Total Diplomacy Risk Game Strategies

How to Spot an Ally?

By Ehsan Honary :::: Sunday, May 6, 2007

:: Article Rating :: Psychology, Diplomacy, Strategy
It is sometimes desired to have allies in Risk. Having an ally has many benefits. You will have one less enemy to deal with. In addition, your ally is likely to fight with your enemies reducing their power even further. You may also get him to help you on strategies and initiate a campaign together as part of a global plan.

All in all this sounds great. However, as always there is a catch. The most fundamental problem is that there can only be one winner. As a result, you and your ally will inevitably need to face each other at some point in the game. Therefore, alliances are short term solutions. An alliance is there to benefit the two parties for a while and when the circumstances have changed, the alliance is terminated, expired or broken.

Experience shows that those who can manage alliances well usually have the upper hand. The allies end up having a distinct advantage over those who do not have an alliance. Isolation leads to disaster. Historical examples (such as Concert of Europe or NATO) and international politics also confirms this.

Eventually there comes a time when your alliance with another starts to get shaky and breakable. You need to be prepared for this. You need to have a Plan B in case your ally leaves you or worst stabs you in the back. To know when this may happen, you can continuously test your ally to understand his mentality.

The test consists of six elements. You need to apply this test periodically to your ally, so that you can monitor his mentality towards you. This is basically a friendship test you can use to see if they are a true friend. This test is applicable to players in Risk as well as nations on this planet. The elements are as follows:
  • Trust. True allies must be able to trust each other. Consider your ally’s relationship with others as well. Does he have a history of breaking deals or becoming annoying? Is your ally reinforcing his position against you? Does your ally trust you?
  • Envy. Does your ally envy you? A true ally wants your success just as much he wants his own. He becomes proud of you. If he envies your success, it really means he didn’t want you to succeed. It is as if your success is at his expense. A true ally will never think like that.
  • Criticism. Everyone can make a mistake. Only few may let you know about your mistakes. A true ally will let you know if you have chosen a wrong strategy or executed a wrong tactic. Your success is in his interest and he won’t mind upsetting you in the process if it is critical for you to know about it.
  • Goodwill. A true ally is always interested in your world. He wants to know about your strategies, your well being and your achievements. Test your ally by asking open ended questions about yourself. See if he shows any interest in you.
  • Nosiness. If your ally tries to know what your plans are and appears to be nosy, he is up to no good. A concerned ally wants to make sure you are OK. He may offer help and will stop questioning you if you wish. A curious ally won’t stop until he finds out the answer. He is more interested in the answer than you. Pure curiosity and nosiness is a sure sign of a bad ally.
  • Sacrifice. Inevitably there comes a time when the situation may become bad for both of you. Is your ally willing to sacrifice something of his own for you? Or is he more concerned to get himself unharmed out of the situation as soon as he can, with or without you.
Your ally needs to pass at least 4 of these elements to be considered a true ally. If he only passes 3 elements or less, you need to reconsider your positions. You may have to strengthen your alliance by other means if you see fit. Alternatively you may start thinking about post-alliance world order.

Remember, if you want to be a true ally for someone else, examine yourself with these test elements and see if you can pass.