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How To Play Village Rails

village rails

Village Rails is a small game with only 12 turns, but every decision you make is important as you try to complete your railway better than your opponents. I really like this game and you can read my review here.

This is a How To Play written to get you to full steam as quickly as possible when learning the game.

Set Up

All players are dealt a corner piece and according the to the letter written on it (A, B, C or D) they will construct the rest of their ‘board’ using the same letter.

The railway cards are shuffled and stacked with the trip side facing up. 7 cards are drawn and placed in a column with the track side face up. Then draw 4 more cards for a column of trip cards.

Give all players 5 coins and leave the rest in the middle of the table. Shuffle the terminus cards and give each player 3 of them. Each player is also given a scoring dial and a reference card.

You are now ready to start with the first player being the person with the earliest letter in the alphabet on their ‘board’

How To Play

Over the next 12 turns you will complete a tableau of a 3x4 grid of railway tracks leading from the edge of your ’board’ to the outside edge. On each turn you must take and place a new railway track next to an existing track or your ‘board’. You may also take a trip card as well and place that around the outside of the ‘board’ to score for your completed lines.

Build A Track

You may take the bottom card of the track column for free. If you wish to take a card from further up the column you must pay 1 coin on each of the preceding track cards. Once you have taken your track card move all of the other cards down 1 space to fill the gap and then fill up the column with a new card so there are always 7 choices.

You must then place your new track in your tableau. It must be placed in a horizontal position and it must connect to either the initial ‘board’ or another track.

If you ever take a railway track that has money on it you add that to your pile.

Plan A Trip (can be done before build a track, after or not at all)

On your turn you may also decide to take a trip card. This will cost you 3 coins and then you are able to take the bottom card from the trip column. If you wish to take any card other than the bottom one you have to pay 1 coin on each of the preceding trip cards. Once again you must move all trip cards down to fill the gap and then draw a new trip card so there are always 4 choices. If ever you take a trip card with coins on it add them to your pile.

You then have to assign that trip to one of your uncompleted lines. Each line can have a maximum of two trips assigned to it. To do this place it to the outside of your initial board alongside the line you wish it to score for.

Completing A Line

When you have a line that has continuous tracks from the initial ‘board’ to the outside of your 3x4 tableau that line is considered completed.

You immediately score this line with any barns, farms, halts or signals that may be on the line. Sidings are scored at the end of the game. You then score any trips associated with this line. Finally, you use one of your terminus cards to generate money. This terminus card is then placed at the beginning of the line (on the outside of the initial ‘board’) and any trips that were here are placed on the bottom of the stack. You take the coins you earned from the terminus card and then take a new terminus card into hand so you always have 3.

How Scoring Works

Barns have a picture of a terrain type in the middle. You then score 1 point for each track on this line that has that terrain type.

Farms score one point for each different terrain type on the line.

Halts score the points written on them.

Signals score points according to the chart for the number of signals on the line. None or only 1 signal doesn't score any points but 2 would score you 8 points, 3 would score you 16 points and if you managed to get 4 signals that line would score you a game changing 24 points.

The way the trips score are fully explained on each card.

Game End & Final Scoring

Once all players have placed their last track card, scored their last 2 lines and any trip associated with it plus earned money for their terminus cards, final scoring can be completed.

Village Rails players will score additional points for each of their lines that has a sidings on it with a massive 49 points available for anyone who has sidings on all 7 lines. Then players are awarded 1 point per 3 coins they have remaining. The player with the most points wins with ties broken by the most coins.


I hope this has helped you to learn the rules and how Village Rails plays. Obviously, I would always recommend people use the official rule book to learn the rules in depth but this blog should give you a really good flavour of how the game flows.

I really enjoy the game and if you want to find me on twitter to discuss how brilliant Village Rails is please do @boardgamehappy.