Highways & Byways is close to completion as of Nov 18, 2017. Some of these rules will still change slightly.
Art is still being completed for the box, rules, and Event Cards. All other art is subject to improvement prior to manufacturing. It’s a work in progress.
2-4 Players | 45-60 Minutes | Age 14+
Be the first player to drive all your Byways and return to your Start Space.
How It Works
The Byways you must drive are based on your Byway Cards. At the beginning of the game, all players take turns planning their routes.
After the first player wins, continue to play the game to see who comes in second, third, and/or fourth place.
Game Set Up
Separate the Event Cards, Construction Cards, Blue Byway Cards, and Red Byway Cards into their respective decks. Separate Home Markers, Travel Markers, and Car Pieces by color. Shuffle each deck separately.
Lay all the Vehicle Cards on the table. Each player picks one Vehicle. Each Vehicle has a special ability, such as an immunity to certain Event Cards. The first player is the person who most recently drove 50 miles (80 km) in one trip. Give that player the Player 1 Card. They choose the first Vehicle. Go clockwise around the table until everyone has a Vehicle.
Now each player chooses a Start Space and places a Home Marker on it. Start Spaces have star icons. The player with the Player 1 Card chooses a Start Space first. Go clockwise around the table until everyone has a Start Space. Two or more players cannot share the same Start Space. When you have a Start Space, place your Car Piece on top of the Home Marker. (Note: your Home Marker and Car Piece do not have to correspond to the colors depicted on your Vehicle Card).
Deal each player five Event Cards. You can look at your cards, but no one else’s. We’ll talk about these later on in the rules.
The Planning Stage: Planning Your Routes
The Planning Stage consists of three parts: drawing 12 Byways (2 blue and 10 red), placing Travel Markers to visually plan routes, and dropping either 1 Red Byway or 2 Byways from your route.
Separate and shuffle the Red Byway Cards and Blue Byway Cards. All players will draw Byway Cards until they have 2 Red Byway Cards and 10 Blue Byway Cards.
The player with the Player 1 Card draws two Red Byway Cards. They choose one Red Byway Card to keep and one to pass to the clockwise player. The next player will then draw a new Red Byway Card, keep one, and pass the other. This process repeats until everybody has two Red Byway Cards. (When playing with four players, the last player will receive the last remaining Red Byway Card.)
Every time you draw a Red Byway Card or Blue Byway Card – place Travel Marker on the road depicted on the Byway Card you just received. This lets you visually plan your route and it also lets you plan around your opponents’ routes, too. For clarity, place your Travel Marker anywhere on a Byway that doesn’t overlap with another Byway.
Place any remaining Red Byway Cards in the box. You don’t need them anymore. Player 1 will now draw 2 Blue Byway Cards. They choose one to keep and one to pass to the clockwise player. The next player will then draw a new Blue Byway Card, keep one, and pass the other. This process repeats until everybody has ten Blue Byway Cards.
At this point, all players should have 2 Red Byway Cards, 10 Blue Byway Cards, and 12 Travel Markers on the board. Everybody can now set their Byway Cards aside – you don’t need them anymore. Now you get to do one and only one of the following:
- Remove one Travel Marker from one of your Red Byways.
- Remove one Travel Marker from each of two of your Blue Byways.
In either case, once you discard a Travel Marker, you don’t have to finish that Byway to win. This lets you remove the hardest parts of your route, so it’s strategically important!
The Driving Stage: Let’s Hit the Road!
The Driving Stage consists of five parts: playing a new Construction Card (responsibility of Player 1 only), resolving an Event Card, moving, optionally trading unused movement for Discards, and drawing a new Event Card. Every five rounds, the Construction Cards will be shuffled and everyone will pass their Event Cards clockwise.
Give the Player 1 Card to the person who got to pick their Vehicle and Start Space last. The new Player 1 gets to move first, and then you go clockwise around the table to determine who gets to move next.
The Driving Stage: Construction
Player 1 has some extra responsibilities to handle before they start each of their driving turns. They must draw a random Construction Card and place it in the leftmost available card slot on the bottom right of the board. While that Construction Card is face-up, players cannot travel on any highway spaces that contain the letter on the card.
Each time you place a new Construction Card on the board, make sure the cards to its left are flipped facedown. This keeps people from mistakenly thinking multiple Construction Cards are in play at once.
If you’re currently on a highway space that contains the letter depicted on the Construction Card, you cannot move that turn. You can use your unused movement on Discards, which is explained in the Moving & Discarding section.
The Driving Stage: Events
Without looking, the player clockwise of you must select an Event Card from your hand. Resolve the effects on the Event Card, even if you cannot or choose not to move that turn. Once the Event Card has been resolved, place it in the Event Card discard pile.
You’ll notice that Event Cards sometimes refer to highway spaces and byway spaces.
Highway spaces are the white dots on the board
Byway spaces are red, blue, or have the intersection symbol
The intersection symbol above shows you when a Red and Blue Byway cross paths.
The red, blue, and white lines between spaces are called paths. They’re not referenced by any Event Cards. They merely show which spaces are connected on the board.
If the Event Card has an effect which conflicts with the Construction Card, discard the Event Card, don’t resolve its effect, and start moving. The same principle applies if the Event Card requires you to do something you can’t do (such as move south when you’re at the southernmost point of Texas).
Once the Event Card deck runs out, shuffle the Event Card discard pile and use that as the deck.
The Driving Stage: Moving & Discarding
You may move up to six (6) spaces per turn. You don’t have to move all six every turn, or even at all if you choose not to. You can move to any dot connected to the previous one. You are allowed to backtrack, going on the same space more than once per turn. You are allowed to share spaces with others.
After moving or not moving, if you have not reached your movement limit, you can trade extra spaces for Discard Actions. For one (1) space, discard one Event Card from your hand and draw the top Event Card from the deck. You can do this multiple times in a turn as long as you have extra spaces to spend.
To get credit for finishing any given Byway, you have to drive the entire length continuously without leaving to drive on another road. If you leave a Byway in mid-travel, you must travel the entire Byway’s length later. Do not remove your Travel Marker from its Byway until you travel the entire length of the road.
If you start travelling on a Byway, move your Travel Marker one space ahead in the direction that must be travelled to complete the road. This helps you remember which way you need to go.
The Driving Stage: Pruning & Passing Event Hands
After moving and optionally discarding, draw one Event Card from the top of the deck. At the end of your turn, your hand should always have five cards.
If all 5 Construction Card slots are filled up at the start of Player 1’s turn, two things happen. First, Player 1 picks up all the Construction Cards on the board, shuffles them together, and places a fresh card face-up in the leftmost slot. Second, all players pass their Event Card hands clockwise. To make it easier to remember, there are only 5 Construction Cards in the game. If you try to play a new Construction Card and there are no more to play, it means it’s time to pass hands clockwise.
The five slots at the bottom right of the board will help you keep track of when it’s time to pass your hand – giving you a chance to start stockpiling negative Event Cards in anticipation of passing off your hand!
When You Achieve the Objective
When you return to your Start Space after driving all your Byways, place your Event Cards in the discard pile.
Resolving Disputes with Specific Event Cards
In really rare cases, some Event Cards are hard to interpret. This page is dedicated to resolving these rare disputes.
Traffic Event Cards: these cards cause players to drive north, south, east, or west. Sometimes the spaces are placed in a way that makes it ambiguous where a space is relative to another space. Whenever there are disputes, the player currently holding the Player 1 Card gets to make the decision.