On the Underground - General game info
On the Underground
2-5 players, 45-60 minutes, 14 years and older
AuthorSebastian Bleasdale (SebastianB)
IllustratorViktor Csete
Published byLudiCreations
Online since 2021-03-20
Developed by (Stonecrusher)
Boardgamegeek281152
Yucata.de owns a license for the online version of this game. A big "thank you" to the copyright owners (publisher and/or author and illustrator) who make it possible to have this game for free online here!
On the Underground - Rules
If you are reading these rules for the first time, ignore the text along the right hand side. These rules serve as a summary to help you quickly familiarize yourself with the game.

Show → summary only → detailed version only → both summary and detailed version

ON THE UNDERGROUND

The London Underground is the world's first underground passenger railway, first opened in 1863. Its 11 lines move about 5 million passengers a day to 270 stations, along 400 km (250 mi) of track.
The massive network of London Underground stations makes up one of the most complex transportation systems in the world, and On the Underground challenges you to develop it. Build the most successful lines, connect them to landmarks and attract passenger traffic!
This edition of On the Underground includes the all-new Berlin map, comprised of the U-Bahn and S-Bahn networks. The rules are largely the same, but includes some additional concepts, noted in these rules with Berlin, while concepts important to the London Underground map are noted with London.

Components

55
London Destination Cards (22 Express and 33 Standard)
1
Passenger token
4
Express Destination tokens
4
Standard Destination tokens
190
Track tokens (20 each of red, black, yellow, blue, and purple, and 15 each of pink, orange, green, brown, white, and grey)
8
London Connection tiles (2 each of 4 types: Restaurants , Monuments , Shops and Parks )
10
Score tiles
1
Start player tile
20
Branch tiles
1
Double sided board London/Berlin
55
Berlin Destination cards (25 Express and 30 Standard)
40
Berlin Landmark tiles (8 each of 5 types: Culture, Government, Retail, Education and Sports)

Setup

  1. Choose whether to play London or Berlin and then place the board in the middle of the table with the appropriate side up.
    NOTE: The London side is recommended for your first game.
    At Yucata.de only London is implemented currently
  2. Place the Passenger token on the Passenger start Station: EustonLondon
    or Friedrichstra├če Berlin
  3. Place Connection or Landmark tiles:
    Berlin

    Sort the Landmark tiles by type. Then, for each type. separate them in this way:

    • one stack of 3 tiles
    • two stacks of 2 tiles
    • a single tile

    Randomly place a stack of 3 tiles on each one of the five stations. Then, randomly place a steck of 2 tiles on each one of the ten stations. Finally, randomly place a single tile on the five stations. All Landmark tiles should be placed facing up. so that their type is visible.

    London

    Randomly place a Connection tile on each of the eight Connection stations.

  4. Take the Destination cards for the chosen city and shuffle both the Standard and the Express Destination cards together. Place them face down as a deck next to the board, leaving space next to it for a discard pile.
  5. Reveal the top 4 cards of the deck and place them face up next to the board.
  6. Place the Destination tokens on the stations on the board that match the 4 revealed Destination cards. These are the initial Destination stations.
  7. Place the Branch tiles in a pile next to the board.
  8. Each player takes a score tile according to the number of players and places it an the "0" position of the score track:
    • In a game with 2 players, each score tile should have four line colours.
    • In a game with 3 players, each score tile should have three line colours.
    • In a game with 4 or 5 players, each score tile should have two line colours.
  9. Each player then takes the Track tokens of the colours depicted on their score tile.

    Each player will thus control multiple lines, each one comprised either of 20 or 15 Track tokens.

  10. The player who last made use of an underground transportation system is the start player. Alternatively, the players may choose a start player using any method they prefer. Give that player the Start Player tile.

You are now ready to begin!

Gameplay overview

In On the Underground, players compete to build the most valuable and convenient transportation network in London or Berlin. Each player controls 2-4 different lines, depending on the number of players.

At the beginning of each turn, 4 Destination cards are facing up, corresponding to stations an the map.

A player's turn consists of taking four actions, followed by the Passenger's movement.

Each action is either building track by placing one Track token, or taking a Branch tile.

After the player's turn, the Passenger token is moved along built lines, avoiding empty track spaces as much as possible, in order to reach 1 or 2 of the 4 available Destination stations.

The Destination cards corresponding to the visited stations are then replaced by new ones, and then play passes to the next player in clockwise order.

Players score points in two ways:

  • By building track and connecting their lines to various types of stations or, by building a circular line London. or by collecting Landmark tiles Berlin.
  • By having the Passenger use their lines when moving.

