How to Play: Rolling Stock Stars

March 29, 2021

Our How to Play videos are designed to be short (but still complete) instructional videos, mainly for people who want an overview before playing with someone who knows how to play (in place of that person teaching the rules).


Play online

Hi! This is Ambie from The Dice Tower, and today I’m gonna show you how to set up and play Rolling Stock Stars.

Setup [0:11]
Place all the 27 share price cards in order from 0 to 75 on the table. Put all the money within easy reach of all players.

Put the eight charter cards aside on the table with their corresponding stack of shares face down on top of each charter card. For each stack, make sure they’re sorted so that the top-most share is marked “Available for IPO,” followed by the number 1, number 2, and so on.

One player will be in charge of handling the actions of the Foreign Investor. Put the Foreign Investor card near that player, with 4 coins in its treasury.

Now build the Company deck. Put the game end card on the table near the bank with the 7 coin side face up. Sort the Company cards by color and set aside the Company with the highest face value for each color, which is the one with the abbreviation in color. Shuffle the remaining piles of each color separately. For each color, randomly draw a number of Companies that is equal to the number of players to use during the game without revealing them and return the rest to the box without looking at them. In a four player game, draw 5 orange Companies instead of 4. In a five player game, draw 7 orange Companies instead of 5. In a six player game, use all the Companies of all the colors. Put the set-aside highest face value Companies of each color into their respective stacks, and shuffle the individual piles again. Finally, place the cards face-down on top of the game end card in the following color order: blue, green, yellow, orange, and red, so that the top of the deck is red.

From the Company deck, take a number of Company cards equal to the number of players and place them face up next to the deck in the offering.

Take the number of player order cards equal to the number of players and shuffle them. Deal one randomly to each player. Give each player a turn summary and 30 coins, or 25 coins in a 6 player game.
The game begins in Phase 1 with the player with the position 1 card.

How to Play [1:52]
In Rolling Stock Stars, you’re an investor purchasing different Companies through auctions and converting them into Corporations. The goal of the game is to have the most value at the end of the game, totalling both cash and assets.

The game lasts over several turns, each consisting of nine phases: Investment, Wrap-Up, Acquisition, Closing, Income, Dividends, End Card, Issue Shares, and IPO.

Turn 1 [2:15]
In the first turn many of the phases won’t happen, since they relate to Corporations that don’t form until the last phase, IPO.

Phase 1: Investment (Turn 1) [2:23]
In the Investment phase, players will be bidding on Companies or buying or selling shares. Players will take actions in player order determined by the player order cards, with position 1 going first. Each time around you get one action - either buy a share, sell a share, start an auction, or pass. When you pass, turn your player order card horizontal to indicate you’ve passed. If you later do another action, turn it back vertical. When all players have passed in a row - in other words, when all player order cards are horizontal, the phase ends.

There are no shares to buy or sell in the first turn, so the only action available is to start an auction. To do this, pick one of the available Companies in the offering and place a bid that’s at least as high as its face value. 

The next player in player order either raises the bid up to what they can afford or leaves the auction. Once you leave you cannot re-enter the auction. The bidding continues in player order until there is only one player left. That player pays their bid to the bank and gets the private Company. For example, here I want the PR Company, so I bid the face value of 19. Toby is next in player order and bids 20. Crystal is next and only has 14 coins, so she is out of the auction. It goes back to me and I bid 21, and Toby decides not to bid more, so I get PR for 21 coins.

Whenever a Company is bought from the offering, draw and reveal a new one from the deck and turn it vertical to indicate that it is unavailable to bid on that turn. Once there are no more available Companies to bid on, then no one can start another auction that turn.

Phase 2: Wrap-Up (Turn 1) [3:44]
After the investment phase, determine the new player order by the amount of money each player has, with the highest amount being the first player. If players have the same amount of money, they stay in the same relative order as previously. Turn all the player order cards back to vertical and distribute them to indicate the new player order.

If the Foreign Investor can afford the cheapest remaining available Company, they buy it for face value. They continue buying the cheapest Company until they cannot afford any more Companies. After the Foreign Investor has finished, turn all the Companies in the offering horizontal so they’re available for auctions next turn.

Phase 5: Income (Turn 1) [4:22]
Nothing will happen during the Acquisition and Closing phases of the first turn, so next is calculating player income. Each player gets income from the bank equal to the sum of the income from all their Companies. The Foreign Investor does the same, with an additional +5 bonus income.

