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"Life Is a Game But Risk Is Serious!"
You are playing Risk. Due to your starting position, bad luck with dice or bad luck with other players picking on you, you find yourself in a position where you are one of the weakest players in the game. What would you do now? Should you stay put where you are and hope that your luck turns? Should you concentrate on fortifying your continent so then you can have a stronger foothold in the game? Would you try to use diplomacy? What should be your main strategy?
To answers these questions, let’s have a look at an interesting battle that took place recently, in World War II.
There are tons of people that constantly think there is one magical way to succeed. Once they learn the way, they follow it and will become successful. Then, they can happily live ever after. The only problem with this mentality is that it is only a dream that will never come true. Sure enough, people become successful every day, Risk players win every day, people become rich every day; but not because of following a magical strategy. It’s a bit more involved than following a simple recipe.
New players sometimes think that to win Risk they need to work out a winning strategy and follow it every time. The problem with this approach is that it ignores what other players are going to do. You can’t say I will do these series of manoeuvres and I will do them no matter what. To win Risk, you need to know how to respond to different situations and to know this you need to know your priorities. Sounds very simple, but you will be amazed how many players don’t follow this simple rule. If you ever play online Risk, you are bound to come across many who simply follow a fixed strategy, like ‘Get continents’, ‘Go for cards’, ‘Just keep growing’ and so on. These strategies are good but they are too fixed to get you to win the game. You may get by very well in the early stages of the game and then get kicked out not knowing what hit you.
Winning Risk isn't really that difficult. You just have to play it a few times, pick on some newbie player and, hopefully, one day it would be your day. You conquer the whole map and feel invincible. Well, at least for a while.
Back on that great satisfaction, you want to play again, sometimes with the same people. Of course this time you are marked, and you literally have no chance. Wining Risk once is one thing, winning it over and over again is a whole different issue. The ultimate challenge for a Risk player is to win consistently against the same set of people. Anyone achieving this monumental task should appropriately be called "The God of Risk".
For the rest of us mortals, we need to focus on our skills to get by. The question is what are the ultimate skills or habits of a highly successful Risk player who can win consistently.
You have battled your way through the game. It wasn’t easy and you are glad that you have survived. You really want to win. You have now come to a really decisive point. You have an advantage and you don’t want to blow it up.
End-games in Risk are quite tricky. There is only one winner and when you get to a certain stage, a single mistake or a missed opportunity means you will lose the game and leave the trophy for someone else.
Consider the dilemma you may face in the following game where you are playing as Red. You have eliminated a player who was dominant in North America and have cashed in his cards. You have a choice to place armies on the map and carry on with your march. But you want to pause and think for a second. What are your options? How can you make sure that you will win by choosing the best move possible? You don’t want to leave it to chance. You want that trophy really badly!
"An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things
he predicted yesterday didn't happen today"
Risk is one of the most successful strategic games with clear abstract rules. It is amazing how you can relate Risk strategies to other fields, even those such as economy and investing.
Here, you will find a number of strategies that are applicable to both worlds and make Risk an incredibly useful tool to experiment with. If you are good at one, you can apply your strategy to the other field and expect to get good results.
So, master Risk players, this is your chance to become rich! Billionaires, it is your chance to conquer the whole world, literally!
While playing Risk with random initial positions, sometimes you may find yourself all over the place owning a country in just about every continent! You blame your luck and wonder how other players managed to get half of some continents already and seem to be way ahead of you.
Consider the following configuration. You are playing as Red and you are indeed scattered everywhere. Is there anything you can do to get out of this dilemma? How can you turn your weakness into strength?
Over time, experienced players develop a recipe of actions that they go through in every turn of every game. They perform a number of evaluations to get a feel for how the game is developing and if the timing is getting right for their plans. These evaluations are more like questions that you need to ask yourself. I have drawn up a number of standard questions that you must answer to yourself and in doing so, plan your next moves.
You look at the map. Your current position looks good (you are playing as Red, A). You decide to go for Africa. You have lots of hope. You think in a few turns you get yourself established in the continent and will be ready to make a challenge for others. All is going according to plan. Excellent! Later, just by accident, you bump into a fortune teller who wants to predict your future. She looks at your hand (and probably the map) and says, “My son, I am afraid I have some bad news for you. I see darkness ahead. The more distant I look, the more darkness I see. You ought to be careful with who you deal with. Look around, never lose site of the distant world and try not to get carried away by your own strength.”
The fortune teller leaves you in deep thought. What did she really mean? Not to get carried away!? Distant world? All too confusing. You consider her comments for a moment, but you need to move on. The game is waiting for you. Maybe later you will realise what she meant. Hopefully …
You start with this map and make your move. [These maps are illustrated in BOMS Graphs].
Have you ever started a game from really poor random starting positions not knowing what to do and where to go? If you use random initial positions in online games or even the normal board game, you may find yourself in every continent on the planet. What you hoped for was to have a concentration of your armies in a particular area so you could focus on it. Imagine the position illustrated below. You, playing as Red, have no presence in either Australia or South America which are good small continents to start from. For the rest, you are scattered all over the map. What should you do to survive and go on all the way to win the game? What would you do if your initial plan backfired and you found yourself competing intensely with another player over a continent. Should you carry on with the corrosive war or pull out and look for somewhere else?
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About Dr. Ehsan Honary
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players