Using the deck generator form

Standard Usage

The "Standard Usage" section on the left side of the form should be straightforward. You select the map for which you want a deck, and then (usually) fill in the next item (number of players) and click on "Generate a new deck". If you have an Empire Builder map that includes cities in Mexico, specify "Empire Builder with Mexico"; if in addition your map says Culiacan produces sugar, it's actually North American Rails, not Empire Builder.

There are several reasons you're asked how many players the deck is for. First off, it could affect how many cards are in the deck (see below). It also affects how many of the initial demands are guaranteed to be deliverable (or nearly so) using only a player's starting money. (For more information on that, see the discussion about how the decks are generated. Note also that you are not supposed to shuffle the deck yourself. See the instructions for cutting up the cards.) Finally, it affects how many copies of the payoff chart are printed. (If there are more than two players, you get three copies of the chart.) In general, you can use a deck with a number of players different from what the deck was printed for (e.g., a two-player deck with three players); if there are too many extra players, though, you run a greater risk of running out of cards before the game is over.

Though the intent is that you use a deck only once, you can of course print as many copies as you wish once you've downloaded the file. If you delete the file but later decide, for whatever reason, that you'd like another copy of the same deck, you can get it by selecting the same map and number of players, then filling in the deck's identification code where the form asks for "Old deck ID" and clicking "Reproduce old deck". The deck ID is a 5-letter sequence that appears in various places, including the upper left corner of the payoff chart and the bottom left of the first card in the deck. (Strip off the trailing digit that tells the number of players.) Another reason you might use this feature is if you ask for a "plain text" deck (see options, below) and then decide you'd like to print the actual cards; conversely, you might print a deck of cards and play with it, and then decide you'd like a plain text copy so you can study the deck afterward. Again, just enter the deck's ID, adjust the other form items appropriately, and click "Reproduce old deck".

The bottommost button on the left side of the form does not generate a deck, but instead generates a special payoff chart showing the payoffs for all possible demands on the specified map. (Certain demands are not permitted because the runs would be too short.) This payoff chart is laid out just like the ones that come with each deck, with the exception that some payoffs are marked with "*" to indicate that they cannot appear on the first few cards of any deck because they require more track than can be built with the starting money for that map.


On the other side of the form are several options that you can set to suit your needs. If you set the last item, "Remember options", to "Yes", the form will send a "cookie" to your browser that causes it to remember all the settings in the form, so they will be set up the same way automatically the next time you bring up the form. It'll even fill in the "Old deck ID" field with the ID from the last deck you generated. (The "Remember options" feature will not work if you have disabled cookies in your browser.)

The other options are as follows:

Output format
Pictures for goods
Grey level
Wider margins
Print reverse order
Include card backs
Larger game adds cards