Kremlin (board game)
Kremlin is a board game parody of Soviet government. The game takes its name from the Moscow Kremlin, the physical location of the main Soviet government offices. It was designed by Urs Hostettler and originally released in 1986 by the Swiss board game company Fata Morgana under the name Kreml. An English translation of the game with slightly modified rules was published by Avalon Hill in 1988. In 1989, Kremlin won the Origins Award for Best Boardgame Covering the Period 1900-1946.
Each player controls a number of politician cards depicting caricatures of Soviet politicians. These are arranged in a pyramid on the game board, representing a hierarchy of power. Players promote, demote and exile these politicians in order to maneuver their own politicians to the top of the pyramid. Each turn, the Party Chief "waves" from the rostrum during a military parade in Red Square. If a player's politician waves during three non-consecutive years, that player wins. Additionally, politicians age and each year there is a chance they will die. If no player is able to wave three times, the player with the highest ranking politician wins at the end of the health phase of the 11th turn.
In 1989, Avalon Hill released Kremlin: Revolution!, which added cards depicting the real people and events at the birth of the Soviet Union.
- 1986 1st edition (originally titled Kreml) by Fata Morgana (German Language).
- 1988 2nd edition by Avalon Hill.
- 2014 3rd edition by Jolly Roger Games which includes a new modern scenario.
- 2014 Limited edition by Jolly Roger Games which has alternate box art and comes with Promotional cards that are available separately for owners of the 3rd edition.
Lester Smith comments: "Kremlin invites us to look back on the Soviet era and put it in perspective through laughter. The humor in Kremlin is gallows humor, of course, as anyone who lived through the 1980s would attest. But the satire isn't constrained by its ties to the past, or to one political superpower; with the minimum of imagination, Kremlin can easily be seen as a pointed jab at any corrupt and treacherous bureaucracy populated by ambitious old men."
While the 3rd edition printing was priced economically compared to games of comparable size and components, there were some issues that came to light when those that purchased the game opened it and checked the contents. The game was sold with many cards that had to be replaced, these errata cards were included in the box. Several components were also missing; 6 player aides were supposed to come in the game as well as 6 dice, in almost all cases this was not the case, instead most copies of the game only included 5 player aides and 5 dice and many people have reported receiving less of both- however only one of each is required for game play. The game board itself also had a misprint which covered up some text that is easy to remember. The rules of the game are poorly written and have a confusing and seemingly conflicting organization. A new copy of the rules has been created by fans to make learning and playing the game much easier.