Laughing at the Cold War ...
Brian Goodwin, Steve Cuccaro, James
Alexander, Marc Houde and Tom McCorry plot in the second heat
with Houde triumphant.
Sean McCulloch and Nick Benedict
plot in vain as they must settle for an all expenses paid trip
to the gulag during Heat 2.
Victory to He who Bides his Time ...
This year's tournament was typical: a first-time player made
it to the Final along with several repeat champions and usual
suspects, and none of the former champions won. Of the top six
contenders, Pete Stein secured his seat with two wins in his
first and third heats; the other finalists each won their first
heat with three waves, and were ranked equally according to the
HWM/G criteria - no random tiebreaker needed, as all the alternates
had fewer waves.
Purge Phase for Turn 1 set the tone for the Final, with the first
purge attempt a failure despite help from a First Purge card
modifier. Marc took an early lead by wresting control of Nestor
from the pack and managing a wave despite Nestor's ill health.
Sadly, Nestor passed on in the next Health Phase. The new party
chief (Satin) was chosen from the second tier based on his exceptional
qualifications: double-sick and being investigated. Defending
champ John Keating appeared to be in charge, but soon was constrained
from Politburo rearrangement as the Defense Minister (Krakemheds)
blackmailed him to remain in place. Newcomer Brandon Buchanan
revealed his control at the last minute, but Satin wasn't able
to make it through the Parade, and was purged by John's KGB head
(Nikotin) on the next turn (this time the second purge failed).
In the Funeral Commission that followed, Dave Dentel's Foreign
Minister nominated Nikotin (healthy and "controlled"
by John) for Party Chief. The election succeeded, at which point
John, Dave and Brandon all revealed eight influence on Nikotin.
The tie was broken in Dave's favor by high die roll, and Dave
got his (only) wave at the end of the turn, only to lose control
during Add Influence to Brandon. The health dice made little
impact on Turn 4, and Brandon used the respite to put Bungaloff
into the KGB Head slot and to get his only wave. In contrast,
thanks to a particularly virulent flu on Turn 5, pretty much
the entire Politburo got clobbered, with double-sicks on both
Nikotin and Bungaloff and the death of Krakemheds (now Foreign
Minister and revealed to be under Pete's control). Nikotin failed
to wave due to illness.
At the start of Turn 6, Brandon sent Nikotin to the Cure,
but was forced to return him for a needed Innocent vote when
he was put on trial. Nikotin, Bungaloff and the Defense Chief
(Karrienko) were all killed in the Health phase, so Pete (again
in control of Foreign Minister Purgemoff) chose Shootemdedsky
from the second level. On his ascending to Party Chief, both
Tom DeMarco and Pete revealed ten points on him. Pete "won"
the die roll and his only Parade wave, only to lose control to
Tom's 10+ after Add Influence. Tom seemed to be OK with the way
Pete had organized the Politburo, with the only change being
the replacement of KGB head Purgemoff after his death in the
Health Phase. A healthy Shootemdedsky gave Tom his only wave
at the end of the turn. Sadly, he did not make it through Turn
8, after a successful trial by Palavrian put him in Siberia.
In turn, Palavrian was broken to the People before the Funeral
Commission, and KGB Head Boremtodev as the only allowed nominee
won election and control for Pete. The Politburo was rearranged
more to Pete's liking, but the Party Chief wasn't able to wave.
Turn 9 saw the only successful Purge Phase in the game (while
there were only two purges, one was of Wasolin, so therefore
successful). Boremtodev passed on in the Health Phase, and Strychnin
(still Pete's guy) was elected. Once Strychnin completed his
rearrangement of the Politburo and announced progress-by-age,
Dave broke the Foreign Minster to the people; the result was
that Doberman, who was supposed to go to Defense, ended up as
Foreign Minister, and Shootemdedsky (back from Siberia on a previous
turn) ascended from the second level to Defense. Strychnin failed
to wave, so Turn 10 began with the realization that the game
would not be won on waves.
An attempt was made to purge Strychnin, which as usual failed.
However, he died in the Health Phase anyway. Doberman (controlled
by Tom) made a nomination which was rejected by all other Politburo
members. A nomination of Talksalott (a 10+, so an obvious attempt
to manipulate the election) was foiled by play of the assassin
card; both Talksalott and Manjak (the target) were killed, so
only three choices were left. The election still failed, leaving
Doberman in charge. He failed to wave, so turn 10.5 began with
Tom in charge of the Party Chief and very little anyone could
do about it other than hope Doberman died in the Health Phase.
He didn't and Tom emerged as the new champ.
GM Steve Cuccaro convenes his 9th