- 1 game board
- 80 wooden houses
- 4 principal firm cards
- 20 carriage cards
- 66 city cards for building routes
- 30 bonus tiles
- 4 summary cards
- 1 game rules
Place the game board in the middle of the table.
Place the bonus tiles face up on the game board on the spaces designated for them. In each stack, place the tiles in ascending order, lowest on the bottom and highest on the top.
Shuffle the city cards face-down, place 6 cards face-up on the city card spaces on the board, and place the remaining cards face-down as a supply next to the board.
Sort the carriage cards by numbers and place on the board in the spaces provided.
Each player takes the 20 houses of one color, a summary card, and a principal firm card, placing them before him on the table (his play area).
The players choose a starting player using any method they want.
Object of the Game
Each player builds a postal system. To do so, each player tries to build an effective network of post offices in the cities on the board, acquire valuable carriages, and collect bonus tiles. It also helps to get help from the postal officials.
When a player acquires a value 7 carriage or has placed all his houses, the game is in its final round. When the round ends, the game ends immediately.
The player with the most victory points wins the game!
The starting player begins and the others follow in clockwise order.
On a player's turn, he takes the following actions in the order shown:
- The player must add a city card to his hand.
- The player must play a city card from his hand.
- The player may close and score his current route.
Then, the next player takes his turn.
Additionally, the player may use the support of one official (Postal Carrier, Postmaster, Administrator, or Cartwright) during his turn. That is, the player may use one of the officials' special abilities during his turn.
1. Add a City Card to his Hand
The city cards represent the cities on the game board. The player must add one of the 6 face-up city cards to his hand or add the top-most city card from the card supply to his hand.
After the player takes a face-up card, he replaces it with the top-most card from the supply. When the card supply is exhausted, shuffle the discards a place as the new card supply.
Support from an Official in this Phase:
Postmaster: when a player accepts the support of the postmaster during this phase, he can take a second city card from the display or the supply.
If a player has no cards in his hand at the beginning of he turn, he must choose the help of the Postmaster for that turn. Having done that, he, of course, cannot use the help of any other official on that turn.
Note: in the first game turn, each player must choose to use the help of the Postmaster.
Administrator: when the player is not happy with the city cards in the display, he may enlist the help of the administrator to exchange all the cards in the display, before he takes a card. He discards all cards from the display and then draws cards from the supply to replace them.
2. Play a City Card from his Hand
The central element of the game is the building of postal routes. The player must play a card from his hand, placing it in his play area to begin a new route or add to an existing route. The players place their city cards next to each other in a row in their play areas. These rows are the current routes of the players.
A player can only have one route at a time. To add to his route, the player may place a city card on the right or left side of his current route row. The route can have no branches.
Cards added to the route must be suitable, meaning that the new card placed must represent a city on the board that is directly adjacent to the city represented by the card it is placed next to. A player can begin a new route only when he has no current route in his play area.
Thus, the player closes his current route before he can start a new one.
There are two possibilities for placing city cards:
The player has no city cards in his play area (no current route): the player plays a card, starting a new route in his play area..
The player has city card(s)- a current route - in his play area: the player plays a city card on the right or left side of his current route row.
If the player has no suitable city card to play or chooses not to add a card to his current route, he discards the cards in his current route (scoring nothing for them) and places a card in his play area to start a new route.
Which city cards can be placed next to each other in the row?
city cards, whose cities on the game board are directly adjacent to each other, and
city cards, that are not already in the route, can be added to the route.
Suitable cards are those that meet both conditions.
It is not allowed:
to add a card whose city on the game board is not directly adjacent to the city represented by the card on the right or left side of the current route,
to insert a card between cards of the current route or rearrange the current route in any way, or
to use a city card already included in the current route.
Note: the city color only indicates the country where the city lies; it has no meaning in route construction.
Example: a player has a route that includes Carlsruhe, Stuttgart, Nurnberg, and Regensburg. The player wants to add Innsbruck. As Innsbruck is not directly adjacent to either Carlsruhe or Regensburg on the game board, the player may not add it to either end.
Wurzburg may not be placed between Stuttgart and Nurnberg, as the current route may not be rearranged, but only added to on the ends.
Stuttgart may not be added, even though it is directly adjacent to Carlsruhe, as Stuttgart is already in the route.
Support From An Official In This Phase:
Postal carrier: when a player accepts the support of the Postal carrier on his turn, he may add a second city card to his route, following the normal rules for city card placement.
3. Close and Score his Current Route
A player can close and score his route if it contains at least 3 city cards.
