Conception John & Laurie Van de Graaf
French version : Roland Danard
© 1988 Graaf Simulations
© 1999 R.Danard for the French version
"What do I care about the law? Hain't I got the power?" - Cornelius Vanderbilt
Continental Rails simulates the great railroad expansion in
America during the 19th Century. This is a game of fierce economic competition
in which you are one of 15 railroad tycoons seeking fame and fortune. There can
be up to 6 winners in each game, so you can select which goals you wish to
pursue. The game begins in 1841 after the first railroads were established. Each
game turn represents 1-2 years of time. The game has 2 phases, an eastern rail
building phase during the first 10 turns, followed by a western rail building
phase after turn 11. Each game will last over twenty turns, which provides
plenty of time to recover from setbacks. If
you don't do well in the first phase, then look ahead to the next phase.
The competition will come from your 14 rivals. You will know who the other players are. You can conspire with them or not; diplomacy is not necessary to play successfully. If they are doing too well or are obstructing your plans, you can always try to drive them to financial ruin, but they may be trying to ruin you. In addition to your rivals, you must contend with the vicissitudes of the stock market, boom times and panics, bank failures, and loan recalls.
To do well you must plan carefully and play boldly. Perseverance is also important. Don't be discouraged by a slow start, financial reverses, or even bankruptcy. You cannot be eliminated from the game, and even bankruptcy is only a temporary setback. It is quite possible for lower players to catch up with or surpass higher players in a few turns with shrewd investments.
In these rules, any comments enclosed in brackets are not rules, but are either historical notes, suggestions, or explanations:
[Any fractions are rounded down, except that the Bank rounds up when charging interest on loans, or where stated otherwise.]
[To simplify the numbers in use for money and shares of stock, each $1 of cash represents $100 and every 1 share of stock represents 100 actual shares.]
"Let everyone carry out his own corpse!" - Jim Fisk
There are 6 Victory Point categories. Each turn you will receive VP in five categories based upon your status at the end of the turn or for actions during the turn. Points in these categories are cumulative.
The sixth VP category is Rail Baron. This category is simply the
total of your percentage of the highest points in the other five categories.
This is recalculated each turn, and is never cumulative.
At the end of the game the player with the most VP in each category wins that category.
Robber Baron: Awarded for net worth at the end of each turn:
Bonus: 5 VPs to the first player(s) to have a net worth over $1,000,000
Rail Mogul: Awarded to Directors and Presidents of Railroads at start of turn:
No Mogul points are awarded if the railroad owes any debt to the President at the end of the turn.
A President loses -5 VP if the railroad goes bankrupt or is reorganized during the turn.
Rail Builder: VPs are awarded to railroad Presidents for extending their railroad(s) to regions they did not connect to at the start of the turn. These VPs are awarded whether accomplished by building a Right-of-Way, or by merger of a Private Company.
When 2 railroads merge during a turn, the President receives VPs for each new region not connected to either Railroad at the start of the turn, along with any bonus points.
2 Points for each new region linked to the Railroad
VP are doubled if first Railroad to link to the region
Bonus Points for linking these regions:
Bonus is doubled for first Railroad to link these regions.
You cannot receive the same bonus points twice. If you have received bonus points for linking Pacific to Gulf, you will not receive points for linking Pacific to Mississippi, even if a different Railroad is involved.
Rail Magnate: VPs are awarded to railroad Presidents for the number of regions connected to their railroad system. A railroad system consists either of one railroad or of two connected railroads controlled by the same President. In the case of 2 unconnected railroads, the one with the most Regions is evaluated.
Each turn: 1 VP for each region linked by railroad or system
Rail Prodigal: Prodigal VPs are awarded to tycoons for ostentatious spending for newsworthy expenses like purchasing a lavish mansion, endowing a college, funding a large library, or other impressive the like. Prodigal points are simply bought each turn, if desired, by spending at least $1000.
There are 30 Prodigal points available each turn. 15 of these points are evenly divided among all tycoons spending at least $1000, rounded down. Any unallocated points, plus the remaining 15 points are awarded in proportion to each Prodigal's share of total Prodigal spending, again rounded down. Any remaining unallocated points are awarded 1 per Prodigal, from most to least, until all points are allocated.
Example: Tycoon A spends $15,000 for Prodigal, B spends $10,000, C spends
$4,000, and D spends $1,000; total spent on Prodigal = $30,000.
