Trick of the Rails is played over a series of rounds or “tricks” until players have played all cards from their hands. Follow these steps for each trick:
1. The lead player plays any card from their hand to the middle of the table. This card is called the “lead.”
2. In clockwise order, each other player must play a card from their hand. If they have a card of the same company as the lead, they must follow suit. If a player has no cards of the same company as the lead, they may play any other card.
3. Whoever played the highest numbered card of the same company as the lead wins the trick.
4. Then players will either gain company shares or lay track to railways. Which action the players will take is decided by the leftmost card in the Trick Lane.
- If it’s an Exchange card or a Railway card...
The winner takes that card from the Trick Lane and adds it face up in front of them as a company share (i.e., oriented so the share icon is at the top right). Then, if there are any Reservation cards left in the Trick Lane, the card the winner played is exchanged with the leftmost Reservation card, which is removed from the game. If there are no Reservation cards left in the Trick Lane, the card the winner played is removed from the game instead. The cards the other players played to this trick are added face up in front of the respective players as company shares.
- If it’s a City card...
The winner adds the City card to either end of any company’s railway. Then, each player (starting from the winner of the trick and going clockwise) adds their played card to either end of the railway corresponding to their card’s company.
- If it’s a Locomotive card....
The winner places the Locomotive card to the left of the railway of any company that does not already have a locomotive. Then, each player (starting from the winner of the trick and going clockwise) adds their played card to either end of the railway corresponding to their card’s company.
5. The winner becomes the new lead player for the next trick.
End of the Game
The game ends after the final trick has been played. Then, before a winner is declared, the value of each company’s shares must be determined.
Calculate the profit for each company:
- If the number of cards in that company’s railway is equal to or less than the locomotive’s travel distance, then the company’s profit is the sum of the station values of all cards in the railway.
- If the number of cards in that company’s railway is greater than the locomotive’s travel distance, then the company’s profit is the sum of the station values of a number of consecutive cards in the railway equal to the locomotive’s travel distance. Use the most valuable consecutive section of the railway.
Each company’s share value is the company’s profit minus the cost of the company’s locomotive. (Note: The company with the ∞ locomotive must still pay its cost.) If the result is negative, the share value is zero.
Each share that a player has is worth as much as that company’s share value.
The player with the highest total value in share holdings is declared the winner. In the case of a tie, the tied players share the victory.