As in its predecessor, you must develop, build, and establish your industries and network, in an effort to exploit low or high market demands.
Each round, players take turns according to the turn order track, receiving two actions to perform any of the following actions (found in the original game):
1) Build – Pay required resources and place an industry tile.
2) Network – Add a rail / canal link, expanding your network.
3) Develop – Increase the VP value of an industry.
4) Sell – Sell your cotton, manufactured goods and pottery.
5) Loan – Take a £30 loan and reduce your income.
6) Scout – Discard three cards and take a wild location and wild industry card. (This action replaces Double Action Build in original Brass.)
The game is played over two halves: the canal era (years 1770-1830) and the rail era (years 1830-1870). To win the game, score the most VPs. VPs are counted at the end of each half for the canals, rails and established (flipped) industry tiles.
Birmingham features dynamic scoring canals/rails. Instead of each flipped industry tile giving a static 1 VP to all connected canals and rails, many industries give 0 or even 2 VPs. This provides players with the opportunity to score much higher value canals in the first era, and creates interesting strategy with industry placement.