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Subject: reactions to first game with new edition rss

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Mark J
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I just had my first game with the new edition. It looks great and the components are good quality. I played it at a gaming club with 4 of the 5 being well experienced gamers. Two of us had played Kremlin before and the other was familiar with the previous versions rules but hadn't played before. Everyone seemed to enjoy the game and the first timers said they would play again.

Unfortunately, it was an unanimous opinion that the rules are "botched" as we put it. I don't post this to ridicule. The motive is if there's an official or fan made fix of the rules this can be a reference point on what to look at fixing.

I understand the reason for the layout, but it doesn't seem to work in the midst of a game when you quickly want to find the rule. You have to check the first section but then you have to check the version specific section to see if there's a difference.

I also can't tell you what version we played. We played the Avalon Hill version but in order to do so you can't use any of the new edition versions in their entirety. Both standard and 1928 share and contradict the AH rules. Was this a licensing requirement for jollyrogers?

Specifics noted during our game:

*There was much confusion over the replacement phase when dealing with the people. Are the 4 characters in the people row the only ones that can be promoted to candidates? The note section of rule 6 sure seems to suggest that. We decided it should be open to all the characters. Because those first 4 have to be the oldest so why would you ever promote one since the default brings them up to candidate level anyways. Plus it significantly breaks the strategy of using your guys in power to bring specific characters up to the candidate level.

*I had an intrigue card that mentions hand size limit. I can't find where the rules say what that limit is.

*inconsistent wording: phase 6 is replacement on the board, promotions and demotions in the rules.

*The standard game tells us to use the plain intrigue cards, but the rules don't say what the plain ones are. By way of deduction you can figure out it must be all the red border cards.

-it sure would have helped that the cards themselves said.
what version they are for.

Game mechanics:
It was really slick for everyone to have their own dice (you'll see in the photo I pimped my set with color coordinated dice). So having 5 provided in the game is a good bonus. We also felt 5 player aids was enough, sharing wasn't a problem.

Do not add the double letter politicians, was the unanimous observation. Swap them out with other ones but don't add. We had too many politicians that no one controlled, you want to minimize that in this game. 26 to choose from is enough.

We did go with the exile rule to try it but no one used it. We discussed whether we felt we could see ourselves using it, it didn't seem like we would. Its only practical use seems to be if you know you are going to lose in a trial (worth chancing a purge attempt) and it's early enough in the game to work him back into the politburo.

Nitpicking: font is a bit hard to read, the 6 and 9 should have been underlined for the influence chits, the intrigue cards can be too wordy, especially when they have flavor text.

I definitely encourage everyone to get this edition, it's a great product and I'm glad I have it. I would suggest printing out the AH rules and just playing that version. Then when you read the new rules you can better understand them and implement the different versions as you see fit.

Thanks Jim for getting us a new edition of the game!



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Brian Morris
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I'm starting to think there were not enough proof readers of the rules. The games is solid from years of play so this isn't about game play. However there shouldn't be different terminology on the game board and the rulebook. Looks to me like the gameboard was simply take from the original and then the rulebook written for the new edition without seeing the new mapboard.

It's not much of a problem for folks familiar with the old game because you literally can just use the old rules if you wanted but I'm seeing how folks new to it can be confused. I think there needs to be some living rules done. Not to fix the game but to clarify the terminology and flesh out some of the rules that are to vague.

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Lance Moody
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This is all excellent information. I went through last night and read all three versions of the rules including the Swiss ones side by side.

I caught most of issues discussed above. And made some notes.

I know that Jim used quite a few folks for proof reading but I wonder if a good portion of them already knew how to play? Sometimes experienced players can't see things from a new player's perspective.

I am going to update the errata thread with what I think I know about issues with the rules. Would appreciate any comments.

If we can collect the issues, it will help when making a new set of rules.

I was wondering, did you guys actually place chits to show the age of the politician over his old age or did you just place the age points on the card and mentally add the two numbers? I was wondering if the latter wouldn't be less fiddly (or if the former is fiddly).


Lance

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Lance Moody
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"*There was much confusion over the replacement phase when dealing with the people. Are the 4 characters in the people row the only ones that can be promoted to candidates? The note section of rule 6 sure seems to suggest that. We decided it should be open to all the characters. Because those first 4 have to be the oldest so why would you ever promote one since the default brings them up to candidate level anyways. Plus it significantly breaks the strategy of using your guys in power to bring specific characters up to the candidate level. "

I am still working through this but I don't think that you can nominate below the ranks of the people. Wouldn't that make the sudden death victory impossible?

As to why you might choose to spend an SP to promote someone from the ranks of the people, you might wish to get a guy you backed into a role that is strength, right?

