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It is 1888, and everywhere you turn, people are talking about the horseless carriage. The players build an automobile prototype by patenting new parts, scavenging in the junk yard, and looking for opportunities to trip up their fellow automotive pioneers, all the while seeking to impress investors that are looking to get into car production. Gear & Piston is a simple, yet engaging 30-60 minute game for 2-6 players.



  • I. Place action tokens.

(between I and II, you may discard ONE blueprint)

  • II. Resolve actions.
  • III. Refresh Patent Office (Location #3) and Junk Yard (Location #4).


  • Back Alley (Location #2): *WARNING* The Action Token placed in the Back Alley cannot be used during the next planning phase.
    • Choose 1 action from the following.
    # Black Market (draw 3 New Parts and keep 1)
    # Espionage (look at one player's blueprints and take one of them)
    # Union Muscle (move an Action Token ahead in another location)

  • Patent Office (Location #3): Take 1 New Part, either from the face up parts or from the top of the stack. You can only hold a maximum of 5 blueprints in hand, so if you already have 5 blueprints, any further Patent Office actions are wasted.

  • Junk Yard (Location #4): Take up to 2 Junk Parts, either from the 3 face up parts or from the top of the stack. If a face up part is chosen, it is replaced before the second is chosen. You can only hold a maximum of 5 blueprints in hand, so if you already have 5 blueprints, any further Junk Yard actions are wasted.

  • Workshop (Location #5): Actions that may be used are Build, Dismantle, and Upgrade. The FIRST action token placed in this location provides for 3 workshop actions. The SECOND action token placed in this location provides for 2 workshop actions. Every further action token at this location will only allow 1 workshop action. The last player to place an action token here will be the first player to act in the next round.
    • Choose action(s) from the following.
    # Build (add 1 blueprint from your hand to either the front half or the back half of your automobile)
    # Dismantle (remove 1 part from your automobile and discard it)
    # Upgrade (replace ANY NUMBER of parts on your automobile with parts of the same type and colour from your hand)


You start out building your automobile in 2 sections - the front and the back. At the end of the game, the 2 sections will be joined together.

  • Each automobile requires:
    # at least ONE engine (consists of a motor and at least one fuel tank of the same color);
    # at least ONE Gear;
    # at least TWO Axles; and
    # exactly ONE steering mechanism.

Further Building Notes:

  • Every motor requires a matching fuel tank but there can be extra fuel tanks.
  • Colored improvements and fuel require a motor of same color.
  • Each part on the top row requires a part on the bottom row and vice versa.
  • All parts must be supported by an axle. Each Axle supports only the five parts surrounding it (3 above, 1 on either side).
  • There are bonus points at the end of the game for each player for their longest contiguous chain of parts of the same colour.


  • There are not enough tiles to refill a location from the refill Stack.


  • One of the players has a complete automobile with at least twelve parts on it (builder must click the 'join' icon in the workshop to join the 2 halves of the car).

At the end of the game all players must join the two halves of the car and have a complete automobile. Players may need to complete their automobile by adding scrap. Illegal parts must either be covered up or have scrap added to make them legal. Each scrap acts as a single part. In the top row it can be a motor, fuel or steering. In the bottom row it can be an axle or a gear. The smallest complete auto is 6 pieces. Do not keep adding scrap to your vehicle if it would make your car longer than 9 or you risk crashing the game. If your car is that long and is incomplete there is an illegal part that must be covered up.


  • VP according to Investors

The first investor cares about the number of each icon. If there are 0 or 1 of range, comfort or power it is worth no points. The first two range are worth 2 or 3, first two power and first two comfort are worth 1, 2 or 3, based on the investor's preference and each additional is always worth +2 VP regardless of the investor's preference.

  • +1 VP for each part of the same color (red, green, yellow or grey) in the largest continuous section. Each car will have at least 4 grey parts so its likely to be the dominant color. Scrap parts have no color.
  • -1 VP for each point of Volatility not countered by a wrench icon.


  • Keep an eye on what other players are doing. If three people are building the same color of engine it is going to be very hard for all of them to succeed.
  • Make sure to build often enough because you can hold a maximum of 5 blueprints at a time. Also if you aren't in the first two spots in the workshop you aren't going to get enough actions to finish your car.
  • It is advisable to visit the Junk Yard every now and then especially if there are some parts without Volatility for grabs. The junk yard also has only the 5 kinds of parts required to finish a vehicle so if you are missing a key part you are much more likely to find it here than blindly drawing from the patent office.
  • The game can end surprisingly fast and each Black Market action and blind draw from the Patent Office makes the game end even faster.
  • Remember that you can upgrade multiple junk parts with one workshop action.