Rail Baron

Rail Baron was designed by Thomas F Erickson, Jr., and is published by the Avalon Hill Game Company.

The original postal rules were devised by Rob Thomasson with contributions from Don Turnbull.

This document contains the postal rules only. Here is a scanned pdf of the F2F rules. For other Rail Baron goodies go to http://www.insystem.com/rbp/


1. The Avalon Hill rules will be used except where modified below.

2. Rail Baron is suitable for between four and six players.

3. Each player will be expected to assume the name of a Rail Baron or Company.

Game Schedule

4. The game will be played in periods, each period consisting of one or more turns as decided by the referee.

5. The number of turns in each period will depend on the movement die rolls for each turn and the expected number of arrivals during the period. The intention will be to include as many turns as possible without requiring orders to be unduly complicated.

6. When a declaration is made by one or more players, there will be one turn in each period until the player who has declared is intercepted, or the game is completed.

Home Cities And Destinations

7. Home cities and destinations will be determined by the referee using the standard tables.

8. When determining the destinations required for the first period, the referee will ignore any die rolls indicating that two successive destinations fall within the same region, as the players will not have had an opportunity to state their preferences for alternative regions.

9. Players will be informed in the game report of their next two destinations.

10. It may become necessary to supply additional destinations for a player if he has short journeys, in order to avoid slowing the game down. These will also be included in the game report.

11. If a player finds that he requires more destinations than he has been given (i.e. he will reach all given destinations and still have movement in hand) he should provide conditional orders or ask the referee to move on his behalf.

12. Players should inform the referee of the alternative region to be used in the event of two successive destinations falling within the same region.

13. If a player fails to supply the referee with alternative regions as above, he will have to suffer the consequences.


14. The movement allowance for each player is made up of Basic movement, Bonus movement and a Modifier.

15. For each turn the referee will roll two 6-sided dice for Basic movement and one 6-sided die for Bonus movement (to be used by Superchiefs, Expresses and Double-Sixes as per the standard rules).

16. Each player makes use of the same Basic movement allowance each turn. All players qualifying for Bonus movement make use of the same Bonus movement allowance each turn. Bonus movement will only be rolled if there is a possibility of it being used.

17. Players will be informed in the game report of their movement allowances for the turns in the next period.

18. Players should inform the referee of the routes to be used during the period, including details such as railroads used, junctions, etc. The route should not simply state the railroads to be used without clarifying the route to be taken. The referee will use discretion and a suitable random process to resolve ambiguities, but will make no special effort to resolve them in the player's favour.

19. Players should bear in mind that railroads may be purchased during the period. Movement orders may be made conditional on whether a particular railroad has been bought or not, or upon the outcome of auctions.

20. Players should also bear in mind that if they qualify for Bonus movement, they may be able to leave a destination in the same turn that they arrived if none of the Bonus movement allowance was used to reach the destination.

User Fees

21. All payments for the use of railroads are based on the ownership at the beginning of the turn in question, but following any auctions that may have taken place.


22. Payoffs will be credited by the referee when a player arrives at a destination.


23. Players should inform the referee of any purchase they wish to make on arriving at a destination.

24. Purchase orders may be made conditional on previous purchases in the period, and should consider the number of purchases that could be made by all the players throughout the period. If the items requested are not available, no purchases will be made.

25. In the event of two or more players arriving at destinations using exactly the same movement allowance and wanting to purchase the same railroad, preference will be given to players in priority order. The priority order for the first turn is the order that the names appear in the report. For the second turn, player two has top priority, player three for turn three, and so on. Once each player has had top priority it returns to the first player.

26. Purchases will always be made if possible. The amount of cash remaining after the purchase will not be taken into consideration unless specifically requested by the player.

Sales And Auctions

27. If a player goes into debt at any time during a period, even if he ends the period out of debt, he must start the next period by raising enough cash to cover those debts. Cash in hand at the end of the period may not be used to settle the debts.

28. Sales and auctions take place before the first turn of a period.

29. The player may sell any railroads to the bank for half their face value, or he may put one or more railroads up for auction.

30. The player in debt may put reserve prices on all railroads put up for auction. If this reserve price is not met or exceeded in the bidding, the railroad will be sold to the bank, which will pay half face value.

31. The referee will inform players of any railroads being put up for auction. Players may then send their bids with their orders for the next period.

32. If the referee is not informed which railroads are to be sold or auctioned (i.e. the player did not expect to get into debt, forgot, or did not submit orders) he will auction the railroads from the cheapest to the most expensive until the debt has been cleared. The reserve price of these railroads will be their face value.

33. All auctions will be a 'sealed bid' process. The highest bid (if that bid is equal to or higher than the reserve price) will obtain the railroad. Tied bids are resolved by the referee at random unless the player in debt has indicated a preference to sell to one player rather than another.


34. The game report will list all railroads and trains owned by the players.

35. The referee will show the cash-in-hand of the players, and will draw special attention to a player who passes the $150,000 boundary.


36. A period will be stopped at the end of a turn in which a player arrives at a destination and makes a declaration.

37. All movement allowances and orders for the unplayed turns of the period will be ignored. The next period will consist of a single turn with new movement allowances.


38. In order to intercept a player who has declared, a player must move his token through the point occupied by the declared player at the end of his movement for that turn.

39. If a declared player can reach his home city during the course of the turn he cannot be intercepted.

No Moves Received (NMR)

40. Players who fail to send in orders will have their tokens moved by the referee, who will use his discretion and suitable random processes. No purchases will be made.

41. A player who NMRs for three consecutive turns will be removed from the game. The referee may decide to ask for a replacement player, or he may simply return the railroads owned by the player to the bank.


42. The first player to reach his home city with over $200,000 cash-in-hand is the winner of the game.

43. Should more than one player arrive at his home city with the required amount of cash at exactly the same time, the player with the greater amount of cash will be the winner.

44. Should these players have the same amount of cash, the player with the greater value of railroads will be the winner.

45. Should they be equal on all counts, the game will be declared a draw.