Hitchiker Rules

The Hitchiker Board Game is an easy to play adventure where a little imagination and the big money payouts just might have you jumping out of your chair with excitement.

The game's mechanics (activities) are mostly traditional and easy to follow. This includes: rolling the dice to move or facilitate transactions, buying and selling for profit, picking up a card and following the instructions, etc.

Obviously, using dice means that random luck is going to play a big role at times but don't worry, there are many activities and situations where having a plan and making the right decision is going to influence the outcome. For example: should you accept an overpriced deal in the Black Market or risk dying in a Police Shootout, or; is Life Insurance a good investment prior to your next roll, or; should you take one more card while playing Blackjack at the Casino. All very good questions.

In order to really enjoy playing, it's important to know that Hitchiker does not follow a linear path from start to finish. For example, the player who buys and builds on the best properties in Grandma's old real estate game, is pretty much guaranteed to win ... eventually.

On the other hand when you're playing Hitchiker you might suffer what seems like a devastating setback one minute and yet it's completely possible to be in a winning position a couple of turns later. This is a game that's never over until the last roll of the dice, which incidentally is probably a good philosophy to choose when looking at life itself.

Unlike real life though, Hitchikers are encouraged to take both calculated and sometimes even reckless risks depending on the circumstances they face. Handy tip: there are times when you really don't have anything to lose so just go for it!

Your Hitchiker Board Game is uniquely packaged in a sturdy cardboard tube and includes the following components:

1 - 24" x 21" game board on durable vinyl
1 - stack of Hitchiker game money ($200 Million+)
1 - set of Hometown Cards (12)
1 - set of Bad Ride Cards (36+)
1 - deck of Poker size playing cards
1 - stack of Contraband slips
1 - pair of regular six sided dice (2)
6 - game pawns (your playing men)
6 - Hometown Bank envelopes
1 - set of Game Rules
1 - sturdy cardboard tube to hold everything

Hitchiker is a fast paced fantasy where life's just one carefree adventure after another. You'll be singing, gambling, finding things, dabbling in the Black Market and often just laughing all the way to your bank. Unfortunately as it turns out, there may also be a few unpleasant surprises hiding along the way, but we'll get to that in a minute.

The game is designed for 2 to 6 players and should last about 60-90 minutes on average.

Players begin with a Hometown (city on the board), $25,000 and a Bank envelope. The object of the game is to be the first to save $250,000 in your Bank envelope or accumulate $50 million in Travelling Cash.

Hitchikers travel by rolling two dice and following the highway clockwise around the board. Each city or location counts as one space. Upon arrival at your destination, there will be something going on, depending on the type of location it is. Each is explained later in detail.

Because there are two ways to win, Hitchikers have plenty of options and flexibility in how they wish to implement their winning strategy.

For example, if you have a low tolerance to excessive risk you may choose a more cautious approach. Buying Hometowns and making regular deposits in your Bank envelope is a great way to win … if you can avoid disaster.

On the other hand if you enjoy the thrill of high stakes gambling or risky activities, you’re going to love chasing the big payouts and stacking up your Travelling Cash.

The bottom line is you are looking for ways to increase your bankroll and trying to avoid trouble along the way. Some of the perils can cost you money or your contraband, others in the extreme may lead to an untimely death. New in this edition of Hitchiker (for those who have played before) is the option to buy temporary Life Insurance prior to your regular turn.

On the subject of dying, the good news is that death is not permanent in the game. Hitchikers are reincarnated as many times as necessary. As a bonus and unlike most other games, this means new players can seemlessly join a game already in progress and still have a chance to win.

As mentioned, there are two ways to win a game of Hitchiker.

  • Be the first player to save a quarter million ($250,000) in your Bank Envelope or;
  • Be the first player to accumulate $50 million ($50,000,000) in Travelling Cash
    - the money used to wheel and deal with.

The first thing to do is designate a player to act as the Banker during the game. The Banker will manage the game money, bank transactions, Hometown cards and Contraband slips.

HANDY TIP: Pick a banker who is at ease with doing basic math involving large numbers in their head. Even with that, keeping a calculator nearby may prove to be helpful at times.

The Banker’s first task is to give each player a starting amount of $25,000 Travelling Cash and a Hometown Bank envelope.

(do not put the money in your envelope yet)

Each player takes a turn rolling both dice with the highest number going first.

The first player now does the following:

  • Choose your pawn (coloured playing piece to represent yourself on the game board).
  • Place your pawn on any city (yellow dot) that is labeled as a HOMETOWN.
  • Receive the corresponding Hometown card from the Banker – so you can keep track of the Hometown(s) you own.

The next player to the left repeats the previous steps until all players have picked a Hometown.

There are 42 fictional cities and locations on the game board. The basic idea is to find opportunities to earn money and avoid trouble along the way.

The First Player (determined previously) will now:

  • Roll both dice (to determine how many spaces to move)
  • Counting each city or location as one space, move your pawn clockwise around the board.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, take whatever action that's allowed or indicated for that particular location. (details of location activities found below)

The next player to the left repeats the steps, etc.

As mentioned, one of the ways to win the game is by saving $250,000 in your Bank envelope.