 
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Jim Dietz
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I am sorry about the rules.

Yes--people with Kremlin helped, which is likely an issue, but by separating the rules for the three 'versions', I was trying to make it easier rather than muddle it.

You can have more than 4 in the "People" if they return from Siberia, etc, but politicians not in play are NOT part of the 'People'--as Lance notes, it makes the kill-em-all strategy impossible.

Promoting the old guy from the People. Promotions go in order from Party Chief down--sometimes you may want to guarantee the old guy goes up to prevent someone you don't have influence on from going up.

We will also promote guys with influence (from other players) so that they can get purged next round.
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Mark J
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Thanks for clarifying the people system. The oldest 4 are the only ones considered in the people, unless someone is rehabilitated or comes back from exile. I'll give that a try. It may make me less likely to slap my high influence on a 50 year old that starts off the board because now I know he'll only make it in at the late part of the game.

Yes Lance, we did cover up the ages with the chits. It's a little fiddly but not that bad. The board is layed out well. I never felt there wasn't enough room for the politicians. I know that was a concern with the card size to go with. They may be unique sizes for sleeves but I think they are the perfect size for the game.

This edition got a lot right, most in fact. It's just rules are probably the most important part of a game.
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DiploGuy wrote:
Thanks for clarifying the people system. The oldest 4 are the only ones considered in the people, unless someone is rehabilitated or comes back from exile. I'll give that a try. It may make me less likely to slap my high influence on a 50 year old that starts off the board because now I know he'll only make it in at the late part of the game.


Just to clarify, if you're playing the AH version rules, then ALL the People are available for promotion at ALL times. There are 4 slots because there isn't room for all of them on the board. Since the oldest are the default promotions, it just makes sense to lay them out where you have the easiest access to them. AH rules suggest you lay out all the rest next to the board. So, yes, you may promote any one of the People you choose, not just the 4 oldest.

I have to say, it sounds like there's a lot that didn't come together for this new version. Considering it started with an already made product, I'd be pretty upset with the issues I've read about. Sounds like the visuals are well done, though.

 
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Lance Moody
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I played my first game ever tonight.

Had a lot of fun but a lot of slowness from learning. Lots of blundering.

I can easily see why the game has such appeal but it will take some playthroughs to get to the real experience.

Looking forward to playing again.

I did not note any issues beyond the ones we have discussed in the errata thread. Game looks great!

We decided to just add points chits to the politicians and add the points to determine age (I asked everyone to decide how they wanted to do it).

By the second or third game I'll bet the rules are second nature.

I think the Swiss victory conditions should have been added as an alternative and not part of the standard game. I think I would have preferred that the Avalon Hill edition rules form the whole of the standard game.

Lance

 
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Mark J
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tanik wrote:


Just to clarify, if you're playing the AH version rules, then ALL the People are available for promotion at ALL times.



Absolutely, and that's been my problem reading the rules. I have AH rules in my mind looking for the version that matches. I have come to realize the new edition doesn't have AH's version at all. It's mostly all there but mixed in different versions.

I know the modern version came from Jollyroger, the 1928 version I think is the original Morgana rules, I don't know where the standard version comes from. It may be a mix of AH and the Morgana original.

This has to be intentional. I can't possibly imagine they meant one of the versions to be the AH version because there are obvious differences. I'm gonna stick with my theory that Hasbro or whomever wouldn't allow their rules in this version. Which I can totally see why Jollyroger wouldn't want to reveal that as it could hurt sales. However, Jim was clever enough to ensure the game can totally be played by AH rules.

Note I'm not an AH fan boy (though I like that brand a lot) I just know there version of Kremlin and it's a very solid way of playing it.

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Lance Moody
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"Just to clarify, if you're playing the AH version rules, then ALL the People are available for promotion at ALL times. There are 4 slots because there isn't room for all of them on the board. Since the oldest are the default promotions, it just makes sense to lay them out where you have the easiest access to them. AH rules suggest you lay out all the rest next to the board. So, yes, you may promote any one of the People you choose, not just the 4 oldest."

Well, this is very interesting.

If that is the case, can you cite the rule from the AH version that supports this? I have been really working with all the rule sets and trying to understand them. I can't see where this is spelled out in the AH rules.

The new Jolly Rogers rules specifically say that those placed in the people box are different from the deck of remaining politicians and that those in the deck do not count as being in the ranks of the people.

The AH rules put 4 politicians into the People box. They then display the rest beneath the box (this is the same as Jolly Rogers). There is then no further mention of the people box. Since there is no rule stating that you refill the people box back up to four (there is such a rule in the JR version), I would say that this supports the idea that they are all available. But it sure is unclear.

On the other hand, the Fata Morgana rules place all of the left overs into the ranks of the people during setup.

