03 – How to Play

The Castle

The main objective of Brass Tactics is to destroy the enemy’s castle, and protect your own.  The castle is the center of your command, and is where the first tower is built.  The castle is also where you will make upgrades to your military and economy, by interacting with the drawer behind it.

Table Movement

To change your position on the War Table, you can grab the table by pressing the grip button on either controller, and drag it in the direction you want it to move. If you release your grip after quickly “flicking” the table, it will “coast” in the direction you flicked it, allowing you to move anywhere on the map quickly.

If you wish to change the height of the table relative to your body, you can move it up or down by pressing both grip buttons, and dragging the controllers up or down. This way you can examine the table close-up by dragging it upwards, or get a birds-eye view of the table by pushing it downwards.

Palette and Tower Placement

Towers are the method through which you can capture territories and increase your military forces.  You can gain access to your towers via the tower palette… it is revealed by rotating your wrist, palm up, until the palette appears. No button is required. You can do this with either hand.

When the palette is open, you can pick up a tower from it with your other hand by pressing and holding the trigger. Once you are holding a tower, you can position that hand over an open socket with your team color, and build it by releasing the trigger.  The socket must be open and appear in your team color (see below).

It costs Jewel resources to build any tower. The prices are printed at the base of each tower in the palette. If you do not have sufficient resources to build, you will see the tower highlighted in red.

See Palettes and Towers for more information.

Squad Training

Each tower has the ability to train (construct) squads of units of a specific type.  To train, hover your hand over the tower you wish to create units from.  You should see a description of the unit that will be trained as well as its resource cost. Each squad costs a certain amount of Ore Resources, and some also require jewels to train. If you cannot afford the resource cost, the tower will show a a red highlight.

Press the A or X button to instruct the tower to start training the unit. The unit will take a set amount of time to train each unit…  On the side of the tower you will see the unit insignia banner fill, acting as a progress bar. The player can queue up to three units to be built at a time (indicated by the pips above the unit insignia on the side of the tower). The cost is deducted from your current resources immediately when queuing up squads.

If you queue up a squad that you did not intend to, you can cancel the training process with the B or Y button. If units have already started to appear on the table, you can no longer cancel that squad’s training

Some advanced (elite) squads are powerful units that are trained and commanded singly, rather than in groups.

Unit Command and Control

Each squad of units is indicated by a banner with above them, and they are commanded as a group. To issue a command to a squad, point at it with either hand and hold down the trigger. This highlights them and stretches an arrow that can be dragged to a destination location.  When the trigger is released, the units will travel to the indicated location, pathing around obstacles if necessary.

Multiple squads can be selected and directed in the same way, by pointing at multiple units before indicating a movement destination. If you wish to command a single squad without selecting its neighbors, you can select only one squad by holding down the trigger halfway.

By dragging the arrow to an empty location on the map, you will direct your units to reach that location as efficiently as possible. Units are less likely to engage the enemy when under these orders until they arrive. If you instead drag the arrow onto an enemy squad or tower, it will attack that target as soon as it is able. In the case of mobile squads, your units will pursue the unit wherever it goes.

Capturing Regions

The key to victory in Brass Tactics is to capture as many regions as possible on the map to convert their production to your side.  Regions are bordered by a dotted line that displays the team color of the controlling player.  Most regions within a map start off neutral, appearing with gray borders.

You can capture an uncontrolled (gray) region by placing a tower in an open socket within.  A gray socket can be opened by moving one of your ground units nearby, until it opens.  A socket will not open to your units unless there are no enemy ground units within that region.  A region with two opposing teams’ units within is considered “contested”, and any open sockets within that region will stay closed until this is resolved.

Once a region is captured, you not only get to use the tower that you placed, but you gain the loyalty of the village attached to the region.  This village begins to produce resources (such as ore and sometimes jewels) for you:  See Regions and Economy for more information.

If the enemy destroys all the towers in your region, it will return to neutral and you no longer benefit from its village production.  They can then attempt to capture the region if they completely eliminate your forces within it.

Upgrading the Castle

You can upgrade their military units or their economy at your castle by selecting upgrade structures out of the Upgrade Drawer.  You can select any of the visible upgrade structures by pointing at it and holding the trigger to pick up the structure.  The castle has limited socket locations where the upgrades can be placed… point the upgrade in your hand at the socket you wish to fill and release it to construct the upgrade. Your economy or units in the field will immediately reap the benefits of the upgrade you chose.

Adding upgrades to your castle can also upgrade it, unlocking additional unit towers and upgrades for your use. See Upgrades and Tech Tree for more information.

Advanced Unit Control

Attack Move

When executing the standard movement and attack commands, your units will be somewhat single-minded in pursuing the goals you have given them, even if attacked.  However, sometimes you will want your units to attack anything it can along the way, by issuing an Attack Move command.  This can be carried out by selecting your units and dragging the arrow as normal, but pressing the stick up (away from you) before releasing. The movement arrow gains a red pulsing appearance, and units commanded this way will freely attack enemies at will as it heads to its destination.

Hold Position

When placed at a location on the map without orders, your squads will guard that position, moving to engage enemies within a certain distance of where you directed them. Sometimes you will want them to stay entirely in place, typically if you have an advantageous position such as high ground or a choke point.  To issue a Hold Position command, select your units and pull the stick down (towards you) before releasing. The units will immediately stop all movement and stand their ground.

Elite Unit Activation

All single elite units have a special ability that can be activated at specific times. This includes special temporary powerups such as the tank’s shield or the mechanic’s heal boost, or a state change such as the artillery’s unpacking. These are triggered by holding your hand over the unit and pressing the A or X button.

Most special abilities have a cooldown after activation before they can be used again. You can tell if a unit’s ability is available to you by the small icon over their banner.


Many regions have Turret Emplacements that are available for purchase once you have taken control of them. They can be built by hovering your hand over the turret and pressing the A or X button. The turret will automatically attack nearby enemy units until they are destroyed by the enemy.

If a region is lost (by having its towers destroyed), the turret is lost as well, so protect your towers!

A turret always costs 3 jewels to build. All of your turrets on the map be upgraded via the Stronghold and Arsenal upgrades at the castle.

The Scrap Hammer

Sometimes you may have a tower placed in a region that you wish you could replace with a different one. If you wish to destroy a tower, you can use the Scrap Hammer. To spawn the hammer, hold the B or Y button to extend it, then swing it down on the tower you wish to destroy. If no enemies are contesting the region the tower was in, your region will stay under your control and the socket will stay open so that you can place something else.

You can also use the Scrap Hammer to destroy units under your control as well. This can be useful if you have reached the population cap, or if there is a unit that is too wounded to be useful.

Notes on the control scheme

The controls in Brass Tactics are designed to be ambidextrous… that is, your left hand will work just as effectively as your right hand. For nearly any action that describes a button or controller, such as the right grip button or right trigger, you can execute the same action with the left grip button or left trigger. If a command can be executed with the A or X button, it can similarly use the B or Y button.

In fact, different commands can be executed with both hands simultaneously. Commanding two different squads with different hands, or activating different towers or units with each hand, or a combination thereof.

The only exception to this rule is the Oculus System Menu button (on the right controller) and the Brass Tactics options menu button (on the left controller).





Next Section: Regions and Economy