Phase 9: IPO (Turn 1) [4:39]
Nothing will happen during the Dividends, End Card, and Issue Shares phases of the first turn, so the final phase is the IPO phase. During this phase, players can start up Corporations using the Companies they own that aren’t already owned by Corporations. The Company with the highest face value goes first. For that Company, the player who owns it decides whether or not they want to form a Corporation with it.  To form a Corporation, take one of the charter cards that’s not being used. Each Corporation has a different number of shares it can issue and a special power which I’ll go over at the end.

Put the Company that you’re using to form the Corporation below the charter card in the subsidiaries area. Now the Corporation owns the Company, not you. Choose an eligible starting price for the Corporation out of the share price cards that are available in the share row. The eligible prices are ones that have the color of the Company you’re using in their IPO box. Take that share price card from the row and put it to the left of the Corporation’s charter card, in the share price area. If all eligible prices are already in use, then that Company cannot form a Corporation.

Take the first share from the stack on the charter, which is marked President’s Share, and turn it face up in front of you. You are now the President of the public Corporation and you own this share. Corporations are controlled by the President, but they’re separate entities, so make sure you keep all the Corporation assets separate from your personal assets.

If the share price of the Corporation is lower than the face value of the Company used to form it, then take another share from the stack so you now have two shares. Now compare your personal share value, either one or two times the share price depending on how many shares you have, to the face value of the Company. You must pay the difference from your money into the Corporation’s treasury, which is located to the right of the charter. 

Now take the same number of shares you received, one or two, and place them face up in the bank. The bank pays that amount, the share price times the number of shares, into the Corporation’s treasury. You now own half of the issued shares of the Corporation and the bank owns the other half. The ones in the bank are available for players to buy in future Investment phases.

For example, I want to start a Corporation with my NS Company, which has a face value of 22. Since it’s yellow, I can IPO at a share price from 16 to 27 coins. If I decided to IPO at a share price of 24, then I would get one share and put 2 coins into the treasury to make up the difference. Then the Corporation would issue one share and get 24 coins from the bank. If on the other hand I decided to IPO at a share price of 20, then I would take two shares, which is worth 40 coins, and then pay the difference of 18 coins into the treasury. Then the Corporation would issue two shares and get 40 coins from the bank.

After all player owned Companies have had a chance to form a Corporation, the phase ends and you start a new turn with the investment phase.

Later Turns [7:15]
After the first turn there can be Corporations, so there are additional rules that come into play.

Phase 1: Investment (Later Turns) [7:22]
In future turns after the first one, if there are Corporations in play then you can buy or sell one share as your action instead of starting an auction. Shares can only be bought from the bank. To buy a share, trade in the share price card of the Corporation for the next higher available share price card in the row of share price cards. If the next higher price is in use, then you skip it. Pay that new price to the bank and take the share from the bank. If you cannot afford the new price, you cannot buy the share. If you just bought a share for 75 coins, then the game ends. For example, there is a share of Stars, Inc in the bank that I want to buy for my turn. Stars, Inc currently has a share price of 18, so the next one would be 20. But both the 20 and 22 share price cards are in use, so the next higher available share price card is 24. I pay 24 coins to the bank, get the share, and now Stars, Inc has a share price of 24.

After buying a share of a Corporation that you’re not the President of, if you now have more shares of that Corporation than the current President then you are the new President. Take the President’s Share from the other player and exchange it for one of your shares of the same Corporation.

Selling a share is the opposite of buying one. Trade in the share price card of the Corporation for the next lower available share price card, skipping any missing cards. Then you give the bank one of your shares in exchange for the new share price. You can only sell the President’s share if it’s the last share you own of that Corporation.

After selling a share, check for a change of presidency. If someone else now has more shares of that Corporation than you, then they become the new President and take the President’s Share in exchange for one of theirs. If there’s a tie, the player next in player order becomes President. If you sold the President’s Share and no one else owns a share, then the Corporation is now in Receivership and is controlled by the game. I’ll go over the rules for Receivership near the end.

If the share price ever goes to 0, then the Corporation becomes bankrupt and is removed from the game. Follow the instructions on the 0 share price card - its Companies are removed from the game and all its cash and shares are returned without compensation. The charter cards can be used later to form a new Corporation, but that Corporation has nothing to do with the old one.

