Great Western Trail: Rails to the North - Digitized Online Automa for Solo Variant

Great Western Trail Specialized Automa 3.0 (Garth) by Steve Schlepphorst

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Garth does whatever it says on the automa card he draws. He places branchlets and makes deliveries according to a set of rules explained below.

Set-Up Summary

  • Set the game up as you would for a two-player game.
  • Garth is given a player board, his buildings (flipped to side b, you may randomize your own), starting objective, certificate marker, and his disks and branchlets (which do not have to be places on his board as you would a human player). His engine is placed at the top of the board alongside your own and his cattleman begins in the starting position. His certificate marker isn't used as a certificate, rather to indicate his specialization. This will be determined in a moment. For now, set it aside.
  • Garth does not receive money, a cattle deck, or an exchance token.
  • Draw a random #2 type foresight tile. This will indicate your specialization. To indicate that specialization place the certificate marker over that worker's area on Garth's player mat.
  • Decide on which difficulty level you will play. Difficult will effect set-up as well as his delivery schedule (to be discussed later):
    • Easy: No changes to above set-up.
    • Medium: Garth starts with one worker tile for which he specializes. Keep the #2 type foresight tile that you drew to determine specialization and place it on his player board.
    • Hard: Draw two different workers, both randomly drawn. Place them on his player board.
    • Very Hard: Give Garth one of each type of worker. Then draw an additonal, random worker tile. Add all four workers to his player board.
  • Whereas Garth doesn't need money, you do. Start with $6.

How to Play Summary

  • On Garth's turn, do what it described on the automa card. Do not take the actions depicted on any building tile. Some actions will depend on Garth's specialization. He always takes the shortest path.If garth lands or passes over a building with your hand, you earn money from the bank.
  • If Garth reaches Kansas city, finish the automa card text and then deliver according to delivery rules (explained below).
  • Garth's specialization can change, if gains more workers of another type than his specialization.
  • Garth takes foresight tiles from the top row only. After you select yours form either the top or bottom row, shift the remaining tiles up if possible
  • When garth acquires an objective card, it is automatically fufilled.
  • Garth doesn't use cattle cards to make deliveries, but they are added to his final victory point total. When he purchases them, he has $8 to purchase the cows yielding the highest number of victory points based on the number of cowboy workers he has.
  • When Garth stop at a station bump-out, he places his disk and removes the station master token. He does not need to exchange a worker to do so.
  • When Garth takes an objective card, he take the one furthest away. The rest will slide down afterwards.

Delivery and Branchlet Cheatsheet

Delivery Rules

For each difficulty level, there is corresponding starting city that Garth will deliver to. They are as follows:

Difficulty Starting Deliveries
Easy Chicago
Medium Chicago then Cleveland
Hard Cleveland
Very Hard Cleveland

After those initial deliveries, Garth delivers to the highest-value branchlet city. If none are available, he continues delivering along the lower strip of cities.

As with a multiplayer game, in order to deliver to a branchlet city, there must be a path to the corresponding city via placed branchlets. See below to understand branchlet placement.

Branchlet Rules

There are four location goals that Garth works toward when placing branchlets. They are the left-most station master town in the olive green section, and the right-side station master town in the red section of the board, Minneapolis, and Montreal.

Branchlets delivery changes based on your difficulty level. In order to reach these goal locations, you must first build the preceding branchlets, taking the shortest path possible.

Follow the below orders of branchlet delivery corresponding to the difficulty level:

Difficulty 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Easy / Medium left station right station Minneapolis Montreal
Hard / Very Hard left station
Montreal Minneapolis right station

A) left station, B) right station, C) Minneapolis, D) Montreal


For a full rules reference of the automa, please see the original PDF available on BoardGameGeek here.


This digitized automa is based on "GWT Specialized Automa for Solo Play" created by Steve Schlepphorst (anwei), based on the work of Wil Gerken (wgerken). The iconography was created by Andreas Resch and utilized by David Lavoie (daredave), who designed the automa cards.

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