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"Life Is a Game But Risk Is Serious!"
As you saw in Part 1 and Part 2, there has been a long story of board game development and the need to produce a game that is enjoyable and simple but equally challenging and realistic. It would be great to learn something new every time we play and also to use our own life experiences and knowledge to play a better game.
Let’s explore the requirements of an ideal game. Board games can be categorised across three areas; luck, strategy and diplomacy. Some games are very strong on only a single dimension while others are strong in two or all dimensions. Each of these dimensions leads to a completely different game and playing style. Let’s look at some examples:
As you saw in Part 1, as mankind progressed technologically, there was a need for a game with strong strategic element.
The word strategy is derived from Greek word strategos which means general. Hence, the roots of the word go directly back to military use. In game theory, strategy is defined as one of the possible sets of options that a player can choose from. Hence, strategy is all about a successive series of actions and choices that a player must go through to get closer to the final goal.
Much of our early history is about wars and expansions. Life consisted of being ruled by successive kings each with their own agenda. As years passed, people became more familiar with strategy. The world needed a game that symbolised this new lifestyle better and this lead to the creation of one of the most famous strategic games of all time. The game was chess.
The story of board game development throughout the history is truly fascinating. It took a lot of effort and evolutionary development over many generations before we ended up with modern board games and more recently world conquering real-time strategy simulation games.
This series of articles present interesting and critical developments in history that eventually led to the creation of Risk, the great game we play today. We will travel across thousands of years and over many empires and explore the quest of mankind for the ultimate board game!
The story of board games goes a long way back, around 5500 years ago. The oldest modern board game, backgammon goes back 5000 years ago. Archaeologists found a set of backgammon with 60 pieces in the rubbles of the legendary Burnt City in ancient Persia which is now situated in Sistan-Baluchistan province, South-Eastern Iran.
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.
I have listed the challenges here along with the corresponding responses. Do you think these challenges are valid? Please share your thoughts. I am sure if you are a Risk fan, you will have many reasons to believe that Risk is a great game.Where do you think is the true strength of the game? Why has Risk lasted for more than 50 years and is still popular despite the huge rise in more sophisticated computer games? How long do you think Risk will last? Is Risk's popularity declining in the face of increasing entertainment choices?
Risk fans continue to amaze me. They show so much love and dedication for the game and spend quite some time for their hobby. I guess Risk must have a special part in Risk fans psyche and that once you get it you will never let go of it.
I was recently interviewed by Financial Times Deutschland for an article they were writing for the Christmas holidays. The holidays are great opportunity for family members to get together and play games. There are many choices of classic board games such as monopoly, scrabble and so on, though between us I am sure we can all agree that there is nothing better than Risk!
So naturally, I talked about Risk and gave various strategies on how to play the game in particular with family members. As you know some family members can be more competitive than others (you know who you are!), and playing with them may require a different strategy than playing with less competitive players.
The end result was a well written article, Triumph zum Fest or Triumph for celebration. It is in German, so our German readers may like to read the original. For others, here is a translation.
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About Dr. Ehsan Honary
Diplomacy is the art of restraining power.
Henry A. Kissinger