The point allocations are: first, each of the four Prodigals gets 3 points on an even basis of the first 15 points. The remaining 3 points, plus 15 more points (total 18 points) are awarded:
Only 17 points were allocated proportionately, so the extra point goes to A as
highest Prodigal. Final total points:
A gets 13 VP, B gets 9 VP, C gets 5 VP, and D gets 3 VP.
Rail Baron: Rail Baron VPs are calculated as the sum of each player's percentage of the highest VP score in each of the other 5 VP categories; i.e., the player with the highest total in a category gets 100 Baron points and each other player receives Baron points equal to his score divided by the highest score times 100. The maximum possible Baron points would be 500, meaning the player was in first place in all 5 VP categories.
The game will end on a random basis starting after turn 20. There is a 25 %
chance the game will end on Turn 21 and on each turn after Turn 21.
When the game ends, the winner in each category is the player with the greatest number of VP in that category.
The map depicts all the major railroad trunk routes in the US. Each route
connects two cities or towns on the map. The length of each route is stated in
the Appendix at the end of the rules.
During the game, you will receive a smaller laser printed map showing the current lines in each railroad and all active PCs.
Routes are the connections between cities. There are over 400 routes in the
game. Each route has an abbreviation of up to 4 letters and numbers. A route is
either a Right-of-Way (RoW) or a Private Company (PC). It is very important to
distinguish between these two types of routes since only PCs can become active
Railroads and only players can purchase PCs. Rights-of-Way can only be acquired
by Railroads for subsequent track building.
Some routes are shown with a double line, meaning that there are 2 routes available between the towns. No one Railroad can own both routes of a double route connection. Double routes can be two PCs, two RoWs, or a RoW and a PC, as denoted by the route abbreviations given on the map.
A list of all RoWs and Private Companies is provided at the end of the rules.
[The names and locations of the Private Companies are generally historically accurate. Some PCs are not in their actual original locations (like the Sea Coast Line and Grand Trunk Western), some names are the better known names adopted after mergers of small lines, like the New York Central and the Chesapeake & Ohio, and a few are ficticious.]
A Line is defined as a built route which is part of a railroad. A Line may originally have been either a PC or RoW. A railroad must have at least one Line (its original PC route). All Lines in a railroad must connect to at least one other Line in the railroad.
Cities and towns are represented by either a star or a circle containing a number value. Circles with no number have a value of 1. Each town has a size of 1 to 5, smallest to largest. The actual value of the town is the square of the size for most game purposes (a 5 city is valued at 25). Starred towns are towns used to determine Region connections.
[The size of the town reflects the economic importance of the town and nearby area in addition to the actual population of the town itself, and reflects the values after the railroads reached them.]
|Region||Main Cities in region|
|ATLANTIC||Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah|
|OHIO||Pittsburgh, Cincinnatti, Louisville|
|GREAT LAKES||Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit|
|DEEP SOUTH||Atlanta, Birmingham|
|MISSISSIPPI||St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg|
|GULF||Mobile, New Orleans, Pensacola|
|MIDWEST||Duluth, St. Paul, Omaha, Kansas City|
|SOUTHWEST||Ft. Worth, Houston|
|MOUNTAIN||Spokane, Butte, Salt Lake City, Denver, Santa Fe, Phoenix|
|PACIFIC||Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles|
|CANADA||Quebec, Montreal, London, Sault Ste. Marie, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver|
|MEXICO||Monterey, Juarez, Mexicali|
"I have the utmost respect for you gentlemen individually, but as
railroad presidents, I wouldn't trust you with my watch out of sight."
-A. B. Stickney, speaking to a group of fellow railroad presidents
There are 15 player positions in a game. Any player position not played by a
human player will be played by the computer until a human player is assigned to
that position. Computer-played positions can take any action a human player can,
except negotiate with other players, of course. New players may be assigned to
unplayed positions during the course of the game.
Unless the game is an anonymous game, you will be told who the other players are, their address, and their phone number at the start of the game. After the first turn, you can find out a player's address and phone number by spying on the player. You may choose not to have your address and/or phone number given to other players if you wish.
Every player position has a number from 1 to 15 assigned at the start of the game. These player numbers cannot be changed, and are used for most game purposes to distinguish between players. Thus if you want to spy on another player, you must give his player number, not his character name.
