Stephensons Rocket: Rules

Contents
    1 board with the map of England
    7 locomotives (1 each in 7 colors)
128 shares (16 each of 7 companies, 16 supplementary shares)
  60 track tiles (2 sided: straight /curved)
  28 stations (7 each in 4 colors)
  45 tokens (9 each of steel, textiles, brewing, leather, and passengers)
100 bank notes (26 x 1,000, 24 x 2,000, 26 x 5,000, and 24 x 10,000 pounds)

Overview
In the 1830’s, England began the building of their railway system. The most famous of the early locomotives was George Stephenson’s “Rocket”.

The players take the roles of the railway barons of that exciting time. Players develop railway lines, place stations, and invest in cities to gain the most money and win the game.

Preparation
1.         Place the board in the middle of the table. It shows England with the towns that started the railway lines (e.g. Liverpool), railway towns (e.g. Leeds) and cities (e.g. Manchester).

2.         Place each locomotive on the starting town of the corresponding color. The locomotive may face any direction at this time.

3.         Separate the railway lines’ shares and place them on the corresponding spaces on the board. Place the supplementary shares on their space adjacent to the scoring summary.

4.         Place the city tokens on their cities; they are color-coded and each city has three tokens. Place the passenger tokens next to the board.

5.         Sort the money and place it next to the board. Pile the track tiles next to the board in easy reach of all players.

6.         Each player selects a color and takes the seven stations in his color. Select one player to begin the game.

Playing the game
The game begins with the starting player and continues clockwise around the table. On a player’s turn, he (the active player) takes two actions, chosen from the three possible actions described below. He may choose two different actions or the same action twice. However, he may not choose to extend the same railway line twice.

Actions and their effects
A)        Take a city token: The player takes one token from any city and places it face-up in front of him, sorted by type.

B)        Place/replace a station: The player places one of his stations on an empty space on the board. Stations may not be placed on towns, cities, or tracks, nor adjacent to locomotives or existing stations. The player may either use a station from his supply or he may move one of his stations already on the board to the new location.

C)        Extend a railway line:
            1) Move a locomotive - The player moves any one of the locomotives to an adjacent empty space or to an adjacent space containing only a station. From its starting town, a locomotive may be moved to any adjacent empty space. From any other space, a locomotive may only be moved to one of the three spaces in front of the locomotive. The player may move the locomotive straight forward or in a slight curve to the left or the right. Locomotives may not be moved to towns, cities, nor to spaces with track tiles or other locomotives. The player places the locomotive so its rear-end points to the space from which it moved.

            The player then takes one share of the corresponding railway line. He places the share face-up in front of himself. If no shares are available, the player does not get a share, even if shares become available later. Players display their shares by company so their shareholdings are easily seen.

            2) Possible direction veto - Any player, with shares in the company corresponding to the locomotive moved, may call a veto round. The veto round cannot prevent a locomotive from moving, but can change its direction. The veto round begins with the player to the left of the active player and goes once around the table. Each player may bid any number of his shares in the corresponding railway line and, at the same time, reposition the locomotive to any of the allowed spaces, including the current one. Each subsequent bid must be higher than the preceding one. No player is required to make a bid, not even the one who called the veto round. The active player bids last, and need only equal the preceding bid to reposition the locomotive. The player with the winning bid returns the number of shares he bid to the board, making these shares available to players extending the railway later. All other players keep their shares.

            3) Place a track tile - The active player then places a track tile on the space the locomotive just vacated, unless it was the starting town. The player places a tile (straight or curved side up) that extends and connects the track to the space where he (or the high bidder) moved the locomotive. If the vacated space contains a station, the track tile is placed under it. If appropriate, players may receive payments as described below in the scoring section.

            Once a locomotive has been moved from its starting town, the starting town is no longer part of the railway line. However, it does contribute to the value of the line as a town connected to the line. A railway line is made up of the space containing the locomotive and all spaces containing track tiles connected to that locomotive.

Passenger tokens
When a player moves a locomotive to a space containing another player’s station, he is awarded a passenger token, which he takes and places face-up in front of himself. If a player moves a locomotive to a space with his own station, he is not awarded a passenger token. Moving a locomotive to a space with a station links that station to the railway line.

