Railroad Ink is a dice game series from Horrible Guild Verlag. The games are classic roll & write games, which means you roll the dice and make entries on the game board according to your dice roll. The game principle is always the same in the Railroad Ink games. However, they all have a different theme. The Challenge games also add new elements and additional ratings.

The Editions deep blue and Challenge: Leaf Green I present it in more detail and explain the respective (new) game elements. at bright red and Sun yellow I present the topic and the setting, it is played like the counterpart.

All games have a playing time of 30 minutes and are for people aged eight and over. While the regular games feature material for six, the challenge games feature material for four. All games can also be combined with each other without any problems, so that you can play with more people with more material. There is no upper limit as you do not interact with each other while playing.

Railroad Ink: Edition Deep Blue

Raildraod Ink. Edition Deep Blue, Cover. Photo: Horrbile Guild, Heidelbär Games


  • 6 game boards
  • 6 pens
  • 4 route dice
  • 2 river dice
  • 2 sea cubes
Railroad Ink. Edition Deep Blue, game components. Photo: Horrible Guild, Heidelbär Games.

For the basic game, each person takes a game board and a pen. You also have the four route cubes ready. The dice have different road and train shapes on the sides. The rules for group and solo play are identical. The normal game (without special dice) goes over seven rounds.

In each round you roll all the dice and enter each rolled symbol on your board. The following rules apply:

  • Routes must be built at an exit or at an already entered route.
  • All four routes must be entered. Each die may only be used once.
  • If you cannot enter a route, ignore the die. But you shouldn't refrain from drawing in yourself.
  • Tracks must not be directly adjacent to roads. This only works with train stations (shapes with a black square that have both tracks and roads branching off them).

Those are the building rules. You can see what you should pay attention to when building when it comes to the rating below.

Optionally, you may also in your game special routes register. You can see this at the top of your block. The following applies:

  • per game you can maximum three Use special routes.
  • each special route may only be used once. Therefore cross out used routes.
  • in each round you can only use one special track
  • even if you use a special route, you must (if possible) also use the four remaining dice.

end of round

When everyone has entered their dice, the round ends. Then everyone enters the number of the current round in the fields in which you have built routes. This allows you to keep track of which routes you have built and when. You then re-roll and begin the next round.

End of game and scoring

The game ends after 7 rounds and you get points/minus points for the following things:

  1. Connected exits: Counts the exits that are connected to each other. If you have several groups, it is best to mark them with a letter. Each group gives you points based on the number of trips. You can find the point table between the dice overview and the game board. In general, a large group gives more points than two small groups.
  2. Longest Street: Count the longest contiguous street squares, you get one point for each square.
  3. longest track: Counts the longest contiguous track fields, you get one point for each field.
  4. central fields: Counts the fields that you have entered in the central 9 field. You get one point for each filled-in field.
  5. Minus points for mistakes: Enter a minus point for each track and each road that is not connected.
  6. Points from extensions (optional): Enter points for the extensions. I will now go into the extensions separately.


The game has 2 expansions: rivers and lakes. The basic rules remain, but the game only lasts 6 instead of 7 rounds. When rolling the dice, you roll the two expansion dice, but you only have to use the 4 normal dice, the two expansion dice are optional. So you have to enter 4 routes, but you can enter up to 7 routes (4 normal, 2 through expansion, 1 special route).

You only ever play with one expansion. Here are the rule changes for each expansion.

Expansion 1: River Cube

  • River parts can be entered freely; they do not have to be adjacent to a river.
  • Rivers may not be connected to exits, rails or roads.
  • River ends that are not connected to the edge or to another river space count as errors—just like rails and roads.
  • At the end of the game you count a river the number of fields used and receive one point per field. If the river starts and ends at the edge (i.e. it has no error), you get an additional three points.
    It is therefore possible that you do not want to score the longest river.

Expansion 2: Sea Cube

  • Parts of the sea can be entered freely; they do not have to be adjacent to a river.
  • If a field borders on three open sea parts, you immediately fill it completely with water.
  • Open sea tiles give at the end of the game no minuses.
  • Tracks that are connected by a lake are considered connected.
  • At the end of the game you get 1 point per lake field for your smallest lake. If you only have one lake, this is scored.

solo game

Deep blue and also bright red have no special solo rules. Since you do not interact with other people while playing, the gameplay remains completely unchanged. However, this does not apply to the Challenge games.

