The players take actions, one after the other in order, until all players have passed. At the end of each round, players score points as a measurement of their progress. In a four-player game, the game ends after the 7th round. The winner is the player with the most points.
On your turn, you must either resolve an action or pass. To resolve an action, choose an unoccupied action space and place as many workers as required on that space. Then, resolve that action.
- ! Action spaces on the game board (and any engineers on it) let you resolve direct actions. All other actions, if not specifically labeled as direct, are indirect actions.
- ! Note: You cannot save actions for your next turn.
Playing a turn
Each turn a player will choose an empty/unoccupied action space, occupy it with the required number of workers and perform that action. You must consider the following:
- You must choose an unoccupied action space (i.e. one that is not already occupied by workers).
- You must place the exact/correct number of workers from your supply on the required action space you wish to use (i.e. 1, 2 or 3).
- You must only use workers from your personal worker supply.
- You must immediately make use of the direct/chosen action or pass.
- You must perform the direct action in its entirety.
- Engineers you have hired count as indirect actions. You can partially resolve these actions.
- You may perform only one action per turn.
- Actions that become available to you (either by choosing an action space or otherwise) during your turn go into your action pool. This means that you can resolve these actions during your turn, in any order you choose. You can also choose not to resolve indirect actions.
Note: Exceptions to these rules will be noted where applicable.
The areas of the board (possible actions)
- 1. Track extension
- 2. Locomotives and factories
- 3. Industrialization
- 4. Auxiliary actions
- 5. Engineers
- 6. Turn order track
1. TRACK EXTENSION
The track extension actions are among the most important in the game.
Each player’s personal player board depicts 3 railroads, which can be independently extended over the course of the game. These railroads are called Trans-Siberian railroad, Petersburg railroad and the Kiev railroad.
The better each of their railroads is developed, the more points each player will score at the end of each round.
First, place the required number of workers on one of the track extension action spaces. Then, advance the appropriate track(s) on your player board the number of spaces indicated on the action space.
You may choose to distribute track advancements between multiple railroads.
And so ends the action.
In order to earn more points, the players should strive to extend their railroads through the advancement of these tracks. To maximize their progress, players will also need to advance tracks of other colors, indicating tracks of higher value.
In order to advance the tracks in the other colors, you must first earn them. Your earn these tracks by advancing the black track to spaces 2, 6, 10 and 15 on the Trans-Siberian.
Once a player has advanced the black track to or beyond space 2 of the Trans-Siberian, they immediately take 3 gray tracks from the general supply. They place these new tracks to the left of each railroad depicted on their player board. They may now begin advancing their gray tracks. When a player’s black track reaches or passes space 6 of the Trans-Siberian, the player receives 3 brown tracks, space 10 grants access to 2 natural tracks and space 15 to 1 white track.
The two actions at the bottom of the area of rail extension.
To use this action, a player must place a worker and 1 coin/ruble. This action gives them two advancements of their choice (split between 1 or 2 tracks).
This is the only action in the game that may be used more than once during a round. When a player places a worker there, they must then move either a black or a gray track. The action space is not considered occupied and may be used again during the same round by any player (including players who have already used it).
The following must be observed when advancing tracks:
- Tracks advance in a specific unchangeable order: first black, then gray, brown, natural and finally white.
- A track can only be moved onto an empty space. A track may never catch up to or go beyond the track that is in front of it. As such, the order is always respected.
- Advancements may be split between different railroads.
- Not all railroads use every track color. Your player board shows which colors go with which railroads.
2. LOCOMOTIVES and FACTORIES
First, place the required number of workers on one of the locomotive action spaces. Then, take 1 locomotive from the lowest numbered pile in the supply. Finally, place this locomotive in front of one of the 3 railroads of your player board.
There can be only 1 locomotive on these railroads: St.Petersburg and Kiev. There can be up to 2 locomotives on the Trans-Siberian. The number of a locomotive indicates the number of spaces it can reach on a railroad.
The Trans-Siberian is the only railroad where there can be 2 locomotives. One of these is placed next to the board to the left of the track, while the other is placed directly on the board. You must add up the value of both locomotives on the Trans-Siberian to determine the total number of spaces that can be reached on this railroad.
To upgrade a locomotive, simply replace it with one whose number is higher. The “old” locomotive is not lost: you can move it to one of the other two railroads. When you move an “old” locomotive to a railroad where there is a locomotive, this can create a chain reaction.
When a player is unable to place a locomotive, they flip it purple side up and places it next to the locomotive supply. That locomotive will now be used as a factory. What are factories? They will be explained in the next section.
During each end of round scoring, you will only score points for the spaces that your locomotives can reach. Furthermore, special spaces are spread amongst your railroads and in order to benefit from their advantage, you must first reach them with a locomotive.
Factories are essential to the industrial development of your railroad network. Not only that, but each factory can be used to benefit from a unique ability.
A factory is depicted on the back of each locomotive. Locomotives with the same number all have the same factory on their back. Each factory grants its owner a special ability that they can benefit from
The ability a factory possesses is also depicted in the top left corner of a locomotive.