When a veto round is called and at least one bid is made, the active player only takes the passenger token if he made the winning bid. Passenger tokens are only awarded to the active player. Veto players who reposition a locomotive to a station do not take passenger tokens. When all nine passenger tokens are used, no further passenger tokens are awarded.

Scoring during the game
Scoring takes place during the game and at the end. During the game, scoring occurs after a railway line is extended in three situations:
1.         City: When a player connects a city to a new railway line (i.e. when a player moves a locomotive to a space adjacent to a city), the players with that city’s tokens earn money. The player with the majority of the city’s tokens earns £2,000; the player with the second most earns £1,000.

2.         Railway town: When a player connects a railway town to a railway line (i.e. when a player moves a locomotive to a space adjacent to a railway town), the players owning stations linked to that line may earn money. The player with the most such stations earns £1,000 for each city and town, including starting towns, connected to the railway line. The player with the second most earns a separate payment of half this amount.

3.         Merger: When a player moves a locomotive to a space adjacent to another railway line (either its track or its locomotive), the two railway lines merge. A locomotive may not be moved to a space adjacent to two other railway lines. The railway line whose locomotive was moved is dissolved. The player with the most shares in the dissolved railway receives £1,000 for each city and town, including starting towns, connected to the railway line. The player with the second most shares receives a separate payment of half this amount. Then the player removes the locomotive of the dissolved railway line and replaces it with a track tile, connecting the two railway lines. All shareholders return their shares of the dissolved railway line and receive one share in the surviving railway line for every two they return. Single shares are worthless. If there are not enough shares of the surviving railway line available, allocate and distribute supplementary shares in their place. Supplementary shares must always be grouped with shares of the railway line they represent. (merger example next page)

A subsequent connection of the same town or city to the same railway line does not trigger scoring. If no city tokens have been taken or no stations have been connected, it is possible that a connection does not score a payment.

When extending a railway line triggers multiple kinds of scoring, score them in the order described above. The amount of money a player has is private.

Scoring at the end of the game: 
1.         Tokens: First, all players discard tokens for cities that are not connected to any railway line. Then each type (passengers, steel, textiles, brewing, and leather) is scored separately. The player with the most tokens of each type receives £6,000; the second most receives £3,000.

For each railway line that has not been dissolved, stations and shares score:
2.         Stations: The player with the most stations linked to each railway line receives £1,000 for each city and town, including starting towns, connected to that railway line. The player with the second most stations receives a separate payment of half this amount.

3.         Shares: The player with the most shares in a railway line receives £1,000 for each city and town, including starting towns, connected to that railway line. The player with the second most shares receives a separate payment of half this amount.

If there are several first places when scoring, add the payments for first and second and share it equally among the players involved. If there is a single first place, but several second places, share the payment for second place among those tied for second. If there is a single first place and no player qualifies for second place, there is no payment for second. Where necessary, all individual payments are rounded down.

Isolated Railway Lines
If the locomotive of a railway line cannot be linked to further towns or cities, nor be merged with another railway line, then the railway line is considered isolated. Shares of isolated railway lines are removed from the board and discarded. However, the players keep their shares displayed. Isolated railway lines may still be extended, but shares are not awarded to players doing so.

Game end
The game ends immediately when, at the end of any action, there are shares in only one railway line available on the board. This means that six of the seven railway lines are either dissolved, isolated or their shares have all been taken by players. The active player gets no further actions.

The game also ends when all 60 track tiles have been placed on the board. If this occurs at the end of extending a railway line, the players check for any scoring triggered by the railway extension and make the necessary payments. If this occurs during a merger following extending a railway line, the players complete the scoring. When scoring is complete in either case,   proceed immediately to the game end scoring. The active player gets no further actions.

After the game end scoring, the winner is the player with the most money.

The author and publisher thank Chris Bowyer, Dave Farquhar,  Martin Higham, Ross Inglis, Kevin Jacklin, Chris Lawson, Ivan Towlson,  and the many other playtesters who helped make this game possible.

Copyright © 1999 Pegasus Spiele GmbH
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please write:
Rio Grande Games, PO Box 45715, Rio Rancho, NM 87174
Email: RioGames@aol.com, Website: www.riograndegames.com

 

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This site is created and maintained by: Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson