Pipeline is played over 3 years: 8 rounds in the first year, 6 rounds in the second year, and 4 rounds in the final year. During each round, a player’s turn is comprised of 2 phases: the Work Phase and the Machine Phase. Due to the engine building nature of the game, players will be able to make most of their money in the final year, even though there are half as many rounds as compared to the first year. At the beginning of the second and third years, a Refresh Phase is conducted.
Starting the game with $40, you will take 1 action each round with your worker. You may place your worker on any action space, available Government Pipe tiles, or in your own pipe network to take the corresponding action. Please keep in mind that this is not a worker placement game: your worker is simply there to show you which secondary action is available to you.
Additionally, if you take one of the 8 actions on the game board, you may take a secondary action by paying $10 and moving your worker to the action space directly adjacent to your current space. This also allows you to adjust your turn order for the next round.
In the Machine Phase, you may run ALL of your machines in your pipe network! To do this, you pay $15 to activate all your machines. Each machine will run all Pipelines attached to it in the same manner as using a Worker Action.
At the beginning of the second and third years, players will carry out a Refresh phase which consists of updating Contracts, resupplying oil markets, discarding and refilling the Tank and Machine Shops, and refreshing the Upgrade Markers.