Nineteenth Century Union Pacific Game Variant
Thanks for the suggestions of Mitch Gunzler.
Please forward any comments and additions to this variant to
GLG Note: This is a radical variant of the original game and almost qualifies as a rewrite of the game engine.
To play the variant, replace the original rules with the following except
Before the game
- Give each player $10 million starting cash.
- Lay out all the share cards face up in the open in decks of the same type.
- Place $2 million in cash above each share deck, including the Union Pacific deck.
These funds belong to the railroad companies themselves.
- Place the starting trains on the board as usual.
- Place one train token of the corresponding type next to each cash pile, except
for the Union Pacific which has no share tokens. (In this way, even if
all the shares of a railroad are sold out, you can still tell to which
railroad the money belongs. This token is available for placement on the
board, but must be the last one played.)
- Divide the track cards into four decks by type.
- Into each stack shuffle one of the 4 "A" track cards.
- Into each stack shuffle one of the dividend cards.
- Place the 4 decks face up. No one should know in what position the dividend cards are and
if they start on top, re-shuffle this deck.
- Determine the player order.
Playing the game
Players take turns in clockwise order, each executing all of the following steps
before the next player does so.
- Additional Investment
The player may buy and sell as many shares from as many railroads or the bank
as funds allow. Initially, all of the shares belong to the railroads, but
when a player sells shares, they are assumed by the bank. (Think of the bank as
"the stock market".) If shares are available
from both the bank and the railroad, the player may decide from where to purchase
The price of a share is the number of train tokens that that railroad
currently has on the board multiplied by $1 million. Money is paid to or received
from the bank if the share is bought from there or if purchased from the company,
one half the purchase price, rounded down, is paid to the railroad company.
The price of a Union Pacific share is the number of shares currently outstanding
(i.e. owned by players) plus 1 and then multiplied by $1 million.
If a player controls more than half of the purchased Union Pacific shares,
he may also use the Union Pacific company to acquire shares of other companies.
Place acquired shares next to the Union Pacific cash fund. He may may also
sell shares held by the Union Pacific company back to the bank.
The player may expand one railroad by placing a train token
under the usual rules except that trains may
be placed on any type of track. However, in order to expand, the player must have
more shares in that railroad than all the other purchased shares. If a player does
not have sufficient shares, he may still expand the railroad if he proposes a placement
which is approved by other players so that the active player and approving players
control more than half of the purchased shares. In addition, expanding a railroad
costs money which must be paid by the railroad itself. Each placement costs $1 million.
If a player controls more than half of the purchased Union Pacific company shares
and the Union Pacific company controls more than half the number of purchased shares
in a company, the player may expand that railroad instead.
When a train token is placed, remove the top card of the track deck which
matches the track type on which the token was placed and place it in a discard
pile for this deck. Alternatively, if an "A" card is showing, the player may
choose to discard this card instead. If this action reveals a dividend card,
there is an immediate Scoring Round (see below).
A player, if he wishes, may now pump personal funds into railroad companies if he
wishes. Simply transfer the funds into the cash funds of any of the companies.
Whenever there is a scoring round, both companies and players receive cash.
Following these payouts, set aside the dividend card.
- First, players receive cash as normal for all railroads but the Union Pacific.
- Then, railroads receive $1 million for each token on the board and $1 million for
each its shares which has been purchased, unless more than half of the
company's shares are owned by the Union Pacific, in which case the payout
goes to the Union Pacific company instead.
- The Union Pacific then pays its primary and secondary shareholders. The primary
shareholder receives 25% (rounded up) of the cash currently held by the
Union Pacific company while the secondary shareholder receives half that
amount (rounded up).
Ending the Game
When a track deck runs out of cards, do not re-shuffle it, but continue to play
until all 4 dividend cards have appeared. When this occurs, remove one of the
dividend cards from the game and reshuffle all the track decks. Add one dividend
card to three of the decks, chosen at random, and so that no one knows which decks
After this, play again until all 3 dividend cards have been revealed and remove
another from the game, dealing 2 back in as before. When these 2 appear, remove
one more and randomly place the remaining one randomly in one of the decks. When
this card appears, the game is at an end. If no one can expand any company, the
game also ends.
At the end of the game, the winner is the player with the most cash.
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Page Last Updated: 4/10/03