Every player has a character name. You may choose your own character name, or a random historical character name will be assigned. You may pick a name before the game begins, on the first turn, or after going bankrupt. Two players cannot have the same character name. If two players want the same name, one will get that name and the other will get a random historical name.
Each player starts the game with some stock in each of the initial railroads and some cash. All players begin the game with identical cash and assets. Players taking over computer positions later in the game may begin with a different amount of cash and/or assets.
Each turn a player receives revenues and pays expenses. Revenues come from stock dividends, Private Company income, interest on bank deposits (i.e. cash), plus whatever other income he receives from dealing with Railroads. The only automatic expense is paying interest on any loan the player has made from the bank.
[Borrowing is a two-edged sword. The extra money will enable you to spend for more things on a given turn, and can generate a lot more profit, particularly in good economic climates. On the other hand, your credit limit is subject to the vicissitudes of the values of your assets and of the economic climate. A seemingly safe loan can suddenly become excessive if your assets depreciate, resulting in loan recalls or even bankruptcy. You can never go bankrupt if you have no loan outstanding; but you will have less leverage than the other players who are borrowing money. The trick is to borrow a safe amount and beware of a sudden economic downturn.]
The public be damned! I am working for my stockholders."
- William Vanderbilt
A Railroad is defined for this game as a company which has issued stock to the general public and consists of at least one Line of track. A Railroad is created when a player incorporates a Private Company. All Lines of track in a Railroad must connect to at least one other line in that Railroad.
Stock represents a share in the ownership of a Railroad.
Definition of terms:
Shareholders are those who own issued stock
Treasury Stock is unowned stock held by the Railroad
Unissued Stock is the same as Treasury Stock
Issued stock is stock owned by players and by the Public.
Authorized Stock is the total of issued plus treasury stock.
Stock can only be bought and sold via the Stock Market, except for new stock issues or treasury stock sales by a Railroad to its president.
Active railroads at the start of the game will generally have some unissued stock in their treasury.
"If this printing press don't break down, I'll be damned if I don't
give the old hog [Vanderbilt] all [the stock] he wants of Erie."
- Jim Fisk during the Erie war
Efficiency under 50 is very unprofitable.
Certain routes are prohibited from being part of a Railroad. Prohibited
routes cannot be acquired by the railroad in any fashion. Thus, a Railroad
cannot bid for a prohibited RoW, a PC cannot merge into a Railroad if it would
be a prohibited route, nor may two Railroads merge together if it would result
in prohibited routes.
1. No Railroad may own both routes in a double route connection.
2. No Railroad may have more than ONE route linking to Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, or New Orleans.
Rule 2 means that no railroad can "run through" the listed cities, so Eastern railroads cannot extend into the western half of the map and vice-versa.
"If you have to pay money to have the right thing done, it is only just and fair to do it." - Collis Huntington on bribing politicians
"It's good fishing in troubled waters." - Dan Drew
A Railroad may pay dividends to its stockholders each turn, if it has
sufficient cash available.
Dividends are paid during the RR operation phase, which occurs before stock splits. If two Railroads merge, their operations are combined and the dividend rate of the surviving railroad is used for paying dividends to the combined shareholders.
Dividends may not exceed $99 per share on any turn. The President sets the proposed dividend rate. A Railroad without a player President will set a reasonable dividend rate.
[In theory dividends should only be paid out of net profits of a corporation. In this era the Directors were not actually restrained from paying dividends out of whatever cash was available, and Railroads would at times keep paying dividends despite lack of profits or losses in order to maintain the stock price.]
In real corporations, the stockholders elect the Board of Directors, and the
Board of Directors in turn elect the President and other corporate officers. In
corporations with a large number of stock shares issued, the voting process can
be effectively controlled by stockholders with a relatively low percentage of
In this game, the election of officers is simplified and occurs automatically so as not to slow the game. Elections take place at the end of each turn for next turn's officers. Voting is based upon the number of shares owned by each player at the end of the turn. Players may specify which railroads they wish to control as President on the following turn.
A railroad may "double-track" any line it owns. This means laying
another set of tracks along its right-of-way, which reduces congestion and
speeds up shipping. The busier the route, the more cost effective this is. A
double tracked route increases revenue by (City1 value + City2 value)%; for
example, double tracking between a value 4 city and a value 5 city increases
revenues by 41%.
