American Rails

OBJECTIVE OF AMERICAN RAILS: The objective of American Rails is to be the richest player when the game comes to an end.  

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 to 5 Players 

MATERIALS: 1 Game Board, 21 shares, 144 Track Cubes, Game Money, 5 Player Action Cards, 5 Summary Cards, 1 Black Marker for the Year Track, 12 Black Development Markers, and Instructions 

TYPE OF GAME: Bidding Board Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 14 and Up 


Working as wealthy capitalists, the players will attempt to manage a portfolio of stocks and bonds in a mix of six different railroad companies. They must quickly become aggressive negotiators, rigorous planners, and ruthless engineers in order to further their wealth. The player with the most money by the time the game ends will become the nation’s first railroad baron, winning the game! 


To begin setup, place the board in the center of the playing area. Beside their assigned space, the white cubes and shares are placed, creating the treasury and supply. The same action should be completed for the other five companies, creating their treasury and supply. A cube from each supply is then placed on the zero space of the income track.  

In the development supply area, twelve black development markers are placed. Each player should be given a summary card and an action marker that match in color. One player will be chosen to act as the banker, and they will collect all of the money. Money in the bank should be kept separate from company money and personal money. The banker will then deal fifty dollars to each player in three and four-player games, or they will deal forty dollars to each player in a five-player game.  

The game is then ready to begin.  


Before gameplay begins, one share from each company is auctioned. The banker will be the first to bid or pass. The minimum bid for a share is ten dollars. Continuing clockwise around the group, each player must bid or pass, and once a player passes, they are not able to reverse their choice. The last player to pass will win the share.  

To begin the round, the players will refer to the action markers. The player who has the action marker at the top of the track will move their marker to an empty space and choose if they want to take that action. The next player in order will do the same thing. This will continue until all players have moved their marker and taken an action. The next two rounds are determined by the previous action phase.  

The player who has an action marker closest to the top of the track moves their marker to an empty space on the right. The next player will do the same thing. After the three action phases have concluded, the players will receive a dividend. The payment that the players receive depends on the income of the company that they own shares of. After all companies have paid their dividends, the round comes to an end. 

The game will continue in this manner for a maximum of seven rounds. The game may end before if the conditions are met.  


The game coms to an end after the players have received their dividend and one of the following conditions are met: it is 1857, all shares have been sold or used, or there are limited number of supplies. The players will then tally their points, determining the winner. The player with the most points, wins the game! 

Ellie Phillips
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