The game is over after all Destination cards have been drawn and all players have taken the same number of turns.

Taking a turn

Each player takes four actions.

(Exception: In the first turn the start player has only 3 actions and the last player has 5).

For each of those actions, they may choose one of two options:

  • Take a Branch tile, or
  • Place a Track token

On their turn, a player takes four actions (Exception: the first turn, see below).

For each of those actions, they may choose one of two options:

  • Take a Branch tile, or
  • Place a Track token

The first turn

For their first turn only, the player first in turn order may only take 3 actions. The player last in turn order may take 5 actions.

number
of players
in the game
Actions in the first turn for
Player 1Player 2Player 3Player 4Player 5
235
3345
43445
534445

Action: Take a Branch tile

A player may take 1 Branch tile from the supply per spent action.

Two Branch tiles may be returned to the supply to allow extending a line from somewhere other than one of its ends.

For each action spent in this way, a player may take 1 Branch tile from the supply.

The supply of Branch tiles is unlimited; if Branch tiles run out, anything else may be chosen to represent them.

Using Branch tiles

When placing a Track token, two Branch tiles may be returned to the supply to allow extending a line from somewhere other than one of its ends. The Track token placed must still connect to the line.

WARNING! lt is possible to be blocked from placing track, even with using Branch tiles. Starting lines in the periphery of the map may be risky!

Action: Place a Track token

A player may use a token of any of their line colours.

  • The first Track token of each colour may be placed on any empty track space on the board.
  • All further Track tokens of the same line must be used to extend the line at either of its ends. Exception: Using Branch tiles.
  • Each Track token placed on parallel track spaces must be of a different colour.

After placing each Track token a player gets:

  • 1 point when a line is first connected to a National Rail station .
  • 2 points and a Branch tile when a line is connected to a Terminus station .

When placing a Track token, a player may use a token of any of their line colours.

Note that Track tokens are limited in number. Players should carefully consider where to place them.

Track tokens are placed on the track spaces between stations according to these rules:

  • The first Track token of each colour may be placed on any empty track space on the board.
  • All further Track tokens of the same line (i.e. of the same colour) must be used to extend the line at either of its ends. The end of a line is defined as a station with only one Track token of that line currently connecting to it.
    Exception: See Using Branch tiles.
  • In some parts of the board there are two or more parallel track spaces. Each Track token placed there must be of a different colour.

After placing each Track token, points and Branch tiles may be earned:

National Rail: 1 point when a line is first connected to a National Rail station.

Terminus stations: 2 points and a Branch tile when a line is connected to a Terminus station.

London

  • 3 points when two Connection tiles showing the same symbol are joined using the same line.
  • 1 point for each station inside a loop created by one line.
London
Connections.

3 points when two Connection tiles showing the same symbol are joined using the same line.

Loops.

1 point for each station (of any type) inside a loop created by one line. Stations that are connected by the line forming the loop are not counted.

Berlin

  • 0 points for the first + station connected to a line, 2 points for each of the second and third + stations connected to the same line, and 4 points for the fourth + station connected to the same line.
  • a Landmark tile for each Landmark station. If taking a tile results in having a set of five different types of Landmark tiles, those five tiles are discarded and the player discarding them scores 10 points.
  • At the end of the game, unscored Landmark tiles might be worth bonus points.

Berlin
+ Stations.

0 points for the first + station connected to a line, 2 points for each of the second and third + stations connected to the same line, and 4 points for the fourth + station connected to the same line.

Landmarks.

When a line is connected to a station with Landmark tiles, the current player takes one of those tiles and keeps it face up in front of them.

If taking a tile results in having a set of five different types of Landmark tiles, those five tiles are discarded and the player discarding them scores 10 points.

At the end of the game, unscored Landmark tiles might be worth bonus points.

EXAMPLE: Extending a line

Without using Branch tiles, the blue line can only be extended on the spaces marked by a checkmark.

The spaces marked with an X are all extending from a station that already has more than 1 blue track connected to it.

Building a track here requires spending Branch tiles.

EXAMPLE: Scoring a Loop

The player controlling the red line created a loop and scores 1 point for each station inside the loop, i.e. 8 points total.

NOTES

London x Connections, Berlin +-Stations, National Rail, and Terminus stations A line does not have to be the first one connecting to such a station to receive those benefits. Multiple lines may receive those benefits, including those belonging to the same player, but each line only once.

London Connections. The Connection tokens are not removed from the board when scored.