The cost to double track is 25% the cost of the cost of normal laying track per mile: city size does not affect this building. The cost to double track must be paid out of cash (no bonds or loans issued to finance this expenditure).
A railroad may declare a rate war with any other railroad which has one or more parallel routes by setting a percentage amount to reduce revenues along any parallel lines. The other railroad must automatically match the rate reduction to stay competitive. For example, the Penn railroad could declare a 25% rate war with the READ railroad, meaning both railroads would only receive 75% of normal gross revenues. Operating costs, however, remain the same, so an efficient railroad with lower costs will do better in a rate war.
During the game period, locomotives evolved into large, powerful machines. In
1841, only the Lion engine is available, but new locomotives will become
available during the course of the game, particularly after the Civil War.
When a railroad incorporates, it begins with the best locomotive available. As new locomotives become available, a railroad's maximum possible efficiency will decrease if it does not purchase the new locomotives. Heavier and faster locomotives are expensive because rails and bridges must be strengthened, curves must be gentler, and other substantial roadbed improvements must be made to use the better engines.
The cost to purchase a better locomotive is $10 time the difference in locomotives per mile of track. For example, if a railroad has type 1 Lion engines and wants to buy #4 Mogul engines, it must pay $30 per mile of track. Engine cost must be paid from cash; no loans or bonds will be issued for this cost.
A railroad may upgrade to one new locomotive per turn. A railroad does not need to purchase every locomotive, and it may immediately upgrade to the best locomotive if several are available.
|1||Lion 0-4-0 (game start)|
At the start of the game in 1841, the only technology available is Grand Stations. New technologies will become available during the game, slowly before the Civil War, more rapidly after the Civil War. Technologies always come available in the sequence specified below.
When a railroad first incorporates, it begins with all technologies currently available except Grand Station.
A railroad president may only buy ONE new technology per turn from the list of technologies available for that railroad. The cost to purchase a new technology is $10 per mile, except for Grand Stations which cost a flat $10,000. The purchase cost for a tech must be paid out of RR cash; no loans or bonds will finance this.
A Grand Station may only be built if the railroad connects to a size 4 or size 5 town at the start of the turn. A railroad may only have one Grand Station.
Different technologies have different effects:
|A||Grand Station increase revenue|
|B||Switch Yards decrease costs|
|C||Steel Rails decrease costs|
|D||Coal-burning engine decrease costs|
|E||Block signal system prevent disasters|
|F||Automatic couplers improve safety|
|G||Pullman sleepers increase revenue|
|H||Automatic brakes prevent disasters|
|I||Refrigerated cars increase revenue|
|J||Steel Bridges prevent disasters|
"The man who has money during a panic is a wise and valuable citizen." - Andrew Carnegie
The economic climate is a random game element over which the players have no
control. The climate may change from turn to turn, generally getting better
until a peak is reached, often followed by a severe downturn called a Panic in
the 19th century. You will be informed of the current economic climate at the
start of each turn. The climate changes during the stock market phase, but
revenues, interest rates, and building costs are all calculated based upon the
starting economic climate. Remember that a Panic can occur immediately following
any turn in which the climate is at Good or higher.
The economic climate affects the stock market and determines loan interest rates and credit margins. The economic climates are:
|Climate||Stock Market||Loan Credit Effect Int rate||Margin %|
Players receive interest on their unspent cash at a rate of one-half of the
loan interest rate.
Railroads pay interest on their bonds at a constant 6% rate.
Bank failures can occur during any economic climate below Normal. A bank failure causes a fraction of a player's cash deposits to be lost. It is assumed that these wily tycoons spread their cash deposits among many banks to minimize the effect of any one bank failing, so the major part of a player's cash is safe.
"Daniel says up, Erie goes up.
Daniel says down, Erie goes down.
Daniel says wiggle-waggle, it bobs both ways"
- Wall Street saying about Dan Drew's control of Erie stock
Example: If you begin the turn with $1500, borrow $1000, spend $500
purchasing a PC, and spend $200 buying treasury stock from a Railroad, you would
have $1800 available at the start of the stock market order checking phase.
