Mississippi Queen: Rules

Article originally publish at Game Cabinet

Designed by Walter Hodel
Published by Goldsieber, 1997
Translation by Richard Ingram

An enjoyable paddle steamer race for 3-5 players aged 10 and up.

In competition for the title of "Mississippi Queen" for the fastest steamer on the Mississippi, the steamer captains deliver a breath-taking race. In order to make the game easier to learn, we've divided the rules into two parts. First there are the rules for a short introductory game, the "Mississippi Queen Driving School". This is intended to be your first experience of the game. You will learn how to move the steamers and how to create the map of the river.

Once you have played this version, you will be ready for the proper race. This introduces passengers into the game and makes the game substantially more tactical.

Contents

Mississippi Queen Driving School

Preparations For The Introductory Game

Before the first game stick the numbered strips to the wheels, black strips on black wheels, red on red.

Each player receives a steamer and two wheels, one red, one black The red wheel is the speed wheel. Put it in the left-hand compartment, so the number 1 is showing on top.

The black wheel is the coal wheel. Put it in the right-hand compartment with the number 6 showing on top.

Place the Starting River tile on the table (it features numbered spaces). Sort out three extra tiles, place them as a face-down pile, and return the rest to the box.

Place the landing platform face-up beneath the pile of three river tiles. Have the die to hand.

The passengers and the measuring stick will not be needed in this version.

Start

Turn over the top river tile and join it to the start tile in the middle, straight ahead position. The youngest player starts. He places his steamer on start space 1. The others follow in clockwise order, taking spaces 2, 3, etc. The steamers can be placed facing in any direction. Now the race can begin.

How to Play

Speed and Coal Reserves

The player with a steamer on space 1 starts, others following in clockwise order. When it is your turn, before moving, fix the speed on the red speed wheel. The wheel can stay still or be raised or lowered by one number for free. If you want to increase or reduce the number by more than one , for each additional number you will need to use one coal point.

Example

To increase the speed from 2 to 4 costs one coal point.
To reduce the speed from 6 to 3 costs two coal points.

Show the changing coal reserves by moving the black wheel. Should the last coal point used, remove the black wheel and return it to the box. If an extra coal point is needed later, then that player drops out of the game and his steamer is removed from the river. In this short introductory game this will rarely happen.

Moving and Turning

The speed wheel indicates how many spaces you can move on your turn - ie. with a 4 showing on top of the wheel, you move four spaces. For each movement, you must move one space in the direction of travel, with the bow to the fore. Reversing, ie. stern first, is not allowed.

Steamers normally move over unoccupied water spaces. (exception: see "pushing opponents' steamers").

Steamers normally move onto or over islands, nor off the edge of a tile. Each player can make one turn of 60 degrees in either direction for free. Each additional 60 degree turn costs one coal point. Move the coal wheel accordingly.

Steamers may be turned before during or after your turn. eg. bottom of page 4. The steamer must move 3 spaces - the necessary turning costs the player 2 coal points.

Laying Out the River

The first player onto any otherwise empty river tile, must lay another tile. He throws the die and this tells him whether to fix the next piece on to the left, middle, or right cusp of the tile he currently occupies. He takes this tile from the stock and fits it accordingly. All this happens after he has completed the move that brings him to his current tile. In the example on page 5, the player moves from tile A to new tile B. When he has finished moving, he throws the die, which tells him the next tile is to be fitted so that the river bends to the left.

Should a steamer be about to run aground, it must slow down or change direction.

Remember a second tile is joined to the start tile at the beginning of the race.

Important: tiles cannot be laid so as to form a continuous loop. If this is about to happen, throw the die again.

As soon as the previous tile has been fully vacated, it can be removed from the table.

Pushing Opponent's Steamers

Normally movement is across empty spaces. It is, however, allowed to push opponents' steamers to one side.

Each push costs the pushing player one movement space. This point is used to move an opponent's steamer one space. The pushing steamer moves only one space less than the number showing on his speed wheel.

