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Rating: 6.5 Good
Players: 3-4 players
Playing time: 60-90 minutes

Created by: Martin Wallace, Peter Dennis, Andreas Resch

Published by: Broadway Toys LTD, IELLO, JKLM Games

Alternate Names: 青瓷天下


Tinners' Trail is set in early nineteenth century Cornwall, and focuses on the copper and tin mining industries that made the county famous. It was during this century that Cornwall became one of the most important mining areas in the world.

It produced the tin that was used in many alloys, and the copper that was used to clad the ships of the Royal Navy. It was the demand for more efficient water pumps in the mines that lead to the development of the steam engine, which in turn led to the first steam trains.

When Cornish mining went into decline Cornishmen moved around the world, taking their valuable skills with them, helping to shape the modern world of mining.

The name of the game refers to the long walks that the miners had to make from their homes to the mines. The path to the mine would be known locally as the 'Tinners' Trail'.

The game is for three or four players and should take around sixty to ninety minutes to play.

Each player represents a mining conglomerate. These were coming into being at this time as individual mining operations formed mergers and were taken over.

At the start of the game copper and tin deposits, (represented by orange and white cubes), will be placed on the board. In addition, each deposit will have a number of dark blue cubes added to it - these represent the water that would flood the mines.

The more water cubes present in an area the more expensive it is to mine the ore. You can, however, remove water cubes in a variety of ways, such as digging adits, (drainage tunnels), or using steam pumps.

The game lasts for four turns. Each turn is divided into seven phases.

First phase: Determine ore prices. Randomly determine the price of tin and copper ores for the coming turn.

Second phase: Available developments. Place miners, ports, trains, and adits in the Available Developments box, as well as placing steam pump discs in their boxes. How many pieces are available depends on which turn it is.

Third phase: Player actions. Th is is the core of the game. Each action takes a certain amount of time, which means moving your token along the Time Track. The player who has used the least amount of time in the current turn is the active player, which means that you may be able to perform several actions in succession.

The most complicated action is building a mine. The active player selects an area and an auction occurs to see who will build a mine in the selected area. If the active player does not win the auction then he will remain the active player and can select another action, which may be the same one.

The map is divided into areas, which at the start of the game may contain orange copper cubes, white tin cubes, and dark blue water cubes. When a player chooses to mine ore they can take a number of copper and tin cubes from the area equal to the mine's capacity.

A mine has a basic capacity of two, but an extra miner, port or train will each increase the mine's capacity by one. The financial cost of mining each cube is equal to the number of water cubes in the area. After you have taken ore from an area you must add one extra water cube as the mine has been dug deeper.

There are a number of ways that you can remove water cubes from an area. Steam pumps, ports, and trains can all be used to remove water cubes.

If you are short of money then you can choose to sell pasties, earning £1 in the process.

This phase ends when all of the players have passed.

Fourth phase: Sell ore. You must now sell all of the copper and tin ore you mined for money.

Fifth phase: External investments. Then you have the opportunity to convert some or all of your money into external investments. The return on investments declines over the course of the game, so the earlier you invest the better the return that you get.

However, you will need to judge carefully how much money that you will need for the following turn to take part in auctions and mine more ore. Keeping less than £10 for the next turn is taking a big risk.

Sixth phase: Prospect. The two players who are first and second on the Order of Play column each carry out a prospecting action. They choose an area that has no cubes in it and roll the dice to see what is found.

Seventh phase: End of turn. If four turns have passed then the game ends and the player with the most victory points from investments is the winner. Otherwise you start a new turn. Note that the only way to score victory points is by investing your money outside of Cornwall.

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Ludoteca Ideale Official Selection Winner 2011
Juego del Año Finalist 2010
Golden Geek Best Gamers' Board Game Nominee 2009
International Gamers Awards - General Strategy; Multi-player Nominee 2008

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