PBF Roads & Boats "A River Runs Through It" cooperative puzzle

As an introduction to Roads & Boats, I’m hosting a single-player puzzle, as discussed over here.

To play, I think this is all you need to know:

  • 3 donkeys, 5 boards, 1 stone, 2 geese on home tile.
    • Rivers spilt a tile into two or more spaces, which are not connected unless bridges are built.

Round :

  1. Production
    • Primary producer always produces. Mines in single player always produce whatever is most common in the mine, or gold if tied.
    • Secondary producer produces up to capacity if fed input.
    • Transporter producer. New water transporter placed on river or coast (not sea). Max 8 transporters, max 5 of land/water. If exceed, destroy transporter at transporter factory.
    • Livestock (donkeys, geese). If exactly 2 on empty pasture tile (no goods, buildings or transporters), produce 1. Donkey optional.
    • Transporters on same tile may exchange goods freely. Water transporter in river may act as bridge for two land transporters on opposite banks.
    • 2 geese + 1 paper becomes research if transporter present. Else lost.

  2. Movement
    • May pick up / drop goods any time as long as not exceeding capacity. No good may be moved between tiles by more than 1 transporter within the phase.
    • Land transporter: Need road except donkey. Donkey not on road moves 1 only.
    • Water transporter: Docking and leaving dock is 1 move (only necessary between sea and coast, rivers don’t require docking). Must stop once docked. Do not leave goods at sea. May store goods on oil rig.
    • Empty transporter may carry another empty transporter which hasn’t moved. May only unload at start of next Movement phase.
    • Geese: Can follow a transporter. They cannot be left at sea, will always follow any transporter leaving the sea tile, unless they are left at oil rig.

  3. Building . (buildings, roads, bridges)
    • Only when transporter present.
    • Max 1 building per tile (home not counted).
    • Some buildings require specific terrain. No building on desert.
    • Some buildings require research.
    • Mine: seed bag with 3 gold & 3 iron, or a different mix (4/0, 0/4, 5/5) if using specific research.
    • Build new mine shaft (1 iron, 1 fuel) to refill its bag.
    • A road is built from the middle of the building tile to the middle of a neighbouring tile. All roads on a tile are linked to each other, unless there is a river between the roads. Parallel roads can be built on river shores.
    • A bridge links either side of a river.

  4. Wonder
    • May spend goods at home tile with transporter present to buy bricks for wonder. 2 goods for 1st brick, 3 for 2nd, etc., in same phase (because 2 goods brick cost spot already reached in solo).
    • 1 neutral brick added after player is done.
    • After hitting specific spot on Wonder, deserts become pastures.
    • Game ends immediately when last neutral brick used (20th brick with solo rules).

End :
• Gold (10WP), coins (40WP), stock (120WP) on own transporters.
• Wonder contribution 10WP per row with player brick.

Other :
• When researching a transporter tech, may immediately upgrade any corresponding factories where own transporter is present. One-time use at the moment of research.
• Conflict, phase order rules and walls are irrelevant for single player.

And here is the starting setup:

Aside from the map, the only thing of real interest depicted here is that it’s the 28th brick that will irrigate the deserts.

The first thing everyone needs to decide on is whether or not you’ll tackle this with or without any outline from me of the problem and challenges, and with or without a target score to aspire to.

The second thing is where your home tile will be, and (probably) on which side of the river each of your pieces will go.

Unlike a competitive game, all the discussion might as well be in this thread, as the discussion is the point.


My instinct is that home base should be east of the river. Thoughts?


Will read the rules after work and then have a think


I think cardinal directions are clear enough, but I’ve added coordinates to the map for extra clarity.


I’m mostly busy today, so don’t wait for my input!

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@Benkyo what’s that symbol where we have to place the 1st brick?

Placing a brick requires two resources for the rest of the game

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Ok. Here’s my thoughts.

Set up base in 2-3. If we setup east of the river technically we don’t need any bridges to reach any hex, and it gives us access to two pastures, perfect for breeding.

Spend turn one sending a donkey to the woods to build a woodcutter, everyone else stays at base and builds a saw mill.

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I also think breeding is going to be useful.

Are we able to move 2 donkeys to an empty pasture in a single turn?

A question - is this like Antiquity, whereby it looks like an economic/ farming puzzle but is actually something else?

I think it’s more economic than antiquity.

We don’t need the saw mill in turn one.

So two donkeys to the other pasture.

One donkey with two panels. One to build woodcutter one to carry onto the next turn and build a stone cutter.

No. That doesn’t work, because you can’t get to the forest direct from the stone.

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It is a logistics puzzle. If other players are around it can become a logistics puzzle with supply chain inflitration, theft, and disruption.

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Things that might be worth discussing: how many geese do you want, total, for which research? That’s a game-spanning decision, assuming you will build on the pastures once reproduction is done. Which hexes are going to be for which buildings? You are very cramped, so it may be best to plan uses for all of them now.


We need a sawmill, a woodcutters (or 2) a quarry. a mine and a papermill.

Which leaves us one square left. (The hex top left probably?)

This also ignores the sea tiles, we would need rafts for them?

Hmm. Hmm/ If we agree that our starting hex is the northernmost pasture we could get a lot of goods back there with rafts?

Sea is only good for fuel, but you will need to find space for either an oil rig or a coal burner, and a mint, and a stock exchange.

Hmm. If we push for the irrigation, we could use the two desert tiles for mint and stock exchange?

I agree with this starting base. Agree with donkey to woods to be woodcutter

However then I’d move remaining donkeys to 3-3 to reproduce next turn.

How do we score points? Is it all about the wonder board, which is 10 points/ layer.

(I don’t really know.) Something about money?