- 1 game board
- 12 black development markers
- 1 black marker for the year track
- 5 summary cards
- 5 player action markers
- game money
- 21 shares and 144 track cubes
A Place the game board on the table. B Place the white cubes and shares for American on the table next to its space at the bottom of the board. This area is the company's treasury and supply; each company has its own. Do the same for each of the other five companies. C If there are three players, randomly choose one company and remove it from the game. Place all of its shares and cubes back in the box. D Take one cube from each company's supply and place it on the zero space of the income track on the board. E Place the 12 black development markers in the development supply area on the game board. F Place the black train on the space marked 1851 on the year track. G Each player takes a summary card and an action marker of the same color. H Choose a player to act as the banker and give him the money. The money in the bank should be kept separate from the company treasuries and from the personal holdings of the players. J The banker then gives each player the following amount of money:
- $50 each for 3 players
- $50 each for 4 players
- $40 each for 5 players
A player's money is public information.
Starting the Game
Before the game begins, one share from each railroad company is auctioned. First, the banker selects one share from any of the six railroad companies and puts it up for auction.
He then must bid or pass; the minimum bid is $10. Proceeding clockwise around the table, each player must offer a higher bid or pass. A player who has passed may no longer participate in the auction.
The auction continues around the table until all but one of the players have passed. The remaining player, the auction winner, then:
Takes the auctioned share and places it face up in front of him in his personal holdings.
Puts his final bid into the treasury of the company that sold the share.
Takes one track cube from the company's supply and places it on any unoccupied city on the map.
Moves the company's income track marker to the number matching the full income of the starting city hex.
Puts his action marker on the lowest available number (top empty space) on the turn order track. (Skip this step if the player's action marker is already on the turn order track).
Selects one share from any of the remaining companies and puts it up for auction.
Chooses to bid or pass.
If no one bids for the share, it is permanently removed from the game. The last player to pass then selects a share from another company to auction.
The preparation round continues in this manner until one (and only one) share from each company has been put up for auction. If any shares were removed from the game, the game will begin with fewer than six railroad companies present on the map.
If any players end the preparation round with no shares, those players, beginning with the banker and proceeding clockwise, place their markers on the lowest remaining numbers on the turn order track.
A game of American Rails lasts up to seven rounds, or 1851 to 1857 on the year track. A round consists of three action phases, followed by a dividend phase.
Action Phases & Turn Order
To begin each round, the player whose action marker is at the top of the turn order track (space #1) moves his marker to an empty space in the first column of the action track. He then chooses whether or not to implement that action. The next player on the turn order track then does the same, until each player has taken one action.
For the second and third action phase, the turn order is determined by the preceding action phase.
The player whose action marker is closest to the top on the action track moves his marker to the right to an empty space in the next column of the action track, and chooses whether or not to implement that action.
The next player, again closest to the top on the action track, then does the same, until each player has taken an action.
Example: Rick is the first player (brown), followed by Mike (purple) and Alary (pink).
Rick moves his action marker to the Expand V- action (and chooses to implement that action).
Mike then moves his action marker to the 'Develop'- action.
Mary wanted to perform an Develop'- action but that action is already blocked by Mike.
Just to be sure that this action will not be blocked again in the next action phase she moves her action marker to the action 'Pass', so she will be the first to choose the second action.
Example: Now the second action phase starts. This time Mary chooses first and moves her action marker to the 'Develop'- action.
Mike moves his action marker to the 'Auction a share'- action.
Rick moves his action marker to the 'Fund $5'- action.
During the third action phase Mary starts again, followed by Rick and then Mike.
After three action phases, the players receive a dividend for each share they own.
The dividend payment is the current income of the company as shown on the income track divided by the number of shares in the company that are held by the players, rounded up; unsold shares and shares removed from the game are not counted. The money is paid to the players by the bank.
After each company has paid its dividends, the round is complete. Now check the game-end conditions on the next page. If the game is not over, move the player action markers from the right column of the action track to the turn order track, maintaining their relative order.
Then, advance the marker on the year track by one space and continue with the next round.
Example: The current income of Majestic (yellow) is $19. Rick has 2 shares of this company and Mary has 1 share. The dividend per share is $7 ($19 divided by 3 rounded up). therefore, Rick receives $14 from the bank and Mary receives $7 from the bank.
Example: In the last action phase Mary chooses the 'Fund $5'-action, Rick chooses the 'Expand 2 or Take $2'- action and Mike chooses the 'Expand 4'- action.
In this case the new turn order will be Mary (pink), Rick (brown) and Mike (purple).
The following is a list of actions that each player may perform. Unless stated otherwise, the player must either take the entire action or none at all.
The player does nothing.
The player takes a black development marker (a black house) from the supply and places it on any undeveloped city where there is at least one track cube of any color.
A development marker adds $2 to the full value and $ 1 to the shared value of the city (see Company Income). Adjust the income markers for companies with track in that city accordingly.
Cities with black squares next to their income values (New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago) cannot be developed. A development marker is never placed on these five cities, and their income is never increased beyond the map values.
Example: In the first action phase Mike chose the Develop action. He places a black house on Cincinnati. Since there is a track cube of Continental (green) in Cincinnati and there are no black squares next to the income value he is allowed to perform this action.
The player takes $5 from the bank and adds it to the treasury of any one railroad company.
