Your No 1. Resource Site for Tactics, Strategy and Diplomacy
"Life Is a Game But Risk Is Serious!"
You still clearly remember your last Risk game. It is still fresh in your mind. You won, and won spectacularly. There was a tight moment in the game, but you made a calculated decision to counteract an invasion and turned it on its head. You made a player stretch too far and then attacked his home continent. After that, there was no stopping you.
You think that this was a fantastic strategy and are now about to play another game. Your success in that game makes you think that you can do it again. Your plan is to play the same strategy. It worked so well last time, so why not try again.
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.
In the last part you saw how you managed the balance of power by weakening the strong players and letting weaker players to become strong. You found yourself in the position shown above and were wondering what to do next.
In Part 1 you saw the initial distribution of armies and despite a good start discovered that you had a competitor who was even in a better position than you. Let’s examine this state and evaluate the move.
Risk has expanded greatly in recent years. Risk began its life in the 1950s and the fact that it is still widely available and popular is a testimony to its success. In its relative long history, as far a modern board games goes, Risk rules have been updated countless times and many varieties have been created and use especially when Risk has been introduced in different countries.
As computer technology progressed, official Risk games started to appear on computer games and these in turn introduced a variety of new options and maps that people could use. However, it wasn’t until the advent of unofficial Risk games that Risk and its endless amusing varieties took off. Many Risk game providers simply started their life by introducing classic Risk and an ability for players to play on different maps. Later, they made it easier for players to make maps and suddenly a whole variety of fan made maps from Star Wars, to Lord of the Rings to some elegantly topologies appeared on these sites.
Players liked these new trends so much that they simply started to ask a new question; “if we can change the maps, can we change other rules?” Today, many of competing unofficial Risk games differentiate themselves from one another by the variations they provide as well as the potential options available. Good options get replicated and certain varieties prevail or become the new standard.
This article systematically examines Risk variations and explores all areas were variations have been introduced. This will help those eager players who are constantly in search of making something new to get inspired by these custom Risk games and get more millage out of their games.
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?
As you saw in Part 1, the initial start in Risk is quite critical and if you don’t get it right you can fail spectacularly. Opening moves in Risk are much like Chess. They set the pace of the game, define the strategic positions which would come to define the rest of the game. It is always possible to get away with a single mistake, but a series of mistakes is lethal. If you realise you have already made a mistake, beware that you can’t afford to risk anymore and need to play conservatively thinking about all possible consequences before you make your decision. Let’s analyse the game further to see what happened and what went wrong.
Risk can be surprising and in the course of a game, you may always have a heart sinking feeling of imminent danger and fall. In fact, this is what makes Risk so exciting. Anyone can win which means even experienced players must be on guard all the time otherwise can easily lose.
The opening stages of a game are quite critical. If you start badly or make mistakes, you are very likely to get kicked out and the game and lose. You must pay constant attention to your opponents as well as your own position in comparison with others. The best way to learn opening moves is by example. Let’s consider the game shown above.
This game is played on a non-Earth map. The card sequence is escalating which means that the rate goes up by 2 every time someone cashes a set. We are going to analyse this game in an abstract way, so don’t worry too much about the details. Assume that similar to the Earth map, the bigger the continent or the higher the number of its borders, the more bonuses you get.
Assume you are Red and the map above was the starting position.
What would you do?
This is the last part of the 3-part series. As you saw earlier, many players suddenly made bold moves and expanded in different directions. The cards meant that the game was unstable and anything could happen. The above shows how the world looked like.
As you saw in Part 1 of this example scenario, Brown had a dilemma and needed a compromise. This is how the world looked like. Follow with this example to see what happened next.
I am a board game and Risk game enthusiast. I like thinking and talking about strategy in games which has led me to the creation of this website. Although Risk is a classic, I feel one can never get tired of playing this game. Read about what I think of the game and I am always eager to know what you think.
More about Ehsan Honary (Ethan)
Available from Amazon as paperback and Kindle
Available in Apple Books
Learn More About the Book
When a territory is of marginal benefit and is as easy to lose as is to win, then don’t fight over it.