Originally designed by Andrew Poole, these are the Variable Pig house rules for RR Discovery. Explore uncharted territories and race your trains in exotic empires of imagination!
1. All the standard rules of RR, including house rules, apply except where amended below...
2. Players start the game with a blank hexsheet that will either be emailed out as an image file (example here) or printed for them. In the original rules a "type C" sheet with 52x33 hexes was stipulated. This is a sensible size but the map can be whatever dimensions the GM says, to accommodate the fictitious map (example here) he has designed for the game.
3. Each player has three or four survey teams at his disposal. They are used to explore the map and report back on towns, hills, rivers or other features they discover.
4. Start hexes area determined in the usual way by preference order. The GM will name the available start hexes when the blank map is sent out. Hexes at the top of the map or in the four corners are possibilities. The survey teams, and the track building, both start from the player's hex.
5. There is one exploration only round (turn 1), six building rounds (turn 2-7) and six racing rounds (turns 8-13). Building and racing proceed as normal, with R12 being the last build and R11 the last discovery. In addition there is the Exploration Limit: This starts at a high number and reduces as the game progresses, the GM decides on the values according to the size of the map, for example:
*at the start of rounds 10 and 11, each company must disband one of their survey teams
the map currently in use in Variable Pig has a smaller play area, and the numbers are:
Each survey team may enter and explore any number of hexes up to the Exploration Limit for that turn. There are no extra costs to enter hill hexes, sea hexes, cross rivers etc.
6. All movements by survey teams must be continuous. They must start from the hex they ended the previous turn. Their movements may include hexes already that have been visited by another survey team.
7. Players should specify in their orders the routes of each of their survey teams starting from the last visited hex of the previous round. The results of the survey teams' explorations are emailed (or posted) to the player who controls them. See the examples below.
Orders (Exploration Limit = 8):
|Team 1||Team 2||Team 3|
|(J6)||(J20)||(Y13) lake, lake all directions|
|I6||J21 hill||Z13 lake, lake N & NW & SW|
|H5||J22 hill||A47 hill, lake NW, river N & NE|
|G5 lake SW||J23||B47 river N & NW|
|F4 lake S, river SW||J24 town (62), river S & SE||C47 river S & SW|
|E4 river S & SW||J25 river S||D46|
|D3 river S & SW, border N & NW||J26||E46 town (41)|
|C3 (Amerika con SP1&2), border S & SE||I27 ferry (S), sea NW & SW & S||F45|
|B2 (Amerika)||H27 sea, sea N & NW & S & SW||G45|
Where the GM leaves a hex reference blank, it's a clear hex. Also note that water obstacles (rivers, lakes, coasts) and country borders are shown in reference to adjacent hexes, while hills, cities and other features such as ferries and connection points are disclosed only when entered.
For the first Variable Pig game, the GM is doing the above graphically instead of via a text description: For discovery maps (sent to one player only), place a white layer over the top of the map image, and eraser-brush the revealed hexes. For public builds, a shared map is maintained by the GM and unknown areas hexes are black. Players can use the two maps provided to plan moves but may wish to create a combined map for their own use (paper or electronic).
8. There is no building of track in turn 1. From turn 2, builds are reported in the normal way with the addition that any noteworthy terrain (i.e. towns, hills, rivers and any other geographical feature) built through (or 'built adjacent to' in the case of river or other water obstacles) will be announced.
Such features as announced become public knowledge and are reported only on the first occurrence of the disclosure. As an option, the GM may decide to make a 'publicly exposed so far' map available to players.
9. Players can build track into areas that their survey teams have not explored and terrain types have not been published. If the cost of such a 'blind build' is in excess of the available build points, due (say) to the presence of a hill, the build will be curtailed at the preceding hex and the unused part of the die role will be lost. The fact that the build was curtailed will be reported.
10. If a race comes up involving an undiscovered key number (i.e. a town whose location has not been published), the location will be stated. Ferry connections for special runs may or may not be revelead at the GM's discretion.
11. The build limit, expressed in points, during racing rounds will be set by the GM according to the size of the map, e.g 12-10-8-6-4.https://variablepig.org