German & African Rails
Short reference to Michael Mette's German Rails and African Rails
by Stefan Götz, April 2007

This is a quick reference (i.e., you need to know the basic Empire Builder rules) for the board games German Rails and African Rails by Michael Mette, a variant of Empire Builder designed by Darwin & Peter Bromley and Bill Fawcett and published by Mayfair Games. All trademarks and rights are property of their respective owners.

Game Setup

Every player starts with:
  • 60 million DM, one train card, one train, one marker
  • 5 demand cards of which they keep 3 and discard 2

The start player is the person who first determines their 3 demand cards and discards the other 2. Every player places their train in the center of one of the 6 major cities. The game starts with a regular round (in which, obviously, only building track or upgrading trains makes sense).

Public Demand Cards

At the beginning of round 4, reveal 3 demand cards from the deck. These demands may be fulfilled by any player - first come, first serve. When fulfilled, discard the respective demand card and draw another one from the deck so that there are always 3 public demand cards available. Event cards drawn in this manner become effective immediately.


Terrain Costs
Plains (dot) 1
Desert (brown circle) 1
Jungle (green circle) 2
Mountain (black triangle) 2
Alpine (white triangle) 5
Town (circle) 3
Minor City (square) 3
Major City (hexagon) 5
Ferry Line (anchor) see map
River (blue line) +2
Wadi (brown line) +0
Lake or Bay +3

Movement and Transportation

Goods may be unloaded in any town or city, where they may be picked up by any player. Discard goods after they have not been moved for 4 rounds.

In order to use a ferry, players end their movement phase at the ferry pier. On their next turn, they place their train at the other end of the ferry line and may move with half their usual movement rate (round up).

Brazzaville and Kinshasa count as a single major city for scoring but are regarded as different cities for pick-up and delivery of goods.

Sharing Tracks

A player may use another player's tracks (any distance) for one turn by paying them 4 million DM. This kind of track sharing must not be refused. Players may also make deals for any number of rounds on sharing tracks or delivering and unloading goods in any town or city.

Connecting Towns and Cities

Towns (circles) and ferry lines (anchors) can be connected to the tracks of up to two players, minor cities (squares) by up to three players, and major cities (hexagons) by all players. While not maxed out, these spots must remain accessible to all players not yet connected.

Games With Two or Three Players

Instead of upgrading a train on their turn, players may buy a second train for 30 million DM, which is to be placed on a major city connected to their tracks. A second train increases a player's hand limit on demand cards from 3 to 4.