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Sometimes choosing between options is not easy, especially when you have to deal with probabilities. You may think each option has its own pros and cons. The situation gets even more complicated when you realise someone else has these options and are wondering which one they are going to choose. In Risk, decision making plays a significant role and it is ideal to have a deeper look at this topic.
To start this investigation, let’s do an experiment. To get good results, please follow these instructions carefully.
Below, you can see two links. Each of these links leads you to a simple question. Please answer the first question, then come back to this page and then answer the second question.
Note: Please answer both questions one after the other, so we can get consistent results.
Risk Decision Making Question 1
Risk Decision Making Question 2
Once you have voted, you can read the next part of article in Part 2.
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?
History has many lessons to teach us and when it comes to strategy and you can get a lot of insight from it. In 1218, Khwarezm was a prosperous empire covering modern day Iran and Afghanistan. Shah Mohammad II ruled from his wealthy capital of Samarkand. At this time, the Mongols on his East approached him to make a deal on reopening the Silk Road. This would bring even more wealth, to the empire so Shah agreed to it.
Later, Mongols sent an envoy to buy expensive gifts for their court from the empire. Shah suspected the convoy as spies and killed them all. Genghis Khan, leader of Mongols responded by sending their ambassador to the Shah requesting an apology. Shah did not consider the Mongols as an equal power, so he was outraged by a request to apologise. He had the ambassador killed as a symbolic move to show that he was in charge of a superior empire. Naturally, this meant war.
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.
Every now and then I come across Risk games that stand out in memory for a long time simply because of the way they unfolded and provided sheers entertainment. The following is the story of one of these games.
The game captures the essence of timely decision making. In Risk, players need to be robust and continuously recalculate their position in respect with others. Unfortunately not all do, and as you may imagine this will cost them the game. In effect, they fight their last war and get eliminated!
The following example will illustrates this beautifully. This is the first part of a 3-part series. You are encouraged to suggest solutions. A few days later, the next part will be published and you can all compare your potential solutions with what actually happened.
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About Dr. Ehsan Honary
When a territory is of marginal benefit and is as easy to lose as is to win, then don’t fight over it.