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The Kremlin in Moscow in the year 1951.
The very old party- and government-head, Nestor Aparatschik, is hardly ever seen in public anymore due to illness. After his death, a struggle will break out for the best places in the Politburo, particularly for the office of party chief.
Powerful men behind the scenes (the players) pull the strings. Soon the new bosses clean house and demote their political enemies.
But will the new trend last? The top management is hopelessly obsolete, disease ravages the Politburo, and old boys continuously move up to the desired positions. How long will it take until player can establish a regime of strength, in which a somewhat-healthy party chief can show up three times in the October parade and wave to his people without breaking down?
Kremlin is a game of political manoeuvring as you try to get your faction into control in the post-WW2 Kremlin.
If it wasn't for the length of the rules I'd say this was the perfect party game, but the rules are a bit lengthy for that. However, if you have a couple of people who already know the game the rules are easily learned 'on the fly' by newcomers.
No game I've played before or since has given me as much fun as Kremlin. There's so much subterfuge that no one ever truly knows what's going to happen and the tables can turn in an instant, bringing a player from obscurity to winning the game through the cunning allocation of secret influence. Also, the game just has a wonderful sense of humour - it's a gigglefest as you vie for control in a government of the old codgers and outright lunatics who populate the game's fictitious Russian parliament.
The thing I like most about Kremlin is the way sneaky play can win you the game - when do you hold back on voting for your preferred candidate? When do you make an outright bid for power? Sometimes it pays to actually vote against your best candidate - I once won the game by making other players believe that I wanted to put my own secret candidate in Siberia - they saw him as a safe bet so they eventually placed him unassailably in the top position (to my feigned disgust) only to see me declare my full influence on him and win the game. These sorts of turnarounds are what makes Kremlin a truly great game.
This game has the perfect mix of luck and skill, so although there's some skill involved a newcomer to the game can win if he has luck on his side.
This is a superlative game. Your goal: control the Soviet government by political influence which you secretly (until revealed) hold over politicians in the Politburo. It takes cunning, superlative timing, a bit of luck, and sometimes riding the coattails of your competitors to win this game. Chance is less of a factor than strategy, which I like.
Your Politburo leaders will get sick and stressed because of their position amidst the unrest, be sent to Siberia by higher officials, go to the sanitarium to restore their mental competence, and be purged to the ranks of the people. But that is not all -- with Influence cards in the advanced version of gameplay (included in the original game) you will witness a multitude of other events.
I love this game because it is: quick but does not end abruptly, leaning toward strategy instead of chance, a unique experience every time, has wonderful graphics and characters, and spawns bad accents...
There is also a historical Revolution variant -- but I have not found that yet for sale, and have not played it.