Our step-by-step guide to the rules of how to play Mass Transit board game. There are not too many cooperative games out there that straddle a multi-leveled hand management game like this. The game is for 1 – 6 players at ages 8+. The rules for how to play Mass Transit are a little confusing but once you understand that it is two different games you need to balance, it is easy.
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HOW TO PLAY MASS TRANSIT – WHAT IS IT?
It’s rush hour! Your team of urban planners must work together to lay transit routes to the Suburbs and keep the buses, ferries and trains moving – all while limited in your communication. Get the six commuters home to their families before time runs out and you all succeed at Mass Transit.
Talking turns, players work as a team, playing cards to build a map of transit routes and move commuter pawns from the big city to their homes in the suburbs. Players collectively win the game by successfully delivering all six commuter paws to their homes.
HOW TO PLAY MASS TRANSIT – STEP BY STEP
Time Needed: Approximately 20 minutes.
This is a step by step guide for how to play Mass Transit the cooperative transportation board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.
1. SETUP | Form Game Board
To kick off how to play Mass Transit setup, make the game board. The hexagon game board is created by fitting together the 4x large puzzle piece shape pieces. Put those together and place the board in the center of the table. You need lots of room to build out routes in 6x different directions.
2. SETUP | Add Commuter Pawns
There are six blue pawn figures. The starting board (known as the “big city”) has six spots around it to place these “commuter” pawns. Put the figures on those spots. They start here and will eventually move outward.
3. SETUP | Shuffle Cards & Form Draw Pile
Shuffle up the cards and form a face down deck to be drawn from throughout the game. Place this in the designated spot in the center of the board.
4. SETUP | Deal Out Starting Hands
Each player takes four cards from the draw pile to form their opening hand. Even though the game is cooperative, these should remain a secret from the other players.
5. SETUP | Determine Starting Player
The final step of how to play Mass Transit setup before getting into gameplay is to determine a starting player. After seeing cards, any of the players can volunteer to go first. If that doesn’t happen, the owner of the game goes first.
6. GAMEPLAY | Play 2 – 4 Cards
On a player’s turn, all they have to do is play at least 2 of the 4 cards in their hand on a turn. They can play up to 4 (if they think it will help the game) but if they cannot play at least 2, the game is over. There are two options for how to use cards:
7. GAMEPLAY | Option 1 – Place A Card To Extend Route
Place a card from your hand down at the end of any of the six routes to extend it. The color banners at the top do not matter and all you need to do is make sure a route on the cards line up. You are trying to build systems that make it easy to move your commuters so you have lots of freedom.
8. GAMEPLAY | Option 2 – Discard A Card To Move Meeple
Instead of placing a card to extend a route, you can instead discard it to move a commuter along one. The symbol in the top corner of the card shows what transportation method it can make a commuter move. Each method of transportation moves your figures differently. See the list of Transportation Types below for more details.
9. GAMEPLAY | Draw Back Up To 4 Cards
Regardless of how many cards you play in a turn, at the end you draw back up to 4 cards total to refill your hand.
10. GAMEPLAY | Pass And Repeat
After cards have been played and a player’s hand has been refilled, they are done and it is the next player’s turn. Play moves clockwise and that player restarts the gameplay process.
11. LOSING | A Player Can’t Play 2 Cards
On a player’s turn, if they are unable to play at least 2 cards from their hand, the game ends and everyone loses.
12. WINNING | All 6 Commuters Safely Make It Home
If you have successfully put down homes at the end of all 6x tracks, and moved all commuter tokens into those homes, the game ends and everyone is a winner. Learning how to play Mass Transit is tricky, but getting a win takes even more finesse.
HOW TO PLAY MASS TRANSIT – KEY INFORMATION
You may NOT tell other players what cards you have in your hand.
In your starting hand, if you have 3 or more suburb cards, you may draw a new hand.
If the center draw pile runs out, that is it. Players can no longer draw cards, they must accomplish the win condition with what players have left on hand.
Some cards are marked with a “!” signifying they are URGENT. If you ever have one of these cards in hand, you need to use it sometime during the turn after you draw them.
Walk (green symbol of man walking) – This moves a commuter one space away from the Big City or from any Station. You typically cannot walk from a Traffic Stop unless you walked to it in the first place.
Bus / Ferry / Train (grey / blue / red circles with appropriate symbols) – These each correspond to their type of transportation. Cards with these icons let you move one Commuter from a matching Station type to the next matching type on that route.
Null (circle with line through it) – This card cannot be discarded for Commuter travel.
ON CARD ICONS
Stations – Bus, Ferry and Train station icons represent transportation hubs on the map that require you to stop. When Commuters move along a transit line by vehicle, they must stop when they arrive at the icon that matches the Station from which they departed. If more than one icon appears on a card, a commuter can depart via any of them.
Dead End Lines – Commuters do not have to walk between Stations on the same card, however, if a transit line dead-ends at a Station, the Commuter must walk to the next Station to resume vehicle movement.
Traffic Stops – Commuters must stop when they reach a Traffic Stop on its line. If a Commuter was riding a vehicle when it arrived at a Traffic Stop, it can be moved again only by discarding a card with the corresponding vehicle icon (Bus, Ferry, Train) for that line.
Suburbs – Suburbs are ending points for the six routes. Six cards feature Suburbs – two each type of transportation mode. Each Suburbs card can house only one Commuter.
- 4x Main Board Pieces
- 52x Mass Transit Cards
- 6x Commuter Prawns
- 1x Rule Book
HOW TO PLAY MASS TRANSIT – IN CLOSING
We hope you can now say that you know how to play Mass Transit. This cooperative card game is a nice and breezy one that anyone can easily hop into. The split of hand and path management makes for an interesting experience that is not like anything out there. This touches on some of the cooperative aspects you know and love with some interesting new things all really set against the interesting theme of transportation. Even if you do not love it, learning how to play Mass Transit is easy and games are quick.