Like many old games, I am starting to wonder if people play with rules that are part of a sort of collective memory rather than the published rule sets.
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Jim Dietz
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DiploGuy wrote:
tanik wrote:


Just to clarify, if you're playing the AH version rules, then ALL the People are available for promotion at ALL times.



Absolutely, and that's been my problem reading the rules. I have AH rules in my mind looking for the version that matches. I have come to realize the new edition doesn't have AH's version at all. It's mostly all there but mixed in different versions.

I know the modern version came from Jollyroger, the 1928 version I think is the original Morgana rules, I don't know where the standard version comes from. It may be a mix of AH and the Morgana original.

This has to be intentional. I can't possibly imagine they meant one of the versions to be the AH version because there are obvious differences. I'm gonna stick with my theory that Hasbro or whomever wouldn't allow their rules in this version. Which I can totally see why Jollyroger wouldn't want to reveal that as it could hurt sales. However, Jim was clever enough to ensure the game can totally be played by AH rules.

Note I'm not an AH fan boy (though I like that brand a lot) I just know there version of Kremlin and it's a very solid way of playing it.



I can't really comment on this, I suppose--but it reminded me of another project I am working on for 2015...a reprint/revision of the game formerly known as Speed Circuit (which will be Championship Formula Racing)...we're changing things in there because Hasbro refuses to say if they have the rights or not, making an exact copy impossible no matter what though it will be possible to play (with little trouble) with the original 3M rules and the Avalon Hill rules....
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lancemoody wrote:
"Just to clarify, if you're playing the AH version rules, then ALL the People are available for promotion at ALL times. There are 4 slots because there isn't room for all of them on the board. Since the oldest are the default promotions, it just makes sense to lay them out where you have the easiest access to them. AH rules suggest you lay out all the rest next to the board. So, yes, you may promote any one of the People you choose, not just the 4 oldest."

Well, this is very interesting.

If that is the case, can you cite the rule from the AH version that supports this? I have been really working with all the rule sets and trying to understand them. I can't see where this is spelled out in the AH rules.

The new Jolly Rogers rules specifically say that those placed in the people box are different from the deck of remaining politicians and that those in the deck do not count as being in the ranks of the people.

The AH rules put 4 politicians into the People box. They then display the rest beneath the box (this is the same as Jolly Rogers). There is then no further mention of the people box. Since there is no rule stating that you refill the people box back up to four (there is such a rule in the JR version), I would say that this supports the idea that they are all available. But it sure is unclear.

On the other hand, the Fata Morgana rules place all of the left overs into the ranks of the people during setup.


Well, in truth it doesn't spell it out directly. It's the collective wisdom of the people I've been playing with, based on the logic of the language. I didn't realize anyone else was playing it differently.

When the Party Chief (or any other politician) is promoting/demoting politicians he can "promote or demote as many or as few active or inactive Politicians as he wishes". I think we all agree that he is not restricted by age when choosing.
In 6.3 2nd Level Promotions, The Ideology Chief may "promote as many Politicians as he wishes to any vacancies in the Candidates". And, of course, unfilled slots are filled by order of age.

I'm suggesting that the similar language implies a free choice from all the people.

In prepare for play the set up description is "The four oldest of the 13 remaining Politicians are displayed in the People box and the remainder are kept offboard beneath the People box displayed in order of their age."

I think "displayed" here is significant. It doesn't say the 4 oldest constitute the People. And the remaining are also displayed below the People box. To me this is merely an issue of space, not distinction.

In The Gameboard section is this description, "The area at the bottom is reserved for the People--a collective breeding ground of Party members waiting for promotion."

I think "collective breeding ground" implies all of them.

The only other arguement I can offer is the it-doesn't-makes-sense one. The lower politicians would rarely make it into play if promotions from the people could only be done from a small selection of the oldest.

Finally, I was also responding to Jim's comment that I thought you overlooked.

jollyrogergames wrote:

You can have more than 4 in the "People" if they return from Siberia, etc, but politicians not in play are NOT part of the 'People'--as Lance notes, it makes the kill-em-all strategy impossible.


However, when I look at that now, it's not clear that he means the same thing that I do. I would shuffle someone returning from Siberia into his/her age slot and continue normally, meaning if this politician were the oldest then s/he would take the top slot in the People and the lowest one on the board would be taken off the board and added the rest of the collective.


lancemoody wrote:

Like many old games, I am starting to wonder if people play with rules that are part of a sort of collective memory rather than the published rule sets.


This is quite possible.
I've been playing Squad Leader for years and just recently discovered a first page rule that I've been playing wrong all this time.


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Lance Moody
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Thanks for the note above!

