Martin turned up at around 6.45, which reassured me that the evening hadn’t been cancelled without me knowing, but no sign of Adam. Luckily, Sam and animator Ian popped in on their way to a posh restaurant’s opening night. They had time for a quick game so we played Divinare, the game of psychic intuition. It was new to Sam and Ian, but they seemed to get into it quick enough. Certainly, they didn’t ruin their chances in the first round with a –5 score like I did.
It was fun and pretty tense at the end, when you have to wait to see what the final cards are and how that effects your prediction. Martin rode out the clear winner with 16 (all values approximate), with Ian just beating Sam by a point to claim second place (10 to 9, I think). I was miles behind with about five points.
During this game, I texted Adam to find out how far away he was. He texted back that he’d forgotten all about it! Amazing! He and Hannah arrived after half an hour or so, just as Divinare was winding up. After his recent two last places and now forgetting about an entire games night, maybe impending fatherhood has taken the edge off Adam’s otherwise steel-cold clear-thinking brain.
Sam and Ian left, and the four of us chose Tinners’ Trail as the main game of the evening. Martin and Hannah needed only a slight refresher of the rules, and we were off! This time Tinners’ Trail was uncanny in its topicality: our Cornwall was every bit as sodden as the real one. And it got wetter as the game went on.
Tinners' Trail, after the end of round two
Despite the water, prices were high for the first two rounds, so mining was worth it. Even in the final two rounds, the market never collapsed, which was a relief for me. I concentrated my efforts into three generous but soggy mines, using adits to maintain their levels of copper and tin throughout the game. Hannah built an empire in the east, and Martin tried his luck at additing into an empty area and then buying it cheap, only for it to turn out to be a slightly metallic lake. Adam squeezed his plans into the area around Land’s End and Lizard Point.
As the final round began, I had plenty of copper in my mines, and not much else. We remarked that my whole game relied on the dice roll for the price of copper. As long as it didn’t bottom out, I thought I’d be fine. It was £4. I breathed a sigh of relief and managed to scrape the win by the thinnest of narrow margins, winning on the money tie-breaker. Me and Martin got 107 (but I had £3, he had none), Adam 101 and Hannah 97 or 94.
I was very happy with my win, and somehow it seemed more enjoyable because the opposition was so strong and because it was so close. Mind you, Martin spent most of the game moaning about his dice rolls, and he still almost won. I’d hate to see him play Tinners’ Trail when the dice rolls go in his favour. Adam remarked it was the first time that he’d seen the adit tactic work, but then we concluded that the watery nature of the game probably suited it.
After this, we ended on a lovely game of Tsuro, with Hannah going out first, boxed in by me. Adam then left Martin with no choice but to kill himself. Finally we met in one corner of the board and Adam was able to lay the fatal tile that ended the game in his favour.
Another Roll For The Soul over, and the evening ended with a rare threat: a lift home with Adam and Hannah. In a car. It’s a shame that, as pedestrians and cyclists, we weren’t sure of the quickest way back, and I sent them down a dead-end street on the way, but they got me back in less time than walking, and that’s all that counts.