London Loops. Stations inside loops may generate points for each line once, even if a loop is subsequently divided into smaller loops.

Turn examples

EXAMPLE: Branch tiles

Action 1: An orange Track token is placed between Acton and Ealing Broadway, a Terminus station, which generates 2 points and 1 Branch tile.

Action 2: The player takes a Branch tile.

Action 3: The 2 Branch tiles are returned to the supply so that a red Track token can be placed between Notting Hill Gate and Paddington, a National Rail station, generating 1 point.

Action 4: A red Track token is placed between Paddington and Marylebone, which is also a National Rail station, generating another 1 point.

EXAMPLE: A (new) loop

Action 1: A green Track token is placed between Bond Street and Green Park.

Action 2: A green Track token is placed between Green Park and Victoria, connecting the Connection tile there to the one in St. Pancras, and generating 3 points.

Action 3: A green Track token is placed between Victoria and Westminster.

Action 4: A green Track token is placed between Westminster and Charing Cross, forming a loop and generating 4 points for the 4 stations inside the loop (marked with a checkmark).

Note that Holborn has already been scored as part of a previous green loop and is not scored again.

Moving the Passenger

The Passenger will visit 1 or 2 of those stations:
  • Express and Standard stations: 2 movements.
    First to an Express station and then to a Standard station.
  • Only Express stations: 1 movement to one Express station.
  • Only Standard stations: 1 movement to one Standard station.

Once a player has taken all of the actions of their turn, the Passenger must be moved.

There are 4 potential destinations marked by the Destination tokens on the board, each of which corresponds to a face-up Destination card. The Passenger will visit 1 or 2 of those stations.

  • If there are both Express and Standard stations: 2 movements. The Passenger will first move to one Express station and then move again, to one Standard station.
  • If there are only Express stations: 1 movement. The Passenger will move to one Express station.
  • If there are only Standard stations: 1 movement. The Passenger will move to one Standard station.

The Passenger's Route

The Passenger moves according to the following rules:
  • He travels the route that involves the least amount of empty track spaces.
  • If this is true for two or more routes, he chooses the route with fewest (or no) lines.
  • If this is the same too, the player moving the Passenger decides which route is taken.

When travelling, the Passenger will travel along lines which the players have built, and also move along empty track spaces, if necessary. The Passenger will choose how to move according to the following rules:

  • The Passenger will choose the route that involves the least amount of empty track spaces.
  • If two or more routes involve the same amount of empty spaces, the Passenger will choose the route with the fewest (or no) lines.
  • The number of Track tokens making up a line does not matter, only the number of lines.
  • If two or more routes involve the same amount of empty spaces and the same number of lines, the player moving the Passenger decides which route is taken.

Passenger Scoring

Once the route has been chosen, the Passenger token is moved. For each line that the Passenger uses to travel, the player owning that line scores 1 point.

When the Passenger arrives at a station, the Destination token on that station is removed from the board and the corresponding Destination card is placed on a discard pile.

Once the route has been chosen, the Passenger token is moved along that route to the appropriate Destination station.

For each line that the Passenger uses to travel, the player owning that line scores 1 point.

The number of Track tokens making up a line does not matter, only the number of lines. Each line used generates 1 point, regardless of the number of Track tokens in it.

When the Passenger arrives at a station, the Destination token on that station is removed from the board and the corresponding Destination card is placed on a discard pile. The discard pile may not be inspected during the game.

At Yucata.de the stations that the passenger has already visited are indicated on the board with a checkmark (If you want you can disbale this via the sidepanel options).

EXAMPLE: Passenger movement

The Passenger is currently at Goldhawk Road. The four destinations are Leicester Square, Oxford Circus, Turnham Green, and Great Portland Street.

1 The Passenger will first travel to an Express Destination if there is one, and in this case there are three to choose from:

Leicester Square. One empty space to Shepherd's Bush, and then two lines (red and green).

Oxford Circus. One empty space to Shepherd's Bush, and then one line (red).

Turnham Green. Two empty spaces (to Hammersmith, and then to Turnham Green)

Moving to Leicester Square or Oxford Circus is preferred to moving to Turnham Green, because either one of those Destinations involves fewer empty spaces to reach it.

Leicester Square is then compared to Oxford Circus, and since the Passenger needs fewer lines to reach Oxford Circus, the Passenger will travel there, earning the player owning the red line 1 point.

2 The Passenger then travels to a Standard Destination, and in this case, there is only one, Great Portland Street. The quickest route to there from Oxford Circus is using two lines, either red and then orange (2a), or red and then green (2b).

