Laughing at the Cold War ...
Kremlin bounced back from last year's attendance dip
with 45 players vying for the championship. It again proved to
be a popular 'B' event as newcomers were taught the game prior
to each heat, including seven players at the new Thursday 1PM
heat. Not bad for an out-of-print game that's a satire of a political
system that ended ten years ago!
The heats featured the usual acts of purges, trials, assassinations,
Doctor Death die rolls and bad fake Russian accents. Some highlights
of the heats include:
- Former three-time champion Sean Cousins showing his form
by being the only player to win two games in the heats.
- After the party chief died in the first turn, do you give the
job to the GM, or to a person who learned the game a half-hour
before? Thus, Elisabeth Long was in control 15 minutes into her
first game. All she did was get enough friends in the Politburo
to protect her chief, get a little luck with the health rolls,
and won the game with three waves in the first three turns.
- One of the odd quirks about Kremlin is that once in
a while you might have to vote who wins the game (as happened
in the 1998 final). Mark Yoshikawa, faced with this dilemma,
calmly considered the situation - and pulled out a coin to vote
"yes" or "no". David Buchholz was the lucky
- Who says the GM has an edge? GM Peter Stein followed up last
year's three losses in the heats with a 0 for 4 this year. But
I can't complain, I did have my chances.
Ten players showed up for the semifinals, with Jason Wagner
earning an impressive quick win in one game, and regulars Sean
Cousins and Jay O'Donnell being knocked out in the other. The
final saw Bob Jamelli, Jason Wagner and James Hopkin each get
a wave, but it was Tom McCorry who got on a roll with three waves
and won the championship. Next year we will see if he follows
an odd trend - the last three champions have not defended their
title the following year! (Is it something I said?)
As I've said repeatedly over the years, I think Kremlin
is one of the most under-appreciated games Avalon Hill made.
Even with the new trend of Euro-games, Kremlin keeps getting
consistent attendance in its current format. If you haven't played
it yet, or haven't played it in a while, come by next year for
some fun, Russian style.