To build a factory, you must use the same actions that were required to build locomotives. First, place the required number of workers on the action space. Then, just like you did for the locomotives, take a locomotive from the lowest numbered pile in the supply. Flip this locomotive purple side up (with the factory) and place it under your board, in one of the 5 spaces reserved for factories. You must place your factories from left to right. If a player wishes to build a factory and there are some factories next to the locomotive piles, the player will be able to choose between one of the face up factories or one from the lowest numbered pile.
If you manage to fill your 5 factory spaces, you can replace them with other factories. When you wish to replace a factory, you must first place one of your “old” factories in the general supply, to the left of the locomotive piles, factory side up (purple side). Then, you place the new factory in the recently freed space. You do not have to replace your factories from left to right.
Note: How factories are used will be covered in the next section “Industrialization”.
Another type of action is possible: industrialization. Industrialization lets you score points during the scoring phase at the end of a round, and also gives you access to the abilities of your factories.
First, place the required number of workers on one of the industrialization action spaces. Then, advance your Industry marker the number of spaces indicated by the chosen action space. You will notice that there is a gap after the first 4 spaces of your industry track. You cannot move your Industry marker into or beyond this gap.
For your Industry marker to progress on your industry track, you must first fill these gaps with factories. This represents another way in which your industries are improving. Each factory features an industry space/slot (represented by a purple hexagon/circle) onto which your Industry marker can move. After each factory there is another industry space that becomes available. When a marker moves onto a factory, you must then immediately use that factory’s ability. If you are unable to use it at that time, the effect is cancelled.
4. AUXILIARY ACTIONS
- 1 Doubler
Place 1 worker on this action space to take 1 doubler from the supply. Then, you must place this doubler on an empty dashed space above the Trans-Siberian (and only there). You must fill these 8 spaces from left to right and there may only be 1 doubler per space. A track does not have to be present for you to be able to place a doubler. A doubler multiplies by 2 (doubles) the value of the space below it during scoring.
- 2 Rubles
Place 1 worker on this action space to take 2 rubles from the supply and then place them in front of you. Rubles may replace workers when playing on action spaces. Although rubles can replace workers, workers cannot replace rubles. Like action spaces occupied by one or more workers, an action space that is occupied by a ruble cannot be used again during this round.
- 2 Temporary workers
Place 1 worker on this action space to take the 2 turquoise temporary workers. You must use these workers during this round, and they act as if they were your own color. Just like rubles, you can use temporary workers by themselves (individually or together), or combine them with workers of your own color or rubles. You may not keep the temporary workers for the next round.
Engineers can help players during the game with their special skills. They can also give players a certain number of points at the end of the game. Each round, only one engineer can be hired. The engineer that can be hired is located in the right-most space (the hiring space) of the engineer area of the game board. To hire an engineer, you must place a ruble on the hiring action space. You then take the engineer from this space and place it, light side up, close to your player board.
The light side of each engineer shows an action. If a player has one or more engineers next to their game board, they may use these actions just like those from the game board. A player may use their engineer actions, even if they is unable to use the action completely. Another advantage to having “your own engineers” is that they are not “time sensitive”, meaning that since the other players do not have access to them, you are able to use them exactly when you need to.
The 2 light side up engineers on the game board
Both engineers that are placed light side up on the board allow players to use their respective action. Players are unable to hire these engineers. They represent extra action spaces available to all players, just like all other action spaces on the game board (track extension, locomotive, etc.). And just like all other action spaces on the board, these actions can only be used once per round.
The 4 left-most engineers
These engineers can neither be used, nor hired. However, at the end of a round, every engineer is moved one space to the right. In other words, these engineers will become available during future rounds. Seeing them lets players plan ahead for the rounds to come.
6. TURN ORDER TRACK
In this game, players do not play in clockwise order. The turn order track is used to determine player order. The player occupying the first position plays first, followed by the player occupying the second position, and so forth. Once the last player has taken their turn, it is once again the first player’s turn to play.
When a player does not wish to or cannot continue playing, they pass; this means that for the remainder of this round, they will not be able to play. Finally, to show that they are out of this round, they flip their Turn Order card and immediately scores the points shown on the back of their card.
The other players keep playing, one after the other, until every player has passed.
Note: Even if a player runs out of workers, this does not mean that they must pass right away. They can continue performing actions with rubles.
They can place one of their workers under the first or second position of the turn order track. This will be their position in the turn order sequence of the following round. A player may not place a worker on the action space under their current position in the turn order, nor may they occupy both turn order action spaces.
Special case: If the first player places a worker on the 2nd position (probably because they do not wish to move further back) and that no other player places a worker on the first position, the turn order will not change. The player still replaces their worker.
A worker, on a turn order action space, provides another benefit. Once the turn order has been reorganized, players who placed a worker on the turn order action spaces can each move their worker to a free action space. The player whose worker occupies the second position is first to move their worker. They take their worker from the turn order action space and moves it to a free action space of their choice (this can be one of their engineers). They then performs the corresponding action. Then, the player who placed his worker on the first space does the same, following the same rules.
When moving your worker, you must observe the following:
- You may only move your worker to an action that requires exactly 1 worker (i.e. you may not combine it with other workers, temporary workers, or rubles).
- If there are no better options, you can always use the bottom track extension action.
End game scoring
Scoring is based on the keys visibly reached on the boards. A key covered up as possible in Asian Railroads or used and then discarded via factory 10b would not count.