The game of Bus Boss was designed by David Watts and is published by Theo Clarke.
These rules by Keith Thomasson combine the 2nd edition face-to-face rules with the 7th edition postal rules to provide a single reference point for postal games of Bus Boss.
1. Bus Boss is a game for three to six players. Players develop a network of bus routes between the towns and then earn revenue by running services over their networks. Each map has 52 destinations, keyed to an ordinary pack of playing cards. Major towns will be represented by two or more cards, while some destinations (usually neighbouring countries) appear in more than one location on a map.
2. A game of Bus Boss takes place in two stages:
3. The winner is the richest player at the end of the last round.
4. The referee will determine the initial order of play.
5. Each player starts with a total of 100 points.
6.Players must provide the referee with a name for their company and a preference list of colours to be used to identify the player's routes.
7. In the first round the order of play is that determined by the referee. For subsequent rounds, the player who was second in the previous round now goes first, with the player who was first going last. For example, four players would operate in successive rounds in the order 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-1, 3-4-1-2, etc.
8. In each round, each player may purchase one route of any length, or two, three or four routes whose total cost is not more than twelve. Note that if a single route is purchased it is not limited to a cost of twelve.
9. The cost of a route is the length of the route as shown on the map plus two. The total cost of purchased routes is deducted from the player's cash.
10. All purchased routes must connect to the player's network, either at a town or at an intersection of routes between towns.
11. In the first round, players' routes may connect to the routes of other players (unlike the face-to-face game, where the first round routes may not meet).
12. Where more than one identical route exists on a map, a player may only ever purchase one of these. If two routes start side by side but diverge before reaching their destinations, a player may buy both of these routes.
13. During Operating Rounds, players run buses between pairs of destinations determined by the referee. Points are awarded for the finishing positions after all entrants have completed the run.
14. The number of runs in each Operating Round will be as follows:
15. Each playing card (i.e. destination key) will be used once in rounds 7-9 and once in rounds 10-12. Variable Pig (and some other zines) have a house rule stating that in each round, 6 of the races are taken up with the 6 combinations of two different suits (♠-♦, ♠-♥, ♠-♣, ♥-♦, ♥-♣, ♦-♣).
16. The referee will determine the runs to be made in each round. This is done by drawing playing cards and matching them to their destinations.
17. No run will be offered which is less than three spaces in length.
18. The referee will not guarantee that the runs on offer can be made when offered. It is possible that some runs will include destinations which have not been reached by any player.
19. Where a run offers more than one start or end point, each player chooses which location to run to or from.
20. Players may enter up to five of the runs on offer in any round. If there are only two or three players left in the game they may each enter up to six runs.
21. Runs not made due to there being no entrants, or which cannot be run due to the lack of connection to the players' routes, are re-offered in future rounds. Note that the maximum number of runs that may be entered by a player in a round remains unchanged, however many runs are carried forward from previous rounds.
22. Players may only enter runs if they use at least one space of their own routes.
23. Players use their own routes freely, but pay one per space to use other players' routes. No player may refuse to allow their routes to be used.
24. No player may pay more than ten in total to other players for a run. If the run cannot be made without paying more than ten, the run is not made.
25. If the length of the journey for a player's is more than twice the length of the shortest journey for the run, the player may not enter the run.
26. Two or three players can agree to operate a joint service for a run, counting as one run for both players. Payments and revenue are shared equally, with any odd amount benefiting the poorer player(s). The players act as one company for the run, running one bus. At least one of the players must submit details of the routes to use. If more than one players submits details, they must match for the joint run to take place.
27. The referee does the actual running, using an average die (i.e. a six-sided die with face values of 2,3,3,4,4,5).
28. When changing from one colour route to another during a run, one is taken off the die roll. This does not apply when changing between the routes of partners in a joint run.
29. A player may change from one route to another at towns and where there are junctions in-between towns (unless specifically prohibited by rules on the map).
30. Some maps refer to a deduction of one from the die roll when crossing an international frontier. Under 2nd edition rules this should be ignored.
31. Points are awarded for each run based on the number of entrants and the finishing position.
32. Two or more players arriving at the destination in the same turn share the revenue for the tied places. 'Furthest past the post' is not considered. Any odd points to be awarded due to tied places are given to the poorer player(s). Examples of revenue for players who tie for places:
|3 entrants, 2 joint 1st||13, 12, 5|
|4 entrants, 3 joint 1st||9, 9, 8, 4|
|4 entrants, 3 joint 2nd||13, 6, 6, 5|
33. After all runs in a round are completed, each player may purchase new routes. The order of play for building in Operating Rounds is determined by the players' scores at the start of the round. The poorest player goes first, while the richest player goes last. In the event of ties, the referee should determine the order of play. It is recommended that this is done by referring to the order of play for the previous round and reversing the order of play of the affected players.
34.During Building Rounds, players must provide the referee with the route(s) they wish to purchase. All towns on the routes should be named, and the total cost for the route given.
35. Players who are not first in the current round's order of play should bear in mind that their first choice of routes may be taken by earlier players. They should submit a preference list of routes to ensure that at least one choice can be purchased.
36. During Operating Rounds, players must provide the referee with details of the runs to be entered. Each run should list the route in detail and list payments to other players where relevant.
37. In the event that no moves are received from a player, the referee may hold the game over or may decide to adjudicate the round.
38. If the referee decides to adjudicate a Building Round with missing orders, the relevant player(s) will be permitted an extra build in the following round to make up lost ground. This extra build is not carried forward should the affected player(s) not make the build in the following round.
39. If the referee decides to adjudicate an Operating Round with missing orders, the relevant player(s) will not enter any runs.
40. If a player NMRs for two or more consecutive rounds, the referee may drop the player from the game. If this occurs, the player's routes will be taken over by the 'bank'. Players may use these routes during runs, paying the 'bank' instead of the original player. They may buy the routes from the 'bank' during Building Rounds or at the end of Operating Rounds. This is done at normal costs subject to building regulations.https://variablepig.org