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Brass: Birmingham co-creator’s British mining board game Tinners' Trail gets a remake

Mine your own business.

Dig into the mining industry in 19th century Britain with Tinners' Trail, a remake of a classic 2008 board game created by Martin Wallace - co-designer of Brass: Birmingham.

Set during the 1800s, the upcoming board game focuses on the tin and copper mining industry within the town of Cornwall - in the southernmost part of Britain. Rich with mineral deposits, Cornwall saw an increase in mining conglomerates during this time in history, with rival businesses fiercely competing against one another for control of the region.

In Tinners' Trail, players become representatives for these competing mining conglomerates, with the goal being to secure as much profit as possible before their rivals can get a foothold - whilst ensuring that their funds do not run dry and their workers stay motivated. Players begin the game finding a location for their mine by taking part in an auction to acquire land, with the richer deposit locations requiring the higher bids.

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Image: Alley Cat Games/Ross Connell

Everyone then begins the process of extracting ore from inside their mines. As the game continues, players will have to dig deeper and deeper in order to find new deposits, with the process costing more to complete the deeper they go.

Players can attempt to reduce their mining expenses by purchasing structures such as ports, train stations and drainage tunnels. Alternatively, they can try to make their money back by playing the market - selling their precious tin and copper at the right time before the prices are lowered once again. By gathering enough profits, players can begin investing in industries beyond Cornwalls borders, with the earlier investments getting the better returns.

Performing these various actions costs players work points, which are recorded on a work track that determines the player order for each round. By using their time and money wisely, players can collect the most points by the game’s end and become the winner.

The redeveloped version of Tinners' Trail ups the original’s player count to five possible players, with new artwork from the artist behind Flamme Rouge - Ossi Heikkla - and Javier Gonzáles. Other changes include the addition of dual-use auction cards - which can give bonuses before and after auctions - the game board being set up using tiles instead of dice-rolls, and a solo game mode created by David Digby.

The 2021 version of Tinners' Trail also comes with two new expansions for the game, the Arsenic and Emmigration expansions - with the latter allowing players to send workers overseas for additional profits and the former introducing a new resource for players to acquire and sell.

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Image: Alley Cat Games/Ross Connell

Besides creating Tinners' Trail and co-designing Brass: Birmingham, Martin Wallace is known for creating Brass: Lancashire - the predecessor to Brass: Birmingham - co-designing train game Railways of the World and creating Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, a board game adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s series of novels.

Alley Cat Games is the studio responsible for releasing the remake of Tinners' Tale - with the first being published by Wallace’s own label Treefrog Games - and has previously published titles such as Dice Hospital, Chocolate Factory and Cat Cafe.

The Kickstarter campaign for Tinners' Trail is live until February 4th, with a pledge of £33 ($45) getting backers a copy of the core game estimated to arrive in September.


Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Staff Writer

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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