Laughing at the Cold War ...
WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!
Last year we left the sad story of the Kremlin GM with
a ray of hope as he broke his four-year losing streak. This year
bigger things were expected, which of course also brings greater
chances for even more cruel twists of fate.
Things got off to a promising start when the GM won a game
in the first heat. (Ask any GM, subsequent heats are much more
fun when you've already got a win in the bag). This unexpected
result broke one of Kremlin's great traditions as no one
beat the GM in the 6PM heat after learning the game at the 5PM
demo. A new one has been found: the wife/ girl friend wins her
first heat, while the male significant other tries again and
again with no success. This year the For Better or Worse Award
goes to Linda and Jeff Pattison.
One other game of note in the preliminaries featured the fastest
death of beloved Party Chief Nestor Aparatschik that anyone can
think of. After a spirited round of bidding to decide whether
he was going to visit the Sanatorium at the start of the game,
it turned out Nestor had quite a few points on him. Out came
the Assassination card, and Nestor didn't make it out of the
first Cure phase.
Out of the 14 heat winners, twelve punched their ticket for
the semi-finals setting up two tables of six. The GM's table
had several veteran players who've seen him play before, so in
a change of pace he went for the early win. While he didn't get
it, naturally, he did do well enough to advance to the final,
along with Jerry Ohlinger and Charles Davis. Llew Bardecki and
Barry Shoults advanced from the other table, with newcomer Linda
Pattison getting the final spot on a dice-off.
Thus the stage was set for disaster. The GMs Intrigue cards
included the Release from the Sanatorium and the Bee Hormone
Cure, which dictated another early game strategy. Eight points
was enough to control Nestor at the start, but even in the Sanatorium
he didn't make it past the first health roll. The GM's 10 pointer
was the next Party Chief, but he was sick, missed the Wave Roll
and died in the second Health roll.
But lo and behold, the next Party Chief has no sick markers
on him, it's a free wave for the highest bidder. Seven points
for the GM is all that's needed to beat Charles Davis' 6 points.
That leads to free waves on turn 2 and 3- two down, one to go!
After the third turn Charles adds two points to the Party
Chief, giving him temporary control at 8 points. But what nobody
knows is that the GM can go to nine. The GM bides his time letting
others think Charles has control, thus the Party Chief gets through
the Purge and Spy Investigation phases untouched. It's now time
for the Health Roll. The Party Chief is a healthy 72-year old
... a veritable lad in Kremlin circles. An 11 or higher on a
twenty-sided die and the Party Chief stays healthy and the third
wave is automatic. A 2 through 11 makes him sick, and he'll have
to roll for the wave. Only a 1 on a twenty-sided die will kill
him. It's the GM's turn to do the health roll. He takes the die
and rolls . . . a "1"!
After that, both Jerry Ohlinger and Charles Davis had their
chances but couldn't make their wave rolls. As the bodies piled
up in the Kremlin Wall, the GMs final desparate attempt to pull
it out fell apart as his KGB head died on the last turn, making
the Assassination card useless. Llew Bardecki filled the vacuum
and had his man on top at game's end.