Anthony BoydellUnited Kingdom
Further to my last epistle, and the dispatch of the enormous hampers, may I kindly request that you refrain from sending any more 'Gentlemens Relish', as we have quite enough a stock of it here in Trench 14!
Speaking of games, with or without biscuits, we had another positively smashing evening of cerebral distractions with 'the chaps'; so much so that Boffo was temporarily diverted away from writing his tiresome 'War Poetry'!
Sadly, Smudge has been reported 'missing in action' following a futile attempt to retrieve a dropped monocle in No-Mans Land, and so Boffo dragged along a couple of newly-Commissioned fellows to bring up the numbers.
Jobbers, a rural type, possessed of a keen mind and a large bottle of trench-brewed 'cider'; and 'Manners' - possessed of sharp intellect and an outrageous thatch of unruly hair (which he kept in a tattered Hat Box).
We amused a couple of recently-conscripted Privates (Sonny and Beebs) with a few rounds of Tsuro and For Sale, before dismissing them for the evening (to do whatever it is cannon-fodder likes to do) - Jobbers remarked that he very much enjoyed playing with his Privates too.
The four of us agreed that Agricola would be an appropriate start to a more serious evening of gaming, so the facilities and equipments were duly established and play commenced!
Boffo, sat to my left, once again pursued a stratagem of Astronomy, Birthstones and a general fart-arsing about - consistent, solid play if a little unfocused (I fear he was simultaneously working on a Stream of Consciousness diatribe about futility, mustard gas and veruccas). Jobbers deliberations garnered a tidy, manure-based crop economy and Manners got a little cul-de-saced with Animal Breeder and just the two family members. I, in the other hand, planned and implemented an extravagant farm of livestock, crops and a delightful 5-room stone house with the usual lavish Catering enhancements (a Stone Oven, a Stone Kitchen and so on).
During the game, Boffo cracked an amusing 'bon mot' about his 'stump jump plow' and how he had sufficient 'wood' to plow with (there was much sniggering from the lower orders) although we were all aghast at the prospect of him having to 'keep it up' for five fields!
The final result looked like a graph of our Company morale over the last week descending, as it did, 48-35-30-11.
Once we had tallied, Boffo started to free-form a Ballad on these numbers, the 'loss of innocence' and 'Church Bells at Evensong' but, fortunately, both Manners and Jobbers beat him back to sense with his copy of Goa and we continued.
This was Jobbers' first introduction to Goa, a sometimes-played item for myself and rather an obsession for both Manners and Boffo (and, of course, the absent Smudge). The bidding was agreeably assertive (there's nothing worse than a timid auction) and the game ended in a close run thing with Boffo pipping me out 44-42-something-something else: my neatly-aligned row of 6VP progressions and a full 4 colonies edged by Boffo's 'higgeldy-piggeldy' board position but a full hand of matching Exploration card symbols.
Some would argue this was an awfully crass and gamer-ish way to win as MY plantation fulfilled all of the thematic criteria as well as the scoring - but Boffo was several ales ahead of me and I had no wish to have to pull out my truncheon and assert my authority.
Pausing for eighteen verses of 'God Save The King' (there are - strictly - only five, but Boffo hit a fruitful vein of satirical commentary, melancholic nostaligia and trench-foot), the attendees dispersed into the cold night.
Much love, as always, to Pa-pa and Nanny Cystitis.
Your Loving Son,