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36 Strategies > Part 4: Chaos Strategies

36 Strategies > Part 4: Chaos Strategies
Tactic, Strategy, Series

Article Rating:::: 15 Ratings :::: Friday, July 6, 2007

Strategy 19: Remove the firewood under the cooking pot. (Remove the stick from the axe.)

When faced with an enemy too powerful to engage directly you must first weaken them by undermining their foundation and attacking their source of power.

In Risk Game:

Suppose you are confronted with a player in North America who has become very powerful. You can no longer ignore this player, since sooner or later you will be confronted with him. Instead of attacking him directly, you should identify the reason behind his strength and aim to separate him from it. In this case, if a continent is the source of his power, you should target his continent. It doesn’t mean you need to attack it directly. You can emphasise it to others that the player in North America is becoming too powerful and you all have to collectively do something about it. You can then drum up support and all of you have a go at his continent. He will no longer stay powerful.

Strategy 20: Catch a fish in disturbed waters.

Before engaging your enemy’s forces create confusion to weaken their perception and judgment. Do something unusual, strange, and unexpected; this will arouse the enemy’s suspicion and disrupt their thinking. A distracted enemy is thus more vulnerable.

In Risk Game:

From time to time, make a random move. Disrupt the pattern of your game play, so that other players won’t be able to predict your moves. Invade something just for the sake it and make it appear as if all your attention is on it. In the next turn, change your mind and focus on something else. Other players will get confused and may also start to take you lightly as an amateur. That’s when you can take the initiative.

Strategy 21: Slough off the cicada’s shell. (False appearances mislead the enemy.)

When you are in danger of being defeated, and your only chance is to escape and regroup, then create an illusion. While the enemy’s attention is focused on this artifice, secretly remove your people, leaving behind only the facade of your presence.

In Risk Game:

Sometimes you get attacked strongly and are only left with a handful of armies. Instead of thinking on revenge and famous phrases such as, “if I go down, I will take you with me…”, think on how to survive and stay in the game. You can take revenge later. At that moment, all it matters is your survival. A lot depends on the psychology of other players. You need to pretend that you are much stronger than what they think and you are not worth attacking. Usually taking a weak player out is not a concern for an invading player. His concern is what happens afterwards. If he doesn’t know how many cards you have, he won’t know how much he can gain from you. Hence, concentrate all your armies in an isolated place away from everyone else and pretend that you are powerful and will teach a lesson to anyone who attempts to get rid of you. Make it difficult for them to remove you from the game. Now is the time to say, “if I go down, I will take you with me…”.

Strategy 22: Shut the door to catch the thief.

If you have the chance to completely capture the enemy then you should do so, thereby bringing the battle or war to a quick and lasting conclusion. To allow your enemy to escape plants the seeds for future conflict. But if they succeed in escaping, be wary of giving chase.

In Risk Game:

Once you decide you want to remove a player, go all the way and use as many armies as required. If it means that you may end up with a weaker border back at your base, then so be it. Get the task done. At least you have sorted out one problem. Otherwise, if you don’t completely remove all your opponent’s armies, he will remain as a great threat, possibly worst than what it was before. A few armies you added for some border reinforcement may not be enough to stop another determined invader either and you will end up threatened on all side. Finish the job that you started.

Strategy 23: Befriend a distant state while attacking a neighbour.

It is known that nations that border each other become enemies while nations separated by distance and obstacles make better allies. When you are the strongest in one field, your greatest threat is from the second strongest in your field, not the strongest from another field.

In Risk Game:

This is so true in Risk that it is almost self-explanatory. Players expand outward from their own base. There is a huge advantage to have connected borders. Hence, players tend to start expanding by attacking their own neighbours. A distant player is an ideal choice for an ally. He will get to attack your neighbour and there won’t be any conflict between you. Considering that alliances and treaties are useful until other players are removed from the game, it makes it natural for both of you to concentrate on eliminating your neighbours until you meet at a later stage in the game. It is a win/win situation.

Strategy 24: Obtain safe passage to conquer the Kingdom of Guo.

Borrow the resources of an ally to attack a common enemy. Once the enemy is defeated, use those resources to turn on the ally that lent you them in the first place.

In Risk Game:

If you can get someone to do it for you, then don’t do it yourself. An ally may be happy to let you fight his enemy. If you need to get your armies pass your neighbour, then ask and permission is likely to be granted. Even better, get your ally to attack your enemy too. Once the enemy is defeated, everyone is on his own and don’t hesitate to strengthen your position against your old ally. There can be only one winner.


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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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