Author: Mark Edwards.
3 or more people use a Rocrail layout to operate 2 or more trains, moving some or all of the cars on the layout from one place to another according to a plan.
This is called a Session or a Run. The Session can be played as a game, or just run to enjoy controlling the layout as a team.
Each train starts with a Starting Position, a Consist of already coupled cars, and a Switchlist, detailing cars to be dropped off and picked up.
Each car has a Waybill, detailing the different locations it is supposed to occupy on its journey through the layout. A waybill may specify "through freight" instead of a destination which means it is supposed to remain on the train that picks it up.
The layout is divided into different Destinations, which is where cars may be dropped off and picked up.
Switchlists are updated when new cars are added, adding any destination locations for new cards to the list. This may change a train's route through the layout.
All players can play against the clock as a team. All players also receive a score. Engineers can play against each other. Dispatchers play against minimum moves, time taken, and completing all Operations succesfully.
At least 3 people
Players win the game if they complete all the moves in all the Switch Lists for the trains and cars set up at Start, at or under the current Par score for the layout. Engineers can also beat each other by taking less time to arrive at their Final Destination.
Points are awarded to Engineers for completing drop offs and pick ups, based on the number of cars.
Points are deducted from Engineers for derailments, crashes, errors in communications and Switchlist Errors when reporting arrival at their Final Destination.
Bonus points are awarded to an Engineer for arriving at their Final Destination.
Points are awarded to the Dispatcher for each Engineer completing a Switching Operation. The number of points awarded may be adjusted by the number of moves.
Points are deducted from Dispatchers for each Hold command. Points are deducted for each crash. Points are deducted for Switch List errors.
Bonus points are awarded to the Dispatcher for each Engineer reporting Final Destination with no faults or derailments. Bonus points are awarded for each arrival at a Destination that is at or below the minimum number of moves (See "Par Score", below). Bonus points are awarded for all Engineers arriving at their final destination.
The Dispatcher is isolated from the layout, preferably in a separate location where they cannot see the track. Each Engineer is in front of a computer running the GUI, preferably where they can see the layout. For large layouts, a PDA should be used as a "walkaround" Client.
One train per Engineer is setup in a block, with 0 or more coupled cars. 0 or more cars are "spotted" at different points in the layout on sidings and in yards.
Each Engineer has a switch list, which designates the Starting Position, which cars must be dropped off and picked up at different Destinations, and an Ending Position.
The Dispatcher annouces they are Open For Dispatch. Each Engineer then makes requests to the Dispatcher, and performs different tasks based on the Dispatcher's response. The two basic requests an Engineer can make are Move To Destination and Switching Operations.
All players try to complete the required moves on the layout in the minimum number of moves, the fastest time, and with the fewest faults.
When all the Engineers reach their Final Destinations or are removed from the game by crashing their trains, the game is over, and a final score is computed for each player.
When an Engineer requests or reports to the Dispatcher, they must always begin with their Train Number or Engineer Name. Examples: "3265 requesting destination block Grant Hills" or "Tony requesting block North".
When a Dispatcher commands an Engineer, they must always begin with the Engineer's Train Number or Name. Examples: "3265 proceed manually to North East" or "Tony set destination to North West and Start Locomotive".
The Engineer must also report any accidents, such as a car derailing, crashing into another train, etc., immediately Each accident is considered a fault, and may lower the score of the Engineer and/or the Dispatcher. Failing to report an accident is also considered a fault.
Generally, Engineers make requests to the Dispatcher, and then the Dispatcher issues commands to the Engineers in response. But Dispatchers may also tell any and all Engineers to Stop their trains immediately at any time.
The Engineer requests to move to his Destination block on the layout. The Dispatcher then begins routing the Engineer through the layout, telling them which block to move to. The Dispatcher may tell the Engineer to move manually, to use "Set Destination" or to "Select Schedule" as they see fit. The Dispatcher may also tell the Engineer to Hold or Stop, in which case he must not move his train, or must stop it immediately on the layout.
If the Engineer is moving manually, the Dispatcher should tell them what speed to use. Also, the Dispatcher must switch all turnouts as required if the Engineer is moving manually.
When the Engineer arrives at the end of his move, he requests another command from the Dispatcher.
If he is still not at his Destination he again requests the same Destination block. If he is at a Destination and must drop off or pickup cars, he requests to begin Switching Operations. If he is done Switching Operations, or if no cars must be switched at the current Destination, he requests the next Destination block in his current Switch List. If he is at his Final Destination he reports that he is done his run.
If the Engineer moves to the wrong block, or fails to move at all after two requests from the Dispatcher, it is considered a fault.
When the Engineer is told to begin Switching Operations, he reports how many cars he is dropping off and picking up, and the time. Example: "Tony Dropping 2 boxcars and picking up 1 at Yard, 10:21"
When the Engineer (and his Brakeman) are done Switching Operations, the Engineer then reports Switching Operations Done and checks his Switchlist.
Note that his switchlist may have changed based on the cars dropped off and picked up.
He then requests his next Destination from the Dispatcher.
Each car has a position on the layout. Cars are either in a block ("spotted") or on a train.
When an Engineer drops off a car, it is moved from the train's consist to a block ("spotted"). When an Engineer picks up a car it is moved from the block it is in to the consist for the Engineer's train.
When an Engineer has finished his Run, and all cars have been moved to their correct Destinations and his train is at the Final Position, he reports that his run has ended with the time to the Dispatcher. Example: "Tony Finished at 10:39" or "3625 Finished at 2:05".
His Switch List is examined to determined if he spotted any cars in the wrong location, and if he picked up any wrong cars along the way.
A fault is any mistake an Engineer makes in completing a Move or Switching Operation. Examples include moving into the wrong block, moving when held by the Dispatcher, crashing, and dropping off or picking up the wrong car.
Derailments are not normally considered a fault. Track work should be perfect, so a derailment from bad track is not an Operator Error. However, derailments caused by moving trains into each other, or by reversing trains when on top of switches are counted as faults.
The Dispatcher keeps score for each train and car.