Every now and then I come across Risk games that stand out in memory for a long time simply because of the way they unfolded and provided sheers entertainment. The following is the story of one of these games.
The game captures the essence of timely decision making. In Risk, players need to be robust and continuously recalculate their position in respect with others. Unfortunately not all do, and as you may imagine this will cost them the game. In effect, they fight their last war and get eliminated!
The following example will illustrates this beautifully. This is the first part of a 3-part series. You are encouraged to suggest solutions. A few days later, the next part will be published and you can all compare your potential solutions with what actually happened.
This game started with 8 players starting in random positions. It was an online game and if anyone dropped out, their armies turned to neutral, shown in silver. The game was played with escalating cards incrementing 1 army at a time and players could make one fortification move between any connected territories every turn. The early map of the game is shown above.
Green was the luckiest player since he could easily capture a continent well before anyone else had a chance.
Meanwhile there was a competition going on for Africa. Brown wanted it badly, so did Red and Yellow. Eventually, Red quit the arms race and left. However Yellow carried on building up in Middle East. This was an excellent move. It meant that as soon as Brown spent any army to get Africa, Yellow could follow suit to get his place. Brown’s response was simple; keep building up and concentrate armies for the eventuality.
Meanwhile, Green was building up rapidly.
The question was if he could keep his lead. After a few turns Green made up his mind and decided that it was better to go for Africa. This was not an easy decision. He had a lead and he needed to cash it in as soon as possible by expanding to another continent. He positioned his armies.
At this point, Blue dropped out of the game. All his armies were converted to neutral. As you may know, no one wants to fight the neutral armies because you simply get weaker against your competitors. By dropping out, he effectively made Australia a useless land.
Yellow made a move towards East. It seemed that he was interested in Australia despite the high cost of getting it.
Now, brown had an issue. What should he do? He wanted to get Africa but not against a potentially more powerful player who was determined to expand to this continent. If you were Brown what would you do?
Once you have solved it, you can go on to read the next in the series:
Don't Fight the Last War! Part 2 of 3
Don't Fight the Last War! Part 3 of 3