Pitfall

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Pitfall

Greetings Sir R-----! Come warm yourself by the hearth and take a dram of scotch!

Would you care for a wager to fire up your blood?

Stout fellow!

I propose a game that puts me in mind of an ill-fated caving expedition that I undertook some several years ago. The descent proved uneventful with the flickering light of my torch being more than sufficient to enable me to safely pick my way past the numerous pits and boulders that dotted the passages. After navigating a maze of twisty little passages, all alike, I emerged into a colossal cavern filled with majestic stalactites and stalagmites, the walls glinting with extensive mineral deposits.
Unfortunately, whilst my attention was wholly given to the examination of a particularly striking example of the latter, a grue took me by surprise and I dropped my torch, extinguishing it. It now being pitch black, I was not unreasonably concerned that it was likely to eat me and so I set off at a brisk clip back toward the surface. Of course, I had to make my way by memory alone but thankfully, as well you know, I am gifted in such feats of recall!

But I am keeping us from our sport!

You shall begin upon the first rank and file of this three by three chequerboard and, at each turn, advance by the number of spaces shown by the cast of this four sided die, toward the last file upon the first rank, up to the second rank upon its last file and thence toward its first file, up to the third rank upon its first file and finally toward the last file, the landing upon which is your goal. However, should you land upon a black square then you shall fall back down to the same file upon the first rank and should your die move you further than the last file upon the last rank then you shall continue your steps in retrograde toward its first.
Each roll of the die shall cost you two coins and you shall have a prize of twenty five should you reach the goal.

When I told the rules of this game to that misbegotten wretch of a student who, despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to avoid, he drifted off into a lament that his tailor had set so great a mark-up that he should have no expectation of ever settling his account. In my opinion if one does not have the means to honour one's debts then one should not enter into them, but then, unlike him, I am a man of principle!

But let us not concern ourselves with his pecuniary inadequacy! Come, take another glass and consider your appetite for this sport!

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