The Industrial Revolution in Lancashire. The game starts at the beginning of the Canal Age and ends after the development of railways. Players take the roles of entrepreneurs attempting to make the most money from the various industries of the time. Cotton dominates the game but players ignore the other industries such as coal mining and engineering at their peril.
All Warfrog copies now sold out. Check with FRED or Pegasus for the new edition.
Brass Clarifications & Further Game Notes
Canals – it costs £3 to build one canal link. Only one canal can exist on a potential link.
Rails – it costs £5 to build one rail link or £15 to build two rail links. Only one rail link can exist on a potential link.
Distant Markets – if you sell to the Distant Market then the additional income shown on the Cotton Demand track is added to your income level, it is not taken as cash.
The counter mix is limiting.
One port allows the sale of cotton from one mill. However, a port can be used more than once for the purposes of selling to the Distant Market. There is no upper limit on the number of times a port can be used for selling to the Distant Market.
When you gain income you go up a number spaces equal to the income increase, e.g. if you gained £5 then you would go up five spaces. Note that this does not translate into an increase of £5 in actual income, as that depends on the income band you are in. If you take a loan then you go down in income bands. This means that you always lose £1 of actual income for each £10 you take.
Tech Level 1 Shipyards can only be built in the Canal Period.
You cannot build the Tech Level 0 Shipyard.
You will only be able to build a shipyard in Liverpool in the Canal Period.
The virtual link between Liverpool and Birkenhead can only be used to allow a player to use an Industry card to build in Birkenhead. It cannot be used to allow you to build a rail link between Birkenhead and Ellesmere Port.
Note that if you build a Tech Level 2 building in the Canal Period and it survives until the end of the Rail Period then you will actually score its VPs twice, once at the end of the Canal Period and again at the end of the Rail Period.
A Further Guide to Playing the Game
A few people have commented that it is difficult for them to get a picture of how to play the game from the rules. I would be the first to admit that this is not a simple game and takes a little while to get your head around. To that end I will make another stab at describing how the game should play.
As with the majority of Euro games your aim is to score the most victory points. VPs are earned from industries that have been flipped and canals/rails. The key to winning the game is to build industry counters that will end up being flipped.
When you build an industry it has produced something and is looking to sell it. When you build a cotton mill it is producing cotton but does not yet have a customer. A port is a potential customer. You can flip a cotton mill if you can also flip a port, (counters can only be flipped once). That does not represent a one-off sale, you are continually producing and selling cotton via that port. That is why your income level is increased. Similarly, coal mine and iron works have coal/iron cubes to sell. When all of the cubes from one of these counters has been taken then it is flipped, which increases your income level. Your coal mine is still producing coal but is selling everything it makes. The only industry that flips immediately is the shipyard.
The game is all about supply and demand. You want to build an industry when you know there is a demand for its products, otherwise you are wasting your money and actions. The only exception to this are coal mines, it can be very useful to start the Rail Period with a coal mine with coal on it. In that sense the game is very tactical. If a number of coal cubes have been taken from the Coal Demand track then demand is high and extra profits will be made by the next person to meet this demand. Thus if you build a coal mine and it is connected to a port you immediately move cubes from it to fill the vacant spaces on the Coal Demand track. You gain cash for this, not an increase in income level.
The total demand for cotton is determined by the number of ports that have been built and the Distant Market, (which will allow between two and six lots of cotton to be sold). Once again, look for opportunities. If there are a lot of cotton mills that have not sold their produce then build ports. Although the cotton mill owner makes more money it saves you an action.
The demand for coal will be low at the beginning of the game but will increase as time goes on. Do not go into coal too heavily early on. During the Rail period the demand for coal goes through the roof.
The demand for iron depends very much on how much development players undertake. As you can choose where to take iron from when you develop you can create your own demand for iron.
To a certain degree the cards are a distraction. Early on it each period you should be able to build almost any type of industry that you wish to. What you may not have is complete control over where you get to build it, but that is not often a critical problem. When it is your go think about which industry you wish to build, then look for whether your cards allow you to do that. You may need to plan ahead a little and put off the building of a certain industry until you have built some canal/rail links.
Do not forget to develop your industries. First time players generally do not do this. You can make such development work for you if you can get an iron works down. Getting a few Level 2 industries down in the Canal Period will make a big difference to your position in the Rail period. Remember that at the end of the Canal period all Level 1 industries are removed. This does not mean they have really disappeared, remember, you still are earning money from them. You can see it as an increase in the amount of available land and the decline in importance of early industries. Check out the Industry Counter Details table at the end of the rules. Hopefully you will see that the higher the Tech Level the more victory points you gain, especially with cotton mills and shipyards.
Money is important. All industries have a cost to build, marked on the front of the counter. You will run out of money fairly quickly, which will mean taking out a loan. You can try to avoid this situation by getting your income up as quickly as possible, which would mean building a cotton mill and port and using both of them with a ‘Sell Cotton’ action. Once your income level is up you will be collecting money at the beginning of each turn. It also means that if you do then decide to take a loan you will not be slipping into negative income.
I would recommend reading the Reference section before beginning play, just to familiarise yourself with what areas it covers. Also check out Boardgamegeek for details.