Railroad Ink: Edition Bright Red

Raildroad Ink. Edition Bright Red, Cover. Photo: Horrible Guild, Heilderbaer Games


  • 6 game boards
  • 6 pens
  • 4 route dice
  • 2 volcano dice
  • 2 Meteor Cubes

The game plays identically to Railroad Ink. Deep Blue; Here, too, you have to connect routes over 7 rounds (unless you are playing with the expansion cube) while earning as many points as possible. You can also combine the game with another copy or deep blue versions to be able to play it with more than 6 people. Since you don't interact with each other while playing, there is theoretically no limit to the number of people.

Now let's move on to the extensions as they are different than Deep Blue's.


The following also applies to these extensions:

  • you overplay 6 instead of 7 rounds.
  • You're just playing along an extension.

Expansion 1: Meteor Cube

  • This time you have to use the two meteor cubes in each round. They are therefore no longer optional, as with deep blue.
  • one cube shows you a direction and one shows you a distance. This indicates where the meteorite will next hit, based on where it last hit. In the first round, the middle square is the starting position.
  • If a meteor hits, you draw one on the field Krater a. If there is a track on the field, it is wiped away.
  • In order to keep track of which crater field is the current one (for determining the next impact location), you make a dot in the field at the top right. You wipe this away as soon as the next meteorite hits.
  • If a meteorite hits outside the board, you move the missing spaces from the edge back to the middle of the board.
  • If the meteorite hits a crater, it hits the next possible square.
  • At the beginning of a round, you can prevent a crater from being entered by crossing out a free special route (this counts as entering the special route, so you can do this a maximum of three times).
  • Within one round, you may fill any crater with the distance of one cube. Craters destroy routes, but you can also repair the route again.
  • Until now, the meteorites have been quite annoying, but they can do you too Points bring. For each track that connects to a crater (the open end of the track is adjacent to a crater tile), you get two points. Open routes connected to a crater also count not as a mistake.

Expansion 2: Lava Cube

  • This time you have to in every round at least one use the lava cube, you can also use both.
  • Draw a volcano in the middle space of the game board.
  • New lava fields must always be entered adjacent to an existing open lava field. If that doesn't work, you must either delete a route (which was entered on an open side of a lava lake) and enter the lava field there, or place a new volcano on any field.
  • In each round you may enter a new volcano on any field. However, the volcano may not be placed adjacent to a lava field.
  • At the end of the game, open lava fields count as Error.
  • At the end of the game you get 5 points for each closed lake of lava.
  • In addition, you get 1 point per field used for your largest closed lava lake.

Railroad Ink Challenge: Leaf Green Edition

Raildroad Ink. Challenge Edition Leaf Green, Cover. Photo: Horrible Guild, Heilderbaer Games


  • 4 game boards
  • 4 pens
  • 4 route dice
  • 2 forest dice
  • 2 path dice
  • 6 task cards
  • 3 forest and 3 path task cards

The basic principle remains the same: you connect as many trips as possible.
In addition, there are now tasks and the possibility to activate settlements.


  • Each person gets a board and pen.
  • Prepare the four white route cubes.
  • Shuffle the basic task cards and randomly draw three of them. Enter the code of the respective card on your board and lay out the cards so that everyone can see them.
    optional: Mix in the task cards from Railroad Ink Challenge: Sun Money Edition.
  • If you are playing with expansion dice, also have these ready and replace one of the three task cards with a random expansion task card from the relevant expansion.
  • If you haven't played a Railroad Ink game yet, you can skip the quests and play the game using the normal rules.

I won't go into the basic rules here, you can read about them above. Here I present the special features of the Challenge versions.

special building:

  • Some squares on your board have special buildings that trigger effects as soon as you activate them. There are three types of buildings:
  • Factory: If you draw a track and/or a road on the factory space, you may use one of the route cubes twice.
  • Settlement: Settlements are activated by routes with a train station. For each activated settlement you cross a space in the scoring area (from left to right). At the end of the game, you get points for the highest square you have crossed.
  • University: You can activate the university with a track and/or a road. For each activated university you mark a field in the rating area. If you have made three crosses, you can enter a special route directly. You can then use four instead of three. However, keep in mind that each special route can only be used once.

Some extensions (e.g. the meteor cubes from the game Bright Red) destroy marked routes. If an activated building is destroyed by an expansion, you do not lose the activated effect. If you draw a new route on the destroyed field, you even activate the effect again.


  • You can already collect points during the game through tasks.
  • If a person completes a task, they announce this at the end of the round. If multiple people complete a task in the same round, they both get the highest available score. Then you cross out the score so that the other people can no longer get this score. However, the lowest score is never eliminated.