If you make the following sequence of stock market orders (starting prices shown), your actions would be resolved in this fashion:
1st Sell 20 NYC @ $20/share -> +Credit of $200 = $2000
2nd Buy 100 B&O @ $10/share -> -Debit of $1000 = $1000
3rd Short 50 N&W @ $20/share -> -Debit of $ 500 = $ 500
4th Buy 100 SCL @ $10/share
At this point you lack the $1000 in cash and credit necessary to bid for 100
SCL. With $500 available, the computer will limit this to what you can afford,
and change the order to:
4th Buy 50 SCL @ $10/share -> -Debit of $500 = $ 0
All further buy orders would be aborted unless you sold more stock for additional credit.
Note that this order checking occurs BEFORE any stock market transactions
actually occur. You will usually make more money selling stock and spend less
purchasing stock than the minimum amounts calculated here. These calculations
are based on minimum income and maximum expense to make sure that you can afford
all shares you bid for no matter how badly stock prices fall. The stock market results shown in your personal report are your true income/expense during the actual stock market trading, after your orders were limited in the order checking phase. You will usually have a cash surplus after actual stock market trading.
"He who sells what isn't his'n
Must buy it back or go to pris'n."
- Dan Drew's saying on selling short
[The idea behind selling short is that you expect the stock price to fall, so you sell stock today, and make good on the sale by buying enough stock to cover the short sale later at the (hopefully) lower price. If you are wrong and the stock price goes up, then you must pay more for the stock and you lose money on the transaction. The short sale tactic is very effective during a panic or depression, particularly when a stock price is abnormally high. Selling short was also a popular method of raiding, i.e. trying to drive a competitor to ruin.]
All stock market trading occurs simultaneously after the stock order checking phase is completed. The sequence of player stock bids and sales has no bearing on the actual market trading. A player's sequence of stock actions is used only to determine the sequence of cash allocations for his or her own stock orders during the order checking phase.
If Directors own more than 50% of the issued stock, that stock is considered
cornered. An announcement will appear in the news reports for all cornered
A cornered stock has no effect on the stock price or trading; it is simply to advise players that no player can buy 10% of the stock of that railroad in one turn (to gain a directorship) under the bidding limits of rule 6.1(B) above.
If the price of a stock should exceed $100 at the end of a turn, the stock
will split. A stock can split 2 for 1, 3 for 1, or some higher integer ratio.
All stock owned is multiplied by the split ratio, and the end stock price is
divided by the split ratio (rounded
down). Note that a stock split will diminish the amount of dividends a Railroad can pay per share.
"A railroad company approaches a small town as a highwayman approaches his victim." - Henry George
The American Civil War started in 1861 and lasted until 1865. The railroads
had just started to expand across the Mississippi when the war started. The war
suspended westward expansion as both the North and South required that the
railroads concentrate on the war effort. The armies soon learned how vital the
rail lines were, and a main strategy became tearing up each other's rail lines,
which Sherman did so well in his march through Georgia. To historically simulate
the Civil War would be too drastic for a balanced game, particularly for the
Southern railroads, which were in shambles by the end of the war and had been
paid for their services in Confederate money.
The Civil War occurs on Turns 11 and 12. The effects are:
The Civil War effectively divides the game into an Eastern phase during the first 10 turns, with the Western phase coming after the war.
Each turn, you will receive a computer generated report of the main actions which occured on the prior turn and a summary of the current game situation. The Turn Report is divided into the following sections:
The first section will contain news headlines of important events which occured during the last turn, along with any messages or announcements from other players in the game, or from us. The historical messages under World & National News are strictly for historical flavor; these headlines have no effect on the game.
This section lists all the player positions in the game. The players are listed in order of their net worth, highest to lowest. For each player is shown the Railroads controlled, the PCs owned, their stock in Railroads you control or which you spied on, the player's real name (if not an anonymous game), and the player's phone number (optional for each player).
All active Railroads are listed in this section. The columns of data are:
|Track : The total mileage length of Lines in this Railroad.|
|Revenues: The adjusted gross operating revenue.|
|Op. Expense: The operating expenses based on efficiency.|
|Bond Debt: Total end of turn bond debt.|
|Loan Debt: Total end of turn short term loan debt.|
|Pft/sh: Operating profit (minus debt interest) divided by the number of shares issued.|
|Div/sh: The actual dividend rate paid per share that turn.|
|Land: The land owned by the railroad available to sell.|
|Grant: Potential land grant if railroad builds the RoW it owns.|
|Chr: Chairman (director with most shares)|
|Other Directors: All other Directors in addition to Pres and Chr|
Below the data columns are listed all of the Lines in each Railroad.
