Anthony BoydellUnited Kingdom
Not very long ago, in the top left-hand corner of Wales, there was a railway. It isn’t a very long railway or a very important railway, but it was called the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Limited, and it was all there was. And in a shed, in a siding at the end of the railway, lived the Locomotive of the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Limited, which was a long name for a little engine so his friends just called him Boffo.
Now, in the evening Smudge the Steam, the engine driver, would come down the hill. “Evening, Boffo! Jumping cold, this evening!”
Then Smudge would light Boffo’s fire*, fill up his coal box** and then, when Boffo’s boiler was boiling***, she would make a pot of tea. Then, when they had finished their tea, Smudge the Steam would climb onto the footplate****, open Boffo’s regulator***** and…
Off they went up the hill and down into the Living Room. There was Dell the Engineer.
“What is there for us today, Dell?”
“Ayve god uh pro-toe-tape rail-way gayme anne-die think uh rrround of Argree-coh-luh izzin orduh, izzenit”
“Right away then, Dell”
Off they went, setting up Snowdonia on the little coffee table. A brand new play-test copy with a couple of bonus cards just for Boffo (he wanted to make more of the Surveyor who walks up the mountain for some victory points). They all agreed that they would play it as an ordinary game – all competitive and that.
CLOMPETTY-CLOMPETTY…over Two Viaducts, through Hebron, past Halfway Station, past Rocky Valley Halt, past Clogwyn where the mountain drops steeply away from you on both sides and…PEEEEEEEP!...up to Yr Wyddfa, the summit! All in about 45 minutes! Boffo went for the Surveyor strategy, with all the appropriate bonuses, Smudge the Steam did a bit of everything while Dell the Engineer built lots of track – uncontested – and proved an easy victor: 132-103-95******
All three sat there after the clean-up. They felt tired and drowsy. Then they heard the lowing, grunting and the bleating. Oh, it was lovely bleating! It was the animeeples in Agricola calling from their packed carton. They listened and it seemed to them as though the streams, the trees, the mountains – the very land – were all singing together, singing their praises to the chill Winter moon!
Boffo steamed into the packaging and dealt 10 Keep 7. An hour later, most of their cards now arrayed across the table (and with Dell the Engineer and Boffo gaining free resources off virtually every space on the board), the final result reflected a mostly-conflict-free game: 41-35-35, Boffo the Engine and Smudge the Steam inseparable at the last.
With only a few more minutes left in the working day, Dell the Engineer suggested a quick Familienbande before Boffo had to be banged up in his Engine Shed@. The little railway locomotive pipped his driver by the smallest of margins and puffed himself to sleep, happy and content.
*oh, I say!
**Great Scott, missus!
***Saint’s Alive, Vicar!
****Lawks a mercy, Your Majesty!
******Boffo was so engrossed he let his tea get cold! That’s some kind of endorsement, I think.
@I give up.