Spotlight on Games > PrintNPlay
Print 'n' Play Game
November 13, 2011
Italian Rails – A crayon rails-style board game
game cover
What's New    in italiano  · auf deutsch
March 15, 2013
Now available for purchase from Print & Play Productions, including a hardback, laminated board.

Compared to Other Crayon Rails Games
Reduced Tableprint
Some of us like playing games at cafes, but crayon rails games can be problematic for that type of venue. They take up too much table space, both in terms of map and bits. So I decided to make a game with a map that could fit on just two standard sized pieces of paper, and also greatly reduce the number of needed bits, i.e. get rid of all of the load chips.

Unique Geography
Since Italy has so many mountains and rivers and ferries, I thought it would present some difficult challenges to play, particularly the ferries. In fact this may be the first variant in which using ferries must be considered as a viable alternative to railroad travel (for long north-south routes).

sample demand card
sample demand card
Chips to mark loads are not provided. Instead, the following scheme is used. When a loaded item corresponds to a demand on one of the player's cards, place a cube on that demand. A load that does not correspond to any current card, what we call a "spec load" (speculative), is represented by placing one of the player's cubes on the city where it was picked up. Note that there are at most three loads available of each type.

Special Locking Rules
The game also by default explains the game using the public-locking variant, although nothing precludes it being played in the traditional way.

Special Ferry Rules
Each player can complete any or all of the ferries. When completing a ferry line, the first player to do so marks off the cost circle at the tail of the arrow and pays this amount. The second player to complete marks off the circle at the arrowhead side and thus pays less.

Demand Card Arrangement
On every demand card, for convenience the highest payout is given at the top of the card and the lowest at the bottom, for easy reference.

sample event card
sample event card
Assembling the Game
Download one of each of these:
Map - northern half (letter-size PDF)
Map - southern half (letter-size PDF)
Rules (HTML)

Get out the paper cutter to trim off the quarter-inch edges of the map all around and then tape the two together to form the map.

Then, unless you want to write directly on the map itself, you probably want an 11x17" clear plastic sheet protector (or you could laminate it).

It is also possible to order handy china markers (grease pencils) in two colors for drawing track if one doesn't have crayons or wet erase markers.

There are 108 cards. These can be found in an album of card images at the famous ArtsCow site (About ArtsCow), where it's possible to add them to an order for two 54-card decks, each of which, in an amazing deal, can be shipped to you all the way from Hong Kong for just $5.99 each (or less, if a sale is on). It will be necessary to create an account if you don't already have one, but doing this will give you access to all sorts of different card sets.
Order Cards 1-54
Order Cards 55-108
It's possible to have a reasonable game with just the first deck if you feel unsure of ArtsCow and just want to try it in a small way first. It has only two events, one of them the important Taxation event, the other a volcanic eruption.

on a train
Playing Italian Rails on Italian rails
Route was Napoli - Roma - Firenze - Bologna - Padua - Venezia
Or, if you prefer to print yourself, download this 3x3 cards per page layout PDF (17 MB). Thanks to Justus Pang for preparing it!

Pawns, Markers and Money
Each player needs a train pawn of some kind – we use Mayfair's metal train miniatures – and three small tokens (cubes, disks, coins, etc.) in their own color.

Also needed is some way of tracking funds. We prefer Poker chips.

Congratulations, if you have completed all of the above, just read the rules and you're ready to go. Happy railroading, Italian-style!
Created October 6, 2009