value and gave Steam Engine an effect to better vary the units in the game. The final major card change that we made was to the previously useless Security Guard:
The security guard was meant to be an early 1/1 unit that you could acquire and use to pester an opponent, but the reality is that he became worthless too quick and became easy points for your opponents and wasted a card in your hand – until you had to take the time to dismiss him. Well now he can actually do what he’s supposed to do and get you some early points or dismissed from your hand to boost up to a better card.
There may be some other minor stat changes in Brass value that I am forgetting but if I am they are so minor that they are definitely not worth noting.
Finally, I think it’s worth noting that the 2nd Edition was printed by a different manufacturer, so the card stock/colors of the original may not match the expansion’s colors exactly. We did send the new manufacturer the original for color matching but it is impossible to match color exactly unless you are you using the exact same machine so for the purist this may matter to you since a keen eye may be able to discern if an upcoming card is an original or expansion card from the card back.
I hope this has helped you make your decision on which version of Brass Empire you need to have in your collection. If it was me, I would stick with my original copy and remove Distibution Center and Human Resources from future games because those are really overpowered – but otherwise you’re really getting the same core game experience. Then again, I know some gamers are way more particular than I am so they may think these tweaks are well worth the price. Either way, as long as you have either edition of Brass Empire, you will be able to enjoy all of the new things that New Canton has to offer.