The tasks can be as follows:

  • Activates three settlements
  • Draw something in 3 corner squares
  • Build a loop of routes that starts and ends at the same point.

solo game:

The basic game remains the same, only the tasks have a special feature if you play solo. There is a time limit for the three tasks, which affects the possible points. So you have to complete the top goal (which you write on the game board at the top) within 3 turns, the middle goal within 4 turns, and the bottom goal within 5 turns.

If you complete tasks within the time, they give you 4 points each. If you only complete the tasks afterwards, they only give you 1 point.


Expansion 1: Forest Cube

  • As usual, the game with expansion dice lasts only 6 rounds
  • The expansion cubes are Optional, you don't have to enter them in every round.
  • Forest spaces do not have to be adjacent
  • Forest spaces form a common forest if they are adjacent (not across corners). Even if they also contain routes.
  • At the end of the game you choose two forests. For the first you get 2 points per forest space, for the second forest 1 point per forest space. If you only have one forest, you only get one point.

Extension 1: Path Cube

  • 6 rounds
  • Entering the path dice is Optional
  • Path cubes must be entered on existing routes or paths
  • If a path (around a corner) touches a field with a train station, both are directly connected to each other via a diagonal
  • At the end of the game you all count stations connected by paths and check the network table (the table that shows you the points for connected rides) to see how many points you would get. However, you halve this value again and then write it down as bonus points. You can therefore get points for a maximum of 12 stations.
  • open paths are not considered errors at the end of the game.

Railroad Ink Challenge: Sun Yellow Edition

Raildroad Ink. Challenge Edition Sunny Yellow, cover. Photo: Horrible Guild, Heilderbaer Games


  • 6 game boards
  • 6 pens
  • 4 route dice
  • 2 desert dice
  • 2 canyon dice

The rules remain the same as with Leaf Green. So let's get straight to the extensions:


Expansion 1: Desert Cube

  • 6 rounds
  • desert cube Optional
  • Desert dice do not have to be placed adjacent
  • Will be at least one drought icon rolled, you must (before using the dice for that round) wipe away any cactus that is not adjacent to an oasis. Track symbols are not wiped away, only cacti.
  • You can ignore drought symbols in a round if you cancel (without using) a special route.
  • After the 6th round, you roll the desert symbols and, if necessary, carry out the drought action.
  • At the end of the game, each cactus earns you one point. Fields with two cacti score two points.

Expansion 2: Canyon Cube

  • 7 rounds! Unlike the other extensions.
  • Draw canyon cube is Optional
  • If you enter canyon fields, they must be adjacent to the edge or entered canyon fields. Canyons always run along the edge of the respective fields
  • Canyon patterns must be fully transferred; if it doesn't fit on the board, you're not allowed to enter it.
  • In order for your routes to cross a canyon, you must spend a bridge point. Then you can make a small gap in the canyon and complete the route.
  • You have a maximum of 12 bridge points available. Each time you use a bridge point, cross off one of the numbers from the scoring line.
  • open canyons do not count as mistakes at the end of the game.
  • At the end of the game you get 1 point per canyon segment for the longest canyon. You also get 2 points for each canyon that starts and ends at the rim.

Numerous cube extensions

There are now numerous cube extensions. These contain 4 dice and can be combined with a Railroad Ink or Railroad Ink Challenge game. As usual, you only use one of the two cube extensions.

The following cube extensions are currently available:

  • Clouds: Weather and Flight Route Cube
  • engineer: Construction, Renovation, Separation and Special Cubes
  • eldritch: Tentacle, Investigator, Portal, and Ritual Dice
  • Future: City Planner, Super Connection, and Alien Farmer Cube
  • Electricity: Street Light and Power Grid Cube
  • Arcade: Pluck-Man, Tetromino, Galactic Invaders and Rainbow Cubes
  • U-Bahn: manhole and water pipe cube. In this expansion, you use two game boards per person; one for above-ground construction and one for underground. You can also play underground with just the four subway dice.

Digital Games / Distance Games

You can also play Railroad Ink as an app, on Android, iOS and Steam. Here you will find the necessary information. You can play Railroad Ink Deep Blue and Deep Blue Challenge (the normal game, including Challenge accessories). You can also buy two expansions: Forests (from Leaf Green) and Deserts (from Sunny Yellow). Only one solo mode is currently playable; you play it as a high score game and try to get better and better results. However, you can measure yourself against other players in an online ranking.

On HeidelBÄR page you can download the game plans (here Edition Leaf Green) if you want to play at a distance and not everyone has the game. There you will also find a digital dice conversion for the basic game. So you can easily via Discord/Skype/or similar. Play in Railroad Ink. The digital cubes in particular are a good advantage, since no one has to point an additional camera at their own cubes.

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Last updated on 27.01.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API