The stock market activity, stock data, and your stock activity for each
Railroad are shown in this section. The stock market activity for merged
Railroads is not shown.
The 5 left hand columns show the stock market activity. The end price is the stock price after stock splits and railroad mergers, so it does not necessarily show the price after market transactions.
The center two columns are the number of shares issued and treasury stock for each railroad.
The right hand columns contain the data on your stock activities, and the number of shares you own at the end of the turn. The last column of this section advises you of the maximum number of shares you can bid for (20% of the issued shares you don't own).
The last column shows the number of shares owned by the player you spied upon.
This section lists all PCs available and offered for sale by players, along with the current asking price. All PCs shown may be bid for on the current turn, but remember that a player can increase his asking price by 20%.
This section summarizes your cash flow for last turn's actions. The end cash
amount is the amount of cash you start the next turn with. If you go bankrupt,
the end cash will not be the net left after your actions. At the end appears a
summary of your assets, debt, and credit limit at the end of the turn.
In the right hand columns are displayed the cash flows of all railroads of which you are a Director and any you spied on.
Attached to each turn, except the final turn, will be a Turnsheet for you to
fill out all actions you wish to take for the current turn. You can always do
Personal Actions for your character. If you are President of any Railroads, you
will be able to give actions for those RRs.
The Turnsheet will usually indicate the maximum and minimum amounts for any action. Since the computer cannot predict your actions, you may actually be able to spend a different amount.
To the left of some boxes are railroad numbers. These numbers are only for our use in entering your orders, and you may ignore them. You may use these numbers instead of the railroad's abbreviation elsewhere if you want to.
Each turn, your character can perform the following actions:
If you do not own two Private Companies, you may BID FOR a PC.
The President of a Railroad can take issue any of the following actions for the Railroad:
In any turn in which the economic level is below Normal, a bank failure may occur causing a tycoon to lose a random amount of cash from the funds on deposit after stock market transactions. It is assumed that no wily tycoon would ever deposit all his money in any one bank, so losses can never exceed 33% of cash.
Random events are extraordinary costs a railroad may incur during a turn. The following random events may occur:
Note that all adverse events can be prevented with good efficiency, generous political donations, and up-to-date technology.
The player attaining the highest VP over all prior games in any category will be recorded and reported at the end of the game. A score of 500 for Robber Baron will replace the record of any prior record holder.
In this age of airplanes and automobiles, it is hard to visualize what the
invention of railroads meant in the nineteenth century. In 1800, there were very
few forms of inland transportation. Horse-drawn wagons were the primary means of
overland transport. Where geography permitted, goods could be more efficiently
transported along rivers or other water routes, and early towns arose near
waterways. There were two problems with water transport: first, you went where
the river went; and second, the northern waterways froze up during the winter.
You could always dig a canal, in effect making your own river going where you
wanted, and in the 1820's and 1830's canal building became very popular.
Unfortunately canals were extremely expensive and often impractical, and still
subject to winter freezing.
In the United States, the need for a good transportation system was essential to link the eastern seaboard with the huge interior region to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. When the first small railroads were begun in Britain, American entrepeneurs saw that this was exactly the reliable bulk transportation system America needed, and the first American railways, the B&O, the C&H, and others, were started in the early 1830's. Rapid improvements in railway technology quickly made canals and wagons obsolete for long distance transport.
After the railroads crossed the Appalachian Mountain barrier in the 1840s, the hard part was done. The rolling hills and plains west of the Appalachians were ideal for railroads, and so the race was on to the cattle and grain areas of the Midwest. The natural goals were Chicago and St. Louis, which were reached during the 1850s. The broad Mississippi River, however, was a formidable obstacle to the eastern railroads. Bridges were only feasable above St. Louis. In addition, Chicago and St. Louis did not permit railroads to pass through their cities in order to preserve their status as connection terminals.
As new railroads began to reach west out of Chicago and St. Louis, the Civil War in 1861 halted major rail expansion. The resources of the railroads were devoted to the war effort. The American Civil War was the first major war which used railroads extensively for supplying the large armies and for massive troop movements. When the war ended, the railroads were poised to expand westward to tap the rich resources of the west. The gold fields in California were the main attraction. A new race began across the vast western plains and the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The first 'transcontinental' link was completed in 1869 when the Union Pacific line met the Central Pacific in Utah.