You may ONLY PUT MONEY IN YOUR BANK under the following conditions:

  • PASS THROUGH - any Hometown you own and deposit up to $20,000 in your Bank
  • LAND RIGHT ON - any Hometown you own and deposit up to $50,000 in your Bank

So this means...

SAVINGS - is the money you have deposited in your Hometown Bank envelope. If your savings total $250,000 … declare it and win the game!

TRAVELLING CASH - is the money outside of your bank and is used to conduct most game transactions. Once your stack of Travelling Cash hits $50,000,000 … declare it and win the game.

You CANNOT take money back out of your Bank once it has been deposited to use in the game. That said, you may lose some or all of your savings when instructed by a Bad Ride or as a result of landing in Customs with Contraband, etc.

There are 12 Hometown cities on the map. The Hometowns serve two basic functions:

  • Starting Point - Each player receives a free Hometown to start the game.
  • Multi Branch Banking - Players may choose to purchase un-owned Hometowns from the Bank and take advantage of banking in each Hometown they own.

Each time you LAND ON or PASS THROUGH any of your own Hometown(s) you can collect $10,000 from the “local welfare office,” (you're unemployed with a local address so easily qualify), to be paid by the bank.

If you pass multiple Hometowns you own on a single roll you collect the $10,000 from each Hometown. You must remember to ask for your money before the next player rolls the dice, or you burn (do not receive it).

You do not collect $10,000 on a Hometown you have just purchased on the same move.

As mentioned previously, you may deposit up to $20,000 when you pass through a Hometown you own and up to $50,000 if you land right on your own Hometown as well as immediately when you purchase a Hometown from the bank.

With extra Hometowns you can bank multiple times on the same move. i.e. pass through one Hometown you own and land on one you own (or un-owned and purchase it) and you may deposit $20,000 + $50,000 = $70,000 total.

Landing On Someone Else's Hometown

When you land on a Hometown that is owned by another player, you must pay the owner for the privilege of being there. Pay $5000 x both dice.

When you land on a Hometown that is not yet owned by another player, you may purchase it from the Bank.

The cost of buying a Hometown is determined as follows:

  • Roll one (1) die
  • Multiply the roll by $5,000 to determine the purchase price
    (i.e. roll a 5 x $5,000 and the cost is $25,000)

You are NOT OBLIGATED to purchase the Hometown after rolling to set a price. If you do decide to purchase, pay the money to the Bank and receive the corresponding Hometown card.

Again, upon purchasing an additional Hometown you can deposit up to $50,000 immediately. You do not collect $10,000 at this time.

During a turn, you must complete all tasks in the same order as they occurred on the board.

If you pass two owned Hometowns and finished on a Bad Ride, you would do the following:

  • Collect $10,000 for each owned Hometown you passed through;
  • Deposit up to $20,000 in your Bank Envelope for each owned Hometown passed through;
  • Pick up the Bad Ride Card, read it aloud and follow the instructions as indicated.

Listed from the top right of the board going clockwise. Some are good, others ... not so much.

la capacité de production énorme - Generation of cheap hydro electric power means you receive a big energy rebate. Win $10,000 x the roll of both dice.

Twister City- All of your Contraband (if you have any) blows away to the player on your right.

Lie N’ Sin D.C.– Unfortunately, the odds are terrible and you’ll probably be stung by the Deception Corporation but there is always the slim hope of winning $1,000,000 if you can roll doubles.

Smashville– You must sing a couple of lines out loud from any Elvis (Presley) or Country Music song to win $50,000 in the Singing Contest. The other players will judge if you made a good enough effort to be paid.

Corpus Risky– Roll both dice. If you roll 7 or 11 you Die in a Shark Attack. (see Death and/or the option of buying Life Insurance before you roll)

Smell Gaso- While strolling along the highway, you've found a mystery package near the border. Collect one FREE UNIT of Contraband x the roll of both dice. e.g. roll 10 and recieve 10 free units from the banker.

Tortland - In 1971, an unidentified man who became known as D.B. Cooper hijacked a plane enroute from Tortland to Seabattle and parachuted to an uncertain fate. You have just found the missing ransom that was paid. Collect $20,000 x the roll of both dice.

Fort McSlurry - You are forced to purchase Carbon Credits from the International Banking Cartel. Lose 50% of your Bank Savings to the person with the least amount of Travelling Cash.

Remindya - You’re stuck in this god forsaken place until you roll any odd number to escape! Move the odd roll.

Land on a Black Market city and enter the risky yet often very profitable adventure of buying and selling Contraband. Buy low and carry it to a SELL city for a big payday. Contraband is a generic term for a banned commodity. e.g. raw milk, cannabis, Cuban cigars ... depending on the jurisdiction and local laws.

How To Purchase Contraband

  • Land on any city marked as “Black Market”
  • Announce that you would like to make a purchase and the amount of cash you’ll risk.
  • Place that amount of Travelling Cash out on the board for everyone to see.

TIP: you win a game very quickly when you have 1000 units and sell them at $50,000 each.