Take $2 (or Expand 2)
The player takes $2 from the bank and adds it to his personal holdings, or takes $2 from each other player and returns it to the bank.
Alternatively, in a four or five player game, the player may take an Expand 2 action instead (see Expand).
Auction a Share
The player selects one share from the supply of any company and puts it up for auction. He then must bid or pass; the minimum bid is $10. Proceeding clockwise around the table, each player must offer a higher bid or pass.
A player who has passed can no longer participate in the auction, which continues around the table until all but one of the players have passed. The remaining player (the winner of the auction) then takes the share and pays his final bid to the treasury of the company that sold the share.
If no one bids for the share, remove it from the game. If the purchased share belongs to a company not yet present on the map, the player must take one cube from the supply of that company, place it on any empty city on the map, and set the company's income equal to the full value of that city.
If there are no empty cities, the purchased share is removed from the game, along with all of the remaining shares from that company.
The player takes one track cube from the supply of any company in which he owns at least one share and places the cube on a hex adjacent to another cube of the same color.
Note: A hex may never contain two or more cubes of the same color, and a forest or mountain hex may never hold more than one cube.
The player then takes the appropriate amount of money from the treasury of the company that owns the cube and pays the bank.
The terrain of the hex determines the cost per cube:
- Cities: $2 plus $2 per track cube or development marker already in the hex
- Plains: $2 plus $2 per track cube already in the hex
- Forests: $3 (limit one cube)
- Mountains: $5 (limit one cube)
The entire cost of the track must be paid from the treasury of the company that owns it. A player may neither pay for it himself nor contribute his own money to a company (outside of purchasing a share). If the company cannot afford to pay the entire cost, the cube may not be placed.
Following the steps above, the player may then place additional track cubes. Up to four cubes may be placed in this manner for the Expand 4 action, three cubes for the Expand 3 action, and two cubes for the Expand 2 action (in four or five player games only).
Note: Cubes are selected and placed one at a time. Thus, subsequent cubes need not to be placed adjacent to cubes placed earlier in the same action. In addition, they need not belong to the same company.
Example: In the first action phase Rick chose the Expand 3 action. Since he has 2 shares of Majestic (yellow) and 1 share of Republic (blue) he is allowed to expand these companies.
He decides to take one blue cube from the supply of Republic and places it on the board on the empty hex adjacent to St. Louis.
He then takes $2 (1 cube on a plains hex) from the treasury of Republic and pays the bank.
He then takes another blue cube and places it on the board on another empty hex and takes $2 from the treasury of Republic and pays the bank. The last cube he takes is from the supply of Majestic.
He places this cube in the same hex as where he placed the first cube of Republic. Finally, he takes $4 (1 cube on a plains hex that already contains another cube) from the treasury of Majestic and pays the bank.
Companies increase their income by having their track connected to cities. Each city has two income values printed in the hex. The city's full value, on the left, is used if only one company has track in the city.
The city's shared value, on the right, is used if two or more companies have track in the city. Whenever a track cube is placed in a city, adjust the income track markers as follows:
When the first track cube is placed in a city, increase the income of the company that owns the track by the full value of the city.
If a second track cube is placed in a city, increase the income of the company that owns the new track by the shared value of the city. In addition, the company that already had a track cube there now only receives the shared value of the city; reduce the company's income by the difference between the full and shared values of the city.
If more track cubes are placed in the city, increase the income of the companies that own them by the shared value of the city.
There is no limit to a company's income.
Note: A development marker adds $2 to the full value and $1 to the shared value of a city. Thus, if only one company has a track cube in it, a developed city provides an additional $2 in income. If another company's track cube is added to the city, the development marker's ! bonus is reduced to $1.
Example: National runs through the developed city of Buffalo. Later, Liberty builds a track there.
As a result, Liberty adds $4 to its income: $3 for the shared value of Buffalo, plus $1 for the development marker. National subtracts $2 from its income: $1for the difference between the full and shared value of Buffalo (4-3), and $1 for the reduction in the development bonus from $2 to $1.
Income Bonuses For Special Connections
If the track of a company connects to both Chicago and New York, Chicago and Atlanta, or New York and Atlanta, immediately add $10 to that company's income (in addition to the normal values of those cities).
A company can only receive a bonus once for each of the three possible special connections.
Note: that if a company's track is connected to two of the cities, it will receive a $10 bonus, but if it connects the third city, it will receive an additional $20 bonus (since connecting the third city will complete two special connections simultaneously).
Negotiation is not only permitted, but encouraged. A player may openly discuss strategy, analyze actions, or negotiate agreements with other players at any time.
However, no cash or shares may ever change hands, and no promises are binding.
Note: Some groups may prefer to play without negotiation or other forms of discussion about game play. Players should feel free to disallow it prior to beginning the game.
End of the Game
The game ends when, after a dividend, any of the following conditions have been met:
the year marker is on 1857,
all of the shares have been sold or removed from the game, or
a certain number of supplies (track cubes and/or development markers) have two or fewer cubes remaining:
- 3 players: 3 supplies have 2 or fewer cubes/markers
- 4 players: 4 supplies have 2 or fewer cubes/markers
- 5 players: 5 supplies have 2 or fewer cubes/markers
The player with the most money wins the game.
In the event of a tie, all tied players share the victory.