Bruxelles 1897 might sound familiar to you. It’s the smaller sibling to Bruxelles 1893, its predecessor, also by designer Etienne Espreman!
The year is 1897, and the art nouveau movement is sweeping across Belgium. You’re looking to buy works of art and display them in exhibits. You’re looking to construct grand buildings with in-vogue architecture. You’ll need building materials, and a steady income to pay your team of assistants. Or, you could do some dodgy deals on the cheap in Brussels. The rewards can feel tempting. But beware: if you do this too much, your workers could end up trapped in the courthouse for their sins!
Bruxelles 1897 takes many of the core mechanisms from 1893 and has streamlined them. This is a ‘card game’ equivalent of the original board game, but don’t assume this is lightweight. It’s not! Bruxelles 1897 is a worker placement game, with cards. The main difference is that instead of meeple workers, you have a deck of cards as your assistants. There’s no board, like in 1893. Instead, you build a new modular grid of worker placement cards each round.
You’ll build this using a shuffled deck of the five key worker placement actions as seen in 1893. These are: gain building resources, construct a building, gain art, display your art, or schmooze with luminaries. When you send a card (assistant) to activate an action though, you do so not only for mere worker placement. You’re also considering a vertical auction mechanism for round-end rewards. Also, you’re looking at area majority with where you sent workers for round-end points. There’s a lot going on!
The actions are a little more slick in Bruxelles 1897. There’s not quite as many hoops to jump through, but it’s still very much a thought-provoking challenge. This shares the same soul as Bruxelles 1893, but does so in half the time.
Player Count: 2-4 Players
Time: 40-60 minutes