It was not accidental that the nineteenth century was also the age of industrialization. The efficiencies of centralized mass production could only be realized when it became cheaper to produce and transport goods to a distant market than they could be produced locally. The extensive railway system made possible the integration and centralization of industry into monopolies during this era.
There were thousands of railroads begun by ambitious men during the period. Some prospered and became great Railroads, but many failed and most were absorbed into larger railroads. It was an era of unrestrained free enterprise, without any government regulation or interference. Railroading attracted all sorts, men of genuine vision and ability to unscrupulous robber barons seeking only personal profit.
By 1890 the basic rail network was complete and the federal and state governments began to seriously regulate railroad operations, which signalled the end of the era of the robber barons.
RECOMMENDED READING: The Robber Barons by Matthew Josephson, 1934, 1962.
Here are some very general suggestions on how to play the game based upon actual experience with the game. These suggestions are intended only as a guide. No set of guidelines can cover every situation, and there will be times when it would be best not to take the advice given.
The first turns. At the start of the game there will be about 6
active railroads and about 20 Private Companies available. Your first decision
will be whether to try to purchase a PC and/or to buy enough stock to become
president of one of the Railroads. You will probably want to borrow as much as
you can for your initial actions. Buying a PC is always a good investment,
especially if you can buy one cheaply. If you get outbid for PC's on the first
turn, keep trying on the next turn since fewer rival bids can be made.
If you want to control one of the starting railroads, you will want to purchase stock in the railroad. Concentrate on buying shares in one railroad, bid for the maximum number of shares, and ask to control that railroad. Sell stock in the other railroads if necessary to raise enough money for your stock bids. If the demand for stock is too great, no one will be able to buy enough to become president. Either sell out your stock and try elsewhere, or keep buying until your rivals give up on the railroad. If you own a PC connected to the Railroad, you will be in a powerful position to take control by merging the PC into it along with buying more stock.
Spy on the Railroad you are interested in so that you can see who else owns stock in that Railroad. Know who your direct rivals are.
Borrowing Money. You can never go bankrupt if you don't owe any
money to the Bank. Having no loan is very safe and very conservative, but
players who do borrow cash will be able to bid more for PCs and bid for more
stock, giving them more assets which can appreciate in value. While the economy
is enjoying above normal times, borrowing is relatively safe. In bad times,
however, depreciating assets can result in loan
recalls or bankruptcy. Never borrow more than you need, and be cautious about borrowing to your credit limit. A player who is near his credit limit can be ruined if the other players force his stock prices down.
PCs. Owning a PC gives you a lot of options. Usually you will want to either incorporate it and become president of the new railroad, or you will want to merge it into a railroad. Incorporating a PC is a safe way to become president of a railroad because you will own 20% of the stock; on the other hand some PCs have very little chance of expansion as a railroad (e.g. the B&H). Merging a PC into a railroad gives you a good stock bonus and may give you a directorship or even presidency, and enables you to bid for a new PC on the next turn.
Controlling a Railroad. What's a railroad robber baron without
a railroad to manipulate? Presidents have more ways to earn victory points, and
more things to do each turn. If you want to remain president, watch out for
rivals who want to take it from you. A short railroad is vulnerable to PC
mergers which can alter the percentage of shares dramatically. You can protect
your position by merging your own PC into the railroad, or by purchasing
treasury shares from the railroad, or by buying more stock on the market.
If you own two railroads, try to connect them. This will give you the option of merging them, and will give you a larger railroad system for victory points.
Running a Railroad. Bid for a westward right-of-way, then start building to westward regions. The goal is to connect to new regions, particularly to the Central and Mississippi regions. The routes into these regions are limited, so waste no time. Spend for political influence if another railroad connects to the RoW you want. How you run the railroad depends on what victory points you want to earn. You can loot the railroad for short term profit, or build the railroad as a long term investment. If you want the railroad to do well in the long run, be sure to raise its efficiency to the excellent range.
Playing the Stock Market. The rule is simple: buy low and sell
high. Unfortunately this is easier said than done. A stock's price can go up or
down depending largely on what the public and the other players do in the stock.
Fortunes can be made or lost quite easily. Stock prices in new railroads will
usually rise rapidly, but the number of shares you can buy will be relatively
Don't buy high priced stock during panics or depressions. This will cost you more in the long run than you can gain in the short term, and probably will lead to bankruptcy.