How to determine the cost of Contraband:

  • The player on your left rolls both dice for you.
  • Check the roll on the Contraband Deal Chart found at the bottom left of the board.
  • If the corresponding roll seems to be a good price or deal, you can take it or try again.

You DO NOT have to take the first roll or the deal it represents. If it is a lousy deal e.g. Ripped Off or Killed In Police Shootout, you may try again by having the next player to the left roll the dice.

You may do this up to 3 TIMES but you cannot go back to a previously declined roll. Therefore, if you decline the first 2 rolls you are stuck with the third roll regardless of the consequences.

When you decide to take a deal or are forced into one, you must purchase as many units as possible using all of the money you have risked. Pay the Bank and the Banker will provide you with a Contraband slip with the amount you purchased indicated on the # of units line. The other lines on the slip may come in handy when selling.

Additional notes about the Contraband Deal Chart:

Free Units- Keep the money you risked and collect your free Units.

Ripped Off- Lose the money you have risked to make a deal. (pay the player who rolled the dice)

Killed In Police Shootout- If you are stuck with a 7, you are Dead. Smuggling is a nasty business. See Death. ( player who rolled the dice inherits your estate)

Once you have purchased Units of Contraband, just hang on to it and hope to land on a SELL city.

The SELL cities offer different rates per unit to sell your Contraband. e.g. Empire City pays $50,000 per unit while Blunder Bay only pays $20,000 per unit.

You do not have to sell Contraband when you land on a SELL city and can hang on looking for a higher price.

Contraband can only be sold by the owner in a SELL city. It cannot be sold or traded to any other player.

If you land on a Customs city and are caught in possession of Contraband ... you are busted!

  • You lose all the Contraband (it is taken out of the game, give the sheet to the Bank)
  • Lose all of your Travelling Cash + 1/2 of your Bank Savings
    (it all goes to the player with the least amount of Travelling Cash)

When you Die, you LOSE EVERYTHING!

When you Die, the player with the least amount of Travelling Cash is the beneficiary and inherits:

  • All of your Travelling Cash
  • All of the savings in your Bank envelope
    (they cannot put it in their Bank and is just added to their Travelling Cash)
  • All of your units of Contraband

NOTE: When you die, all your Hometowns are returned to the Bank and available for purchase.

Important Exception: If another player is responsible for your Death (i.e. they rolled a 7 when you were trying to purchase Contraband) then it is that player who will inherit your entire estate but not your Hometowns.

When a Hitchiker dies, they are not out of the game. Hitchikers are subject to reincarnation.

When you die, you simply start over as you did at the beginning of the game. Choose a Hometown, receive $25,000 from the Bank and try again.

Although there’s no doubt that death sucks, you should remember that it can happen to other players as well. Sometimes having the least amount of Travelling Cash at the right time will change your situation dramatically.

REMINDER ... Anyone can join a Hitchiker game already underway and still have a good chance to win. Hitchikers can go from rags to riches in an instant. There will be times you’re on top of the world one minute and a little bummed out the next.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this game can be like a wild ride on an emotional roller coaster.

NEW in Hitchiker – Life Insurance!!!

There may be times when players experience a succession of extreme bad luck when rolling the dice and die at the most inopportune times (not that there’s a good time to die).

In order to offer remedy, you have the option of purchasing Life Insurance (often very expensive) prior to your roll to move, which as is sounds will protect you from death, but only for that one roll.

To buy Life Insurance, prior to your regular roll to move:

  • Announce your wish to buy Life Insurance
  • Roll both dice and multiply the roll by $10,000 to determine the premium (cost)
  • Pay the Bank (if you can afford the insurance) and you will now have protection from death until the completion of your current turn.

TIP: Life Insurance may be a very good investment when you have a wad of Travelling Cash or Contraband you are trying to protect, or have a lot in your Bank. Unfortunately, it won’t make much sense or difference to buy it if you’re poor to begin with.

Every once in a while you may find you go broke on the road and run out of Travelling Cash.

Sometimes this will work in your favour, when someone else has to pay the person with the least amount of Travelling Cash.

When you encounter an obligation and do not have enough Travelling Cash to pay the total, you simply pay what you have and that is all they (another player or the Bank) are going to get. There is no further debt.

If this occurs, you immediately skip town, move to your next Hometown and collect $10,000 from the local “Welfare Office” (paid from the bank).

You CANNOT deposit the $10,000 you just scammed into your Bank envelope at this time.

Just being out of cash does not qualify you to go to your Hometown. You must have an obligation you are unable to settle in full. There may be times when you are wandering aimlessly hoping for something good to happen to you (or bad for one of the other players).

NOTE: Hitchikers have no credit of any kind.

When you land on a Bad Ride city, you must pick up a Bad Ride card from the top of the stack and read it aloud.

Follow the instructions of the Bad Ride and remember if there is ever any doubt about what is happening, common sense should prevail.

The other players in the game will always be the jury when a judgment is required and decisions should be unanimous.

Return the used Bad Ride cards to the bottom of the pile.

One of the great features of the Hitchiker Board Game are the Casino cities which are like having a mini game within the bigger game. For details on the various games to play, see the Hitchiker Casino Rules.