In the previous part, you timed the elimination of another player really well and collected his cards. This got you the critical momentum which you needed to deal with the next set of challenges.
Because of your balance management, you made Purple stronger until eventually Purple became too strong even for you. Now you had to confront it. The situation looked like the above.
At this point in the game, Purple felt very strong. He saw his way to total conquest on a direct attack on Red’s home base continent. This is what Purple did next:
Naturally, this weakened Red. Now, let’s get back to Red. What is your ideal move? Would you fight back directly to reclaim your continent or would you do something else? At this point everyone has 4 cards each and you don’t have a set.
Think about this move for a minute before reading the rest of the article. Try to work out what your options are and what are the consequences of each option.
Ok, let’s see what you can do. As Red, you have the following options:
- Fight back directly to get back what you lost to your opponent.
- Open a new front with your opponent and do the same to him.
- Completely ignore his attack and simply stay put.
- Ignore his attack, but instead attack someone else.
Now let’s examine these options.
- Fight back. You spend all your armies to get a continent that if you hold will give an extra 5 next turn. Continents are like investments. The longer you can keep them, the more lucrative they are. At this point towards the end of the game, continents are no longer as valuable since not many turns are left to fully use their bonuses. In other words, the cost of getting the continent is not worth the reward.
- Open a new front. You can attack your opponent somewhere else and weaken him just as he has weakened you. Indeed, this is a possible option which we need to compare with other potentially good options.
- Ignore. Another option is to simply reinforce your border and concentrate your armies. This is much like doing nothing at all. This move will give the initiative to the other person. It encourages them to attack you and you can only defend. Remember, in Risk you always have a marginal statistical advantage when you attack than when you defend. In addition, having an initiative lets you control the flow of the game which is of course what you wanted to do all along in the game. Hence, this is not a good option.
- Attack someone else. By any standard, this is a bold move. When you are attacked by someone, opening a new front and bringing a new player into the mix seems like a silly idea. Actually, it a silly idea except there is one exception; if you can eliminate the player and collect his cards. Cards in escalating games play a significant role towards the end of the game and eliminating others is always something you need to consider at this point. In this game, Purple has failed to understand the importance of this concept and decided to attack you instead. You should take advantage of his mistake and rub him of this opportunity when his turn comes next. It is now or never.
Between option 2 and option 4, it seems that option 4 is the most ideal and you should not let this chance slip away or worst let your opponent take advantage of it.
You eliminated Brown and collected his cards and cashed them in.
Now you have 3 cards left (no combination) and Purple has 2 cards. Using these armies you strengthen your position, organise your borders and also rub Purple off one of his continent bonuses.
Looking at the map, the game seems to be in balance again. However, those cards you collected by eliminating Yellow and Brown are still giving you a momentum that Purple can’t counteract.
Purple decides to attack you even more...
But now all you have to do is to cash in your cards and push back.
Purple doesn’t have a chance now. He has made several mistakes and is simply getting overwhelmed by the momentum of Red forces that eliminated two players. The result is a swift win by Red.
Indirect control of the game seems to pay off handsomely, not to mention the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you win a Risk game like this.
What is your experience in indirect control? What do you think of this strategy or style of game play? What did this example teach you as a whole?
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