- Type: Railroad
- Players: 3-6 Players
- Length: < 30 minutes
- Status: Available Now
- MSRP: $34.95
- Stock #: RIO555
- UPC: 655132005555
- Designer: Tom Russell
Northern Pacific is a luck-free railroad-building game for 3-5 players that lasts about twenty minutes. This game is in the same genre as TransAmerica.
Players start the game with one large investment cube and three small investment cubes in hand. The game board shows the United States from Minnesota to Washington; game play starts in Minneapolis/St. Paul. On a turn, a player either places one of their cubes in a city (other than Seattle) that hasn’t yet been reached by the train or builds track. If they build track, they choose one of the railroad lines exiting the city where the train is currently located and place a locomotive on it to show the current endpoint of the railroad line. Track has directional arrows on it, and a new train line can never move against the arrows or back to a city that the railroad has already visited.
When the railroad visits a city where players have placed investment cubes, they retrieve those cubes and take additional cubes from the supply: one new cube if they had a small cube in the city and two new cubes if they had a large cube.
When the railroad reaches Seattle, the round ends. Players tally the number of cubes in hand and records this number on the “good investments” track; they record the number of their cubes still on the game board on the “bad investments” track. They then reset the board as at the start of the game, then begin a new round. After three rounds, whoever has made the most good investments wins; if players are tied, then the tied player who has made the fewest bad investments wins.
You can play a single round of the game to determine a winner, if desired, or you can play new rounds with no recorded score, with a player winning the game if they win two rounds.
Two-Player rules for Northern Pacific
All of the regular rules apply with these exceptions:
Set aside a set of unused cubes in one color to be used as the neutral player. When locomotives connect to cities with neutral cubes, neutral cubes from that city are simply returned to the neutral player’s supply and are not scored. Players’ cubes in a city with neutral cubes are scored normally, or counted as bad investments as normal if not scored.
The maximum number of cubes total (player or neutral player) that can be in a city is 2.
At the end of each player’s turn, after they have either placed one of their investment cubes in a city or placed a locomotive, they must take an additional action. The additional action will be either:
A) If the end of the track is currently exactly one locomotive away from a city with a neutral cube that the track can still legally connect to, the player must add a locomotive to the track to connect to the city with the neutral cube. If there are multiple cities with neutral cubes that are one track away after a player has taken their standard action, the active player chooses which city with a neutral cube that the track connects to. Any neutral cubes in the newly connected city are returned to the neutral player supply. Any player cubes in the newly reached city are scored normally.
B) If at the end of a player’s turn, the end of the track is not exactly one locomotive away from a city with a neutral cube that the track can still legally connect to, then the player must add a neutral cube to a city that the track could still legally reach. The player may not add a neutral cube to a city that the player added one of their own cubes to in this same turn.
At the end of a round, remaining player cubes are removed and scored as normal. Neutral player cubes are simply returned to the neutral player supply.
If at any time during a round additional neutral player cubes are needed, simply use cubes from another unused color.