To close and score a route, the player:
- He places houses.
- He collects any bonus tiles earned..
- He collects any new carriage earned.
- He places the city cards for the route and excess city cards from his hand face-up on the discard stack.
A. Place Houses
The player has 2 options for placing houses on cities which are along the route he is closing:
He may, in each province of the route, place 1 house in 1 of the cities of the route or
He may, in 1 province of the route, place 1 house in each city of the route.
Note: the provinces and cities are color coded on the game board and cards.
Example: the player closes the following route: Sigmaringen, Stuttgart, Nurnberg, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, and Augsburg.
He places 1 house in 1 city in each province of the route (as shown on the right): in Hohenzollern he places 1 house on Sigmaringen, in Wurttemberg he places 1 house on Stuttgart and, in Baiern he places 1 house on one of the 4 Baiern cities, in this case Ingolstadt.
He may, then, not place a house on Nurnberg, Regensburg, and Augsburg.
Or he places 1 house on each city of the route in 1 province: he places 1 house on each city (of his route) in Baiern: Nurnberg, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, and Augsburg. He may, then, not place a house on Sigmaringen and Stuttgart.
Note: in later rounds, the player is still allowed to play cards for cities where he has placed houses. However, the player may only have 1 house in each city regardless of the number of times that city is part of one of his closed routes. The player may place a house in a city where other players already have houses.
B. Collect Bonus Tiles
After placing houses, the player checks to see if he fulfills one or more of the following conditions. For any condition he fulfills, he takes the corresponding bonus tile and places it face-down in his play area.
Bonus Tiles For Long Routes (5, 6, Or7 Cities In Length)
When the length of the route is 5, 6, 7, or more cities, he collects 1 bonus tile matching the length of the route. If the route is longer than 7 cities, he collects the number 7 bonus tile.
Note: if the bonus tile he earned is no longer available, he collects the next lower-numbered tile that is available. This is just as it is when the player has a route of more than 7 cities.
Note: a player may, in the course of the game, collect several bonus tiles of the same number.
Bonus Tiles For Provinces
If a player has houses on all the cities of a province or all the cities of a grouped pair of provinces, he collects the topmost bonus tile for that province or province pair. A player need not place houses in all the cities when closing one route, but may place them over several routes.
To earn the bonus tile "all provinces", a player need only have a house in at least 1 city in each of the provinces.
Note: if a player fulfills the conditions for a province bonus tile and none are left for that province (or pair, etc), the player gets no tile.
Note: a player may collect only one bonus tile for each province, province pair, etc.
Note: The player must actually place houses on the cities to receive the bonus tiles. Thus, if he runs out of houses and cannot place houses he could have, he does not collect the tile.
Example: the red player closes a route and places houses on Sigmaringen and Ulm. With this, he now has houses in all 3 cities in Wurttemberg and Hohenzollern and collects the top-most bonus tile of the Wurttemberg/Hohenzollern stack.
Bonus Tile For Game End
The player who causes the game to end by being the first to acquire a value 7 carriage or by placing his last house, collects the bonus tile "Game end".
C. Acquire New Carriage
If the length of a player's route is at least as long as the number on the next highest carriage, he takes the next highest card. Aplayer may not skip over a carriage card, even if his route is long enough.
Example: a player closes a route with 3 city cards and collects a value 3 carriage card, placing it on top of his jg principal firm card. Later, he closes a route with 5 city cards and takes the next highest carriage card - the value 4 card, placing it on top of his value 3 carriage. Next, he closes a route with 4 city card and collects no new carriage card. To collect a value 5 carriage, he must close a route with at least 5 city cards.
Note: when collecting carriage cards, the number of city cards in the route is important, not the number of houses the player is allowed to place as a result of the route.
Support from an Official in this Phase:
Cartwright: when a player accepts the support of the cartwright in this phase, he can acquire the next highest carriage even if his route is one or two cities fewer than required. With 3 cities fewer, the cartwright cannot help him.
Example: a player has the value 6 carriage and closes a route with 5 city cards. He may use the support of the cartwright to acquire a value 7 carriage.
D. Discard City Cards
The player places all city cards from a route he closed face-up on the discard stack and reduces his hand size to 3 by discarding any cards he chooses face-up on the discard stack.
In his next turn, he will begin a new route.
End of the Game
When a player has acquired a value 7 carriage or placed his last house, the round is player to the end and the game ends.
Thus, the round continues until the player to the right of the starting player ends his turn. The game ends and is scored.