The start an auction action is the same as before, but if there are no more Companies in the draw pile then you stop drawing Companies and the offering just gets fewer Companies. Never draw the last card of the deck, which is the game end card. When there are no Companies left in the offering either, you cannot start an auction.

Phase 3: Acquisition (Later Turns) [9:43]
In the Acquisition phase, Corporations can buy Companies from players, the Foreign Investor, or even other Corporations. For this phase, all players and Corporations act in any order and simultaneously, but each transaction is separate and involves exactly one Company. In order to buy a Company, both the President of the buying Corporation and the owner of the Company must agree on a price within the price span on the Company card. Then the Corporation pays that price in exchange for the Company. For example, I am the President of Synergistic and Toby owns the Company KME, which I want Synergistic to buy. Synergistic has 6 coins, but I offer the minimum amount of 3 coins to Toby. He wants the max of 7, but we agree on 6 coins, and Synergistic buys KME from Toby for 6 coins. Note that if I owned KME, I would not need to negotiate and could make the transaction for anywhere from 3-7 coins.

Once the transaction is complete, turn the bought Company and the money used vertically to indicate that they cannot be used for any more transactions the rest of this phase. This means that each Company can only be bought once per turn, and money gained from selling cannot be used to buy another Company.

Corporations can buy Companies from other Corporations with the same rules, but Corporations must always own at least one Company. 

If you try to buy from the Foreign Investor, you must buy at the maximum price. If multiple Corporations want to buy the same Company from the Foreign Investor, the Corporation with the highest Share Price has priority.

At the end of the Acquisition phase, turn all the Companies and money back horizontally.

Phase 4: Closing (Later Turns) [11:15]
Now Players and Corporations can choose to close any of their Companies by removing them from the game.

In later turns of the game, there is a cost of ownership on the top card of the Company Deck or on the game end card. Each Company that matches any color in the rectangle on that card has reduced income by the amount indicated, and income can be negative. If the cost of ownership of the Companies is more than a player will be able to pay in the next phase, that player must close Companies until they’re able to pay the income. The Foreign Investor closes any Company with a cost of Ownership higher than its income. 

Phase 5: Income (Later Turns) [11:48]
After closing Companies, players and the Foreign Investor collect income as before, but also subtracting the cost of ownership. Corporations also get income from their Companies, but they get a bonus income from Company synergies.

A synergy is when two Companies that are part of the same Corporation have each other’s abbreviations printed on their Company card in a circle and diamond. The Corporation gets the bonus income marked next to it once per each synergy. To track the synergies, use a synergy marker on the circle of each pair of Companies. For ease of tracking, if you have the Companies sorted by descending face value from left to right, then the more expensive Company will have the synergy token. For each Company starting from the left, you only need to check the circles on that card for matching Companies to the right. 

For example, Stars, Inc. has four subsidiaries: MS, SX, BPM, and AKE. The base income from the Companies is 10. In addition, MS synergizes with SX, BPM, and AKE for 4 income, SX with BPM for 1 income, and BPM with AKE for 1 income. This makes 16 coins, but the cost of ownership is 2 coins for each red Company. So you need to subtract 4 coins to get 12 coins as the final income

Each player and Corporation receives their total income from the bank, or pays to the bank if the income is negative. Players must be able to pay negative income, or else they had to close Companies in the previous phase. If a Corporation cannot pay the income, then it goes bankrupt, and is treated as if it had reached the share price 0.

Phase 6: Dividends (Later Turns) [13:18]
In the Dividend phase, Corporations go one at a time starting with the Corporation with the highest share price. For that Corporation, the President decides how many dividends to pay, then adjusts the share price.

A Corporation can pay dividends up to the maximum possible dividends per share listed on the share price card, provided it has enough money. Dividends are paid from the Corporation to all issued shares, which will be to players or the bank.

After paying dividends, count the number of stars that the Corporation has - totalling up the stars on the Company cards and adding a star for each $10 in cash remaining. Compare this number to the number of stars indicated on the share price card corresponding to the number of issued shares in the Corporation. If the Corporation has fewer stars than the printed value, then the share price will drop - either one down for one star fewer or two down for two or more stars fewer. If the Corporation has more stars, then the share price goes up one for one star difference, or two for two or more stars. If the star numbers are equal, then the share price doesn’t change. To change the share price, return the old share price card to its spot in the share card row and take the new price from the row. If the new price card is in use by another Corporation, take the next available share price card in the direction of the price change.