The player currently moving the Passenger may choose which combination will be used, and therefore which players will earn points.

End of the turn

After all Passenger movements are completed, new cards are drawn and appropriate Destination tokens (Express/Standard) placed on the new stations.

After all Passenger movements are completed, new cards are drawn to replace those removed from the game so that there are again 4 cards facing up.

The appropriate Destination tokens (Express/Standard) are then placed on the stations corresponding to the newly revealed cards.

End of the game

When there are no more cards left in the deck, the end of the game is triggered. The round is played to the end.

Berlin

Each player counts how many Landmark tiles they have of each type. They then earn 3 points per tile of the type with the most tiles.

When there are no more cards left in the deck, the end of the game is triggered.

If this happens at the end of the turn of the player that is last in turn order, the game ends immediately.

Otherwise, the players continue to take turns until the player that is last in turn order has completed theirs, i.e. until all players have had the same number of turns.

Berlin
If playing on the Berlin map, each player counts how many Landmark tiles they have of each type. They then earn 3 points per tile of the type with the most tiles.

The game is then over.

The player who has scored the most points is the winner.

If there is a tie, then the tied player with the most Branch tiles wins. If there is still a tie, the tied players rejoice in their shared victory.

NOTE: After the end of the game is triggered, there are no cards available to replace the ones removed. Therefore, it is possible that the Passenger will not be moving during the last few turns. In that case, players simply end their turns after taking 4 actions.

EXAMPLE: Berlin Spare Landmark tile scoring

A player has the following tokens at the end of the game:

4 Education Landmarks, 4 Culture Landmarks, 3 Sports Landmarks, 1 Government Landmark

The Landmarks they have the most of are Education and Culture, tied at 4 each. The player earns 12 points.

Appendix - Differences to the First Edition

  • For their first turns only, the player first in turn order takes three actions, and the player last in turn order takes five actions. (Previously, everyone other than the start player had a few points added to their score as a balancing mechanism.)
  • The passenger is no longer removed from the board immediately when the draw deck is empty.
  • There is a new Berlin map, along with its corresponding cards and tiles.
  • On the London map, these single connections have been made double connections: Paddington-Shepherd's Bush, Shepherd's Bush-Goldhawk Road, Goldhawk Road-Hammersmith, Waterloo-Borough, London Bridge-Bank, Stratford-West Ham, and West Ham-Canning Town.
  • On the London map, this double connection has been made a triple connection: Borough-London Bridge
  • On the London map, the New Cross station has been removed, as has the connection between Aldgate and Canada Water.

Hints for Handling

    The board:
  • At the top in the player's area the number of lines and the amount of Branch tiles in the personal supply are shown. The points the player has already earned are displayed here too. The starting player is marked with an "S".
  • In the upper right corner of the game board is the counter of the still available actions. When you have performed all your actions, the counter will disappear.
  • On the left side of the counter is the draw pile with the number of cards left in it. The current targets of the drawn cards are automatically marked on the game board.
  • To the left of it is the stack of Branch tiles. If you can take one, the stack is marked. To take a Branch tile, you click on the stack.
    Handling:
  • To select the line for which you want to lay track, click on the corresponding line color in the player area. The possible spaces on where you can lay your track are highlighted. If you have enough Branch tiles, the routes that require Branch tiles are also highlighted.
  • To deselect a line, click on it again, or click on another line.
  • After you have performed all actions, the path and the lines that the passenger will take to the destinations, are animated. By clicking on the passenger, he is set in motion and he will travel to his first destination. The generated points are displayed. If a second destination can be reached, the passenger will go there after clicking him again. The stations to which the passenger has traveled to are marked with a checkmark, if this is turned on in the settings.
  • If there is a choice between several destinations that the passenger can travel to, these are marked with a "?" and the player is asked to select the next destination by clicking on the desired one. When moving the mouse over the possible destinations, the route the passenger will take is displayed. Destinations that will be reached in this turn in any case are marked with a "!".
  • If the passenger can reach his destination via different lines, the lines in question are highlighted and the player selects the desired line by clicking on it on the game board. Alternatively, the desired line can also be selected in the player area.
  • If you move the mouse over the individual actions in the gamelog, the corresponding action is displayed on the game board.
  • If you move the mouse over the draw pile, all targets that are still in the draw pile are highlighted.
  • When you move the mouse over the score tile of a player, the corresponding lines are marked on the game board.
    Settings:
  • You can set, that the stations that the passenger has already visited will be marked with a checkmark.
  • For color vision impairment, additional marking of the lines can be selected.
 
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