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36 Strategies > Part 3: Attacking Strategies

36 Strategies > Part 3: Attacking Strategies
Tactic, Strategy, Series

Article Rating:::: 5 Ratings :::: Saturday, June 30, 2007

Strategy 13: Startle the snake by hitting the grass around it.

When you cannot detect the opponent’s plans launch a direct, but brief, attack and observe your opponent reactions. Their behaviour will reveal their strategy.

In Risk Game:

Suppose you are playing against a new player and are wondering which type of a player he belongs to. You need to know if he is an aggressive player, a deal maker, an isolationist or an amateur (see Section 3.3 of Total Diplomacy for definition and comparisons). In order to discover his type, you can test him by approaching him in different ways and analyse his response. If you approach him for a deal and he dismissed your proposal thinking that it’s a daft idea, you know he is not into deal making. Perhaps he only understands force and you should show him your power by using your armies. 

Strategy 14: Borrow another’s corpse to resurrect the soul. (Raise a corpse from the dead.)

Take an institution, a technology, or a method that has been forgotten or discarded and appropriate it for your own purpose. Revive something from the past by giving it a new purpose or to reinterpret and bring to life old ideas, customs, and traditions.

In Risk Game:

Sun Tzu had great ideas on strategy. Read the Art of War, bring the old ideas and apply it to the new world. They are just as applicable as they were thousands of years ago.

Strategy 15: Entice the tiger to leave its mountain lair.

Never directly attack an opponent whose advantage is derived from their position. Instead, lure them away from their position, thus separating them from their source of strength.

In Risk Game:

A player conquers a continent. He starts focusing on reinforcements and increases the number of armies in his borders. You don’t want this to go on and on. Every turn that passes, he becomes more and more powerful. What should you do?

As it is stated in this strategy, you can lure him away. Greed is a powerful emotion. You can entice him to another continent. If you have some armies there, move them somewhere else. Make it easy for him to think that he can conquer a new continent. In the process, he may start to neglect his powerbase. He may even think that it’s probably worth the risk to reduce some of his border reinforcements and use his armies for the new campaign. This is the moment you were waiting for. Strike him at his source of power and make him paralyzed. Now he has a dilemma. If he wants to save his power base, he needs to give up the campaign. If he gives up his original continent, he may not be able to conquer the new continent decisively. In short, he is challenged on all fronts, not to mention that he will not be in a good psychological state.

Strategy 16: In order to capture, one must let loose.

Cornered prey will often mount a final, desperate attack. To prevent this, you let the enemy believe they still have a chance for freedom. Their will to fight is thus dampened by their desire to escape. When, in the end, the freedom is proven a falsehood, the enemy’s morale will be defeated and they will surrender without a fight.

In Risk Game:

Suppose you attacked a neighbour and reduced his armies significantly. However, your neighbour owns some territories on the other side of the map that you can’t access. Hence, you can’t eliminate him and his remaining armies are strong. You would have attacked him if these were the last remaining armies since you would have gained his cards. Now, since you won’t get his cards, it is not worth attacking him as it will waste your armies. Let someone else do it for you. If his armies are surrounded by your armies, he will have no choice but to attack you in the next turn. Give him a way out, so he can escape and become someone else’s problem. Once you know you can’t take him, let him go.

Strategy 17: Tossing out a brick to get a jade.

Prepare a trap, and then lure your enemy into the trap by using bait. In war the bait is the illusion of an opportunity for gain. In life the bait is the illusion of wealth, power, and sex.

In Risk Game:

The best bait in Risk is to make the other player ‘think’ they can get ahead. A continent that appears to be left hanging there can be a good bait. A player may need to spend a large number of armies to get that continent, weakening himself in the process.

Strategy 18: Defeat the enemy by capturing their chief.

If the enemy’s army is strong, but is allied to the commander only by money or threats, then take aim at the leader. If the commander falls the rest of the army will disperse or come over to your side. If, however, they are allied to the leader through loyalty, then beware; the army can continue to fight on after their death out of vengeance.

In Risk Game:

Follow this advice in the real world. When it comes to Risk, just try to beat the mind of your player. Make him lose his self-belief and act randomly, as if his armies have no leader. A defeated mind has no where to go. If he already thinks he has lost, he won’t fight.


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About the Author

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.

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