Risk is all about balance. If you become too weak you will be attacked and eliminated. If you become too strong, you will be ganged up on until you become a weak player and we know what happens to weak players.
However, balancing the game is an art. It requires full understanding of the rules, the map, the psychology of other players to some extent and of course impeccable timing. Players who get this right and go on to win, usually feel that they won not because of one crucial clever move or a sound strategy. Instead, they feel more like indirectly guiding a set of people towards the path of their choice without others realising what is happening to them. It is this feeling that makes Risk so enjoyable and so rewarding, not to mention so addictive.
In this series of articles, we are going to examine a complete game and look at the critical moments and various options you have in these situations. Each part of the series raises a number of questions asking you to suggest what happens next. Please provide your inputs and discuss it with the fans. A few days later the next part will be published and you can see the progress of the game and provide your comments.
Suppose you are playing Risk on a non-Earth map. The bigger the continent, the more bonus you get and cards are set as escalating (the cashing sequence is 4,6,8,10,...). The map shown above is your random starting point playing as Red.
What is your strategy? What would you do?
Ideally you want to go for a small continent with large reward. In addition, fighting territories with 1 army is always cheaper than those with 3. You decide to follow in the wake of others and move upwards to the small blue continent.
Note: Black dropped out of the game and his forces (silver) now act as neutral forces. You need to attack them to conquer them but they can’t attack others.
Meanwhile other players select their respective continents. The most successful player seems to be Yellow. Blue and Brown are fighting a corrosive war over a little continent. Good for you! Let them carry on.
Purple seems to be undecided and still needs to grow. While other players are wondering what to do or are fighting each other for continents, Red and Yellow have secured their continents. In fact, Yellow seems to be very successful as he now has two continents secured.
Now, let’s look at this map in more detail. Here is the card distribution:
Next cashing cards will get you 4.
Although you are in a great position where you have only two borders, a continent and lots of cards, you have a strong competitor; Yellow. In addition, other players have cards as well and can become a threat quite quickly. The game is not very stable at this point.
What should you do next?
UPDATE: The following shows the continent bonuses.
How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 1
How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 2
How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 3
How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 4