Yes the Jolly Rogers rules specifically rule out using politicians set aside during setup, until they enter the ranks of the People and specifically state that these guys are not part of the ranks of the people. Then the JR rules offer a mechanism for bringing in the set asides.

You may well be right about the AH rules but it is certainly a mess the way they are worded. Of course the displaying of the set asides could be simply so you can see who is likely to be coming in at some post in thefuture,

If anyone has any further insight (perhaps from the rules of another edition?) please post!

Thanks,

Lance
 
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Mark J
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To me AH's version is perfectly clear that the People is made up of all the remaining politicians. I don't see where it gives a number for how many politicians are ever considered among the People.

I do agree (now that I'm no longer trying to force AH's version into this one) that the JR version changed that to the 4 oldest are the only eligible ones to promote. The only way you can have more than 4 eligible is if some of them returned from Siberia or exile.
 
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Lance Moody
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Hi Mark,

The AH rules state:

"The 4 oldest of the remaining 13 Polititicans are displayed in the People box and the remainder are kept off board beneath the people box displayed in the order of their age"

This is essentially exactly the same as the JR rules so far.

But AH rules make no further mention of the People box at all (as far as I can tell).

So I can't agree that it is perfectly clear. But you may be right! I wish some old time players could weigh in on this.

Why in the world did AH specifically mention 4 politicians? That is the part that makes me think there is more to the story here.

Lance
 
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Mark J
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What you're quoting I don't see and I have my copy of AH's basic game rules right here with me. I know AH made a revolution variant for their Kremlin, did they make a separate rule book for that and that's what you're quoting?

All I have is "The area at the bottom is reserved for the People- a collective breeding ground of Party members waiting for promotion."

To me that's crystal clear that it's not just the 4 oldest.

Does anyone have the original Morgana version rules? I wonder what it says on the matter.

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Lance Moody
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Hi Mark,

I am quoting from the Basic rules, page one, second column:

"PREPARE TO PLAY:
Give each player an Influence Point sheet, a pen, and all the Influence markers of one faction. Place the "Nestor Aparatschik" Politician card in the Party Chief slot with a Red Cross  marker. Shuffle the 25 remaining Politicians and deal 12 of them face up in random order into the remaining Politburo and Candidate slots of the board. The four oldest of the 13 remaining Politicians are displayed in the People box and the remainder are kept offboard beneath the People box dis- played in order of their age."

Are your rules different?

Lance

 
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Mark J
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No you're right I see it now. Heck I even had it high lighted. shake I would really like to cross reference all this with the original rules. But those aren't in English are they?

To me the prepare to play section is just merely telling you how to display the politicians under the candidate level to make the default system, oldest first, easier to manage. It's not saying the 4 that fit in the box are only the ones that make up the People. But I can see an argument for the other view.

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I don't have the original rules with me, but I used to play with a very stream-lined Fata Morgana rule set that a friend of mine translated into English. When we played all remaining politicians were part of the Volk/People. Anyone could be promoted up the ranks into a unoccupied position within the candidate ranks.

Granted it is possible we got certain things wrong. For one, we didn't play with any intrigue cards at all (due to the difficulty of translating them) though I remember it still working quite well and being highly enjoyable.

When I get to playing the Jolly Roger Games Edition (Hopefully I can get it to the table soon) I think I may teach the first game without even using cards just to stream-line the process and give players a feel for the game, before steadily branching out into full rules and other variants (1928 & Modern).
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English rules for the original version are online here

http://www.fatamorgana.ch/fatamorgana/kremlin.asp

It seems clear that all politicians below candidate level are part of the people.
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lancemoody wrote:
The four oldest of the 13 remaining Politicians are displayed in the People box and the remainder are kept offboard beneath the People box displayed in order of their age."


This really is the only part of the rules that mention the People box. Nothing else that mentions the People refer to the box or the four politicians there.

Additionally, I don't see anything in the rules after the initial setup that states when the People box drops below four politicians, you refill.

So, if you only can promote from the box, the remaining People would effectively be out of the game after setup.
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Hi Beer,

Yes, I agree with your assessment.

So the question is, is there a rule missing about refilling the people box?

probably not, I think. but again why mention 4 specifically in the setup?

Lance
 
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There was a call for 'old time players' - well, you really want Pete Stein or Steve Cuccaro. I'll try to sub in, though.

Certainly at WBC and other places I have played, all politicians below the Candidates are part of the People.

There is an official WBC errata sheet, which Steve maintains; I am sure that he would be happy to supply it.
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Ewan, Thanks! That errata sheet would be great!
 
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lancemoody wrote:
I think. but again why mention 4 specifically in the setup?


My only guess is that the physical box on the board is only large enough for four politicians.
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