If a player pushes two steamers, he moves two spaces less than his current speed.

A steamer cannot be pushed onto an island. Similarly, spaces over which the pushing player has just moved this turn, including the one from which he pushed the opponent, are taboo. If there is nowhere for the opponent to be pushed to, you may not push.

The player who was pushed can immediately can point his steamer in whichever direction he chooses.

Example: see page 6. Red must move 4 spaces. he bumps into beige (1 point), pushes beige aside (1 point), and then moves 2 more spaces ahead (2 points). beige may now point his steamer in any direction. He could also have been pushed to either of the spaces marked with white crosses.

Should a player have enough movement points to reach a space occupied by an opponent, but no spare points for pushing him out of the way, he cannot move onto this space, and must move somewhere else instead.

Should a steamer be pushed onto an unexplored tile, the procedure for extending the river is followed as previously described.

End of the Race

The player who places the last river tile, rolls the die again to determine the location of the landing platform. As shown in the diagram on page 7, there are three hexes which are points of entry to this platform. The first player to reach one of these entry points wins. Unused movement points are wasted. If there is an island occupying an entry space, then there will obviously be only two entry spaces. The winning steamer is placed on the platform tile in position number 1. Other players may continue the game so as to be accorded lesser placings.

These are all the rules for the Introductory game. You can now start. Afterwards read the additional rules for playing the full race, the Passenger Game.

The Passenger Game

Having played the introductory game once, you will know how to manoeuvre the steamers. The full game involves the transportation of passengers, again heading for the landing platform. Now. however, you must collect two passengers on the way in order to win. In order to make the race more enjoyable, you will no longer play in clockwise order. From now on the leading steamer will move first, followed by the others in clockwise order. All previously described rules are used with the following additions or changes.

Preparations

All river tiles are now used.
Have the measuring stick to hand.
Set out the steamers and the first river tile as before.
Put the passengers near the tile stack.
With 3 players, use 8 passengers
With 4 players, use 12 passengers
With 5 players, use 16 passengers
Put unused passengers back in the box.

Placing Passengers at Steamer Stations

As soon as a tile is placed that contains an island with a station (building with a platform), place passengers on that station. This includes the tile placed t the start of the game.

With 3 players, 1 passenger per station
With 5 players, 2 passenger per station
With 4 players, 1 passenger on red stations, and 2 on brown stations

Collecting Passengers

In order to collect a passenger, a steamer must move to the boarding platform shown extending from an island. Movement ends on that space.

The speed wheel must be showing a 1. The player may collect one passenger. If a player has already collected 2 passengers, he can collect no more. No player may collect passengers from the same island.

Tip: there will be more than enough passengers for each player, so don't rush to the first island sighted.

Example: see page 9. Red wants to collect a passenger. He slows to speed 2 and moves two spaces. He then slows again to speed 1 and moves to the boarding platform.

Should a player be pushed to a boarding platform, and he is displaying the correct speed of one, he may collect a passenger, unless of course he has already collected one from this same station.

Once every player has vacated a tile, it is removed and any passengers remaining on it are returned to the box.

Order of Movement

Steamers move in position order - the furthest ahead goes first etc.
If 2 steamers are level, the one displaying the greater speed moves first.
If still level, the one with the greater coal reserves goes first.
if still level, the steamer furthest to the right of the river moves first.

Helping to Determine Position

Use the measuring stick if a quick glance doesn't tell you relative positions.

A shown in the diagram on page 10, place the stick in clear water ahead of the steamers, and move it backwards towards the steamers.

The first steamer reached, whatever direction it is facing, will be the one to move first. e.g. in the diagram on page 11, the order of movement is grey, beige, (numbers tied with red, but more to the right), red, green, brown.

The End of the Game

The first to reach the landing platform with two passengers wins. In addition, the steamer must be travelling at a speed of one, as when collecting passengers. Steamers are again moved to the platform tile and are placed in the correct podium positions. With 3 players, 1 passenger per station.


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