For example, I’m the President of Doppler AG, which has a share price of 12 and three stars from its subsidiaries. It also has 15 coins in the treasury, which is one additional star. There are two issued shares, so with four stars the share price will move up twice to 14. If Doppler pays the max dividends per share of 4 coins, that would leave it with 8 coins total and it would lose a star. I don’t want that, so I make it pay 2 coins per share and it is left with 11 coins in the treasury. Then the share price moves up twice to 14. Stars, Inc. currently has the 14 share price card, so Doppler skips that card and gets the 16 share price card.

After a Corporation pays dividends and adjusts the share price, turn the share card vertical to indicate that it has acted, and then the Corporation with the highest share price that hasn’t acted goes through the same process.

Like in the Investment phase, if a share price reaches 0 then the Corporation goes bankrupt. But if a share price reaches 75, continue playing through the phase, and the game will end in the next phase. Other Corporations can also reach a share price of 75, and they indicate this by not taking a new share price card.

Phase 7: End Card (Later Turns) [15:34]
After all Corporations have finished, check if the game end card has been flipped or if the 75 share price card is owned by a Corporation. If so, the game ends. Otherwise, if there are no Companies in the offering, flip the game end card so that the game will end in this phase next turn. If there are still Companies in the offering, then continue the game as normal.

Phase 8: Issue Shares (Later Turns) [15:55]
Starting with the Corporation with the highest share price, each Corporation decides whether or not to issue a share. Issuing a share is similar to selling a share. To issue a share, take the top share from the pile of shares on the charter card and put it face up in the bank. Then trade in the share price card of the Corporation with the next lower available share price card from the row, skipping any missing cards. The Corporation receives money from the bank equal to the new share price.

Each Corporation may only issue one share in this phase. Whether or not a share was issued, turn the share price card horizontal to indicate that the Corporation has acted. Then the Corporation with the highest share price that hasn’t acted yet makes the same decision.

Corporations can go bankrupt by issuing shares if the share price goes to 0.

Game End [16:37]
You continue playing turns through all nine phases until the game ends, which can happen during the Investment Phase if a Corporation reached the 75 share price or during the End Card phase. 

Each player’s score is their total value - their money, plus the face value of each of their private Companies, plus the final share price of each of their shares. The player with the highest value wins. If tied, the player that is earlier in player order wins.

Receivership [17:01]
If the President of a Corporation sells their last share and no one else owns any shares, that Corporation goes into receivership and follows set rules for the different phases.

During the Acquisition phase, Corporations in Receivership never buy or sell Companies from other Corporations, but they do try to buy from the Foreign Investor. The Corporation in Receivership with the highest share price tries to buy the most expensive Company it can afford from the Foreign Investor. Any Corporation with a higher share price can intervene and buy it instead as usual. Corporations in Receivership keep trying to buy from the Foreign investor in this way until they can’t afford any more or there aren’t any more.

During Closing, Corporations in Receivership close red Companies when the cost of ownership is 4 or higher and orange Companies when the cost of ownership is 7 or higher. They always keep the Company with the highest face value. 

Corporations in Receivership always pay a dividend of 0, and they always issue one share if they have any left.

If a player buys a share of a Corporation in Receivership, then that player gets the President’s share and the Corporation is no longer in receivership.

Corporation Abilities [18:05]
Here are the eight different Corporations and their special powers.
Overseas Trading always has priority when buying from the Foreign Investor, as if its share price were the highest. Additionally, it only pays face value for the Company instead of max price.
Prussian Railway gets +1 income for each Company it owns.
Doppler AG doubles the printed income of its best Company. This doesn’t include synergies.
Stars, Inc. gets two extra stars to its star count for the Dividends phase.
Stock Masters doesn’t lower its share price when issuing a share.
Junkyard Scrappers receives twice the printed income of each Company it closes.
Vintage Machinery subtracts 10 from its cost of ownership, but can’t go below 0.
Synergistic gets +1 income for every two synergy markers it has, rounded down.

Outro [18:53]
And that’s how you play Rolling Stock Stars. If you’re interested in playing the 2 player or open deck variant, you can read about those in the rulebook. Thanks for watching The Dice Tower!

© Board Game Blitz 2016.
PodcastsVideosBlogAboutSupport UsBlitz ConArchives