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Jolly Roger Games Kremlin
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- For ages 12 and up
- Plays in 45-90 minutes
- 3-6 players
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A game of political Intrigue set in the soviet politburo. Players secretly influence politicians using them to exile other players politicians promote their own or wheel and deal. This is a re-envisioning of the fata morgana game and avalon hill licensed product from the mid-1980s. It will allow for three different eras fictional 1928 and modern with politicians and events for each era. Each era has its own rules foibles to make it slightly different than the others.
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|Item Dimensions||8.6 x 11.7 x 2.5 in||11.61 x 2.75 x 11.61 in||9.12 x 12 x 2.12 in||11.02 x 7.87 x 1.57 in||8.5 x 12.25 x 2.75 in||2.88 x 11.63 x 11.63 in|
|Item Weight||1 lb||3.97 lbs||3.53 lbs||—||2.2 lbs||3 lbs|
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There are multiple versions of this game published by various publishers. The most recent was a kickstarter by Jolly Roger Games which contains rulesets for 3 separate variations. The rules are very poorly written and leave many ambiguity, but there are improved rule sets that can be found on the web.
The object of the game is to control the party chief and wave to the people 3 times. There are various other conditions if nobody is able to wave 3 times. The game board is a pyramid of the different political offices with the party chief at top followed by the 1st level, the 2nd level, the candidates, and the people. The higher levels are stronger and harder to remove from office. Different cards which represent people (both fictional and nonfictional) will be randomly distributed to the offices. All people are represented by their age and have a political office where they are strong and one where they are weak. In the beginning of the game, each player secretly declares influence on 10 separate politicians (ranging from 1-10 using each number only once). The game is then played over 10 rounds with 8 phases that include aging each politician, purges, investigations, rolling to see if politicians get sick or die, replacing politicians who have been purged or died, bringing back politicians from Siberia, and finally with the party chief waving to the people. Only politicians in certain offices can do certain actions. Actions generally cost various years in age (from 1-5 years). The older you get, the more likely you are to either get sick or die. In order to use any action of a politician, the player has to declare influence on that politician. There are also intrigue cards which can be used for various actions (such as making health rolls harder or directing purges at specific offices).
There is a fair mix of strategy and luck. Die rolls are used to determine sickness/death so a few bad die rolls are your politicians could easily die off quickly. Initial placement of influence carries heavy strategy. Should you put more influence on older politicians in positions of power who are more likely to die or should you try to influence younger politicians who may need to rise in power and are more easily purged as they rise up in ranks. There is a lot of player interaction as players may be trying to eliminate politicians that are controlled by other players and can negotiate with other players and the intrigue cards can add a “take that” element.
Playtime for 5-6 players was >2 hours. Despite the rules ambiguities, this is a fun game when played with the right group. The game shouldn’t be taken too seriously. There are opportunities for some light roleplaying, bad Russian accents, and Yakov Smirnoff jokes. While there is no true player elimination, players can be effectively eliminated (or left with very little input) if their politicians are eliminated.
The box, cards, pieces, and board are good quality.
The game can be difficult to understand the first couple of times played but is still enjoyable.
The rule book has a mini biographies for each real politician in the game which very interesting for us history buffs.