When you bid for stock, it is usually better to bid the maximum number possible. First, if all else is equal, your bidding pressure will raise the stock price, making the shares you buy more valuable. Second, you always want to become a director of the railroad, if possible. Buying a few shares of many stocks is generally a waste of time.
Never purchase more than 50% of a railroad's stock. If the stock gets cornered, the stock price will fall, and the biggest loser will be the person holding the most shares.
Selling stock short can be an effective tactic, but can also be quite dangerous to your financial health. If a stock price is too high, particularly in bad economic climates, selling short can be very profitable. This is best done as a group action for maximum effort to depress a stock's price.
|1||B&M||145||Boston & Maine|
|3||B&A||201||Boston & Albany|
|4||B&H||110||Boston & Hartford|
|5||NYC||148||New York Central|
|6||HRL||142||Hudson River Line|
|7||NYNH||110||New York & New Haven|
|9||CNJ||134||Central New Jersey|
|10||C&A||92||Camden & Amboy|
|14||B&O||160||Baltimore & Ohio|
|15||C&O||94||Chesapeake & Ohio|
|16||RF&P||117||Richmond, Fred. & Potomac|
|17||R&D||76||Richmond & Danville|
|18||N&W||82||Norfolk & Western|
|19||N&S||243||Norfolk & Southern|
|20||W&W||120||Wilmington & Weldon|
|21||W&M||133||Wilmington & Manchester|
|23||C&H||129||Charleston & Hamburg|
|24||S&A||138||Savannah & Augusta|
|25||SCL||139||Sea Coast Line|
|26||S&G||157||Savannah & Gulf|
|27||COG||86||Central of Georgia|
|29||P&LE||131||Pittsburgh & Lake Erie|
|30||MRLE||138||Mad River & Lake Erie|
|31||P&FW||191||Pittsburgh & Ft Wayne|
|32||G&C||94||Greenville & Columbia|
|33||GTW||107||Grand Trunk Western|
|34||M&C||193||Marietta & Cincinnati|
|36||A&WP||152||Atlanta & West Point|
|37||BRL||185||Blue Ridge Line|
|38||A&GW||116||Atlantic & Great Western|
|39||TP&W||140||Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw|
|42||A&C||137||Atlanta & Chattanooga|
|43||A&T||143||Alabama & Tennessee|
|44||GM&O||135||Gulf, Mobile & Ohio|
|45||N&C||151||Nashville & Chattanooga|
|46||NO&J||183||New Orleans & Jackson|
|50||O&M||165||Ohio & Mississippi|
|52||FW&C||114||Ft. Wayne & Chicago|
|53||C&C||202||Cincinnati & Chicago|
|54||C&EI||184||Chicago & Eastern Illinois|
|55||L&N||186||Louisville & Nashville|
|57||C&NW||120||Chicago & Northwestern|
|58||CRIP||150||Chicago, Rock Is. & Pacific|
|59||CB&Q||190||Chicago, Burlington & Quincy|
|60||CASL||185||Chicago, Alton & St. Louis|
|61||FEC||299||Florida East Coast|
|62||CNS||85||Chicago North Shore|
|63||M&SP||326||Milwaukee & St. Paul|
|65||M&LR||132||Memphis & Little Rock|
|66||V&T||173||Vicksburg & Texas|
|67||L&A||90||Louisiana & Arkansas|
|71||SL&A||99||St Louis & Alton|
|72||MKT||326||Missouri, Kansas & Texas|
|73||SLSF||239||St Louis & San Francisco|
|74||SLSW||155||St Louis & Southwestern|
|79||SP&P||286||St Paul & Pacific|
|80||KC&D||66||Kansas City & Denver|
|82||ATSF||183||Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe|
|83||KCS||98||Kansas City Southern|
|84||KCN||223||Kansas City Northern|
|86||SP&D||150||St Paul & Duluth|
|88||T&P||224||Texas & Pacific|
|91||LP&W||200||Levenworth, Pawnee & Western|
|92||LR&S||210||Little Rock & Shreveport|
|93||H&S||232||Houston & Shreveport|
|94||FW&D||195||Ft Worth & Denver|
|95||SA&H||219||San Antonio & Houston|
|96||C&S||116||Colorado & Southern|
|98||DRGW||116||Denver & Rio Grande Western|
|100||A&P||116||Atlantic & Pacific|
|101||M&W||197||Missouri & Western|