The map starts with tin, copper, and water cubes placed on it. Special dice are used to determine how many of each start in each area. You have ten time points to spend on actions. The most important action is building a mine. However, you can only suggest an area for a mine to be built in. The player who bids the most in an auction gains the right to build there. The cost to mine ore depends on the amount of water in the area. You can remove water by building ports, improving steam pumps, and building trains. You can also build underground drainage tunnels, called adits. When you build an adit you will also discover new lodes of tin and copper. Additional miners can be employed to improve the capacity of your mine, (how much ore you can take out in a single action). If you are short of money you can also sell pasties.
The price for tin and copper is set randomly at the beginning of each turn. It can vary a lot and you really want to sell when the prices are high. However, you cannot hold ore back, you must sell everything you mine.
Once you have sold your ore you decide how much money you wish to invest outside of Cornwall. This is how you convert money to victory points. The earlier you invest the better the return.
Tinners’ Trail is for three to four players and should take between 60 and 90 minutes to play. It’s lighter than the normal Warfrog game but still has enough meat for the seasoned gamer.