Current Articles

Don’t Focus on Continents, Focus on Players

Don’t Focus on Continents, Focus on Players
Tactic, Strategy, Real-world example, Beginners

Article Rating:::: 18 Ratings :::: Thursday, August 9, 2007

You made all the right moves in a Risk game. You set yourself next to the most ideal continents. You created conflicts between other players and watched them as they fought each other. You thought only in a few turns you will collect enough armies for your large continent that you will emerge as a new world power. Suddenly, out of no where, a new player started to invade one player after another and got more and more powerful every turn. He conquered one player a turn until your turn was up. He eliminated you and went on to win the game! Sound familiar? This is commonly known as ‘the chain effect’.

A series of elimination moves by a Risk player can lead him to victory much easier than collecting armies for continents or staying in isolation for a long period of time. You need to make sure that you are not caught up in this, while at the same time, know when to take advantage of it when the opportunity comes.

As you may know, learning by example is perhaps one of the best ways to learn new techniques. This walkthrough shows you ' the chain effect’. The Risk game presented here was played between 6 players starting from random locations.

Total Diplomacy > Chain Effect Part 1

After a while, player settled into their preferred continents. Red was going for North America, while Yellow secured South America and is interested in Africa. Green had Australia and was focusing on North America for further expansion. Blue was still undecided. 

Total Diplomacy > Chain Effect Part 2

At this point, Red made a wise move. Red removed Green from North America effectively eliminating Green control in this region. Now Green had to focus on other parts of the world which indirectly benefited Red. Blue was making a move for Africa.

Total Diplomacy > Chain Effect Part 3

A major change occurred at this point. Yellow cashed cards and seized the opportunity to get Europe counting on promises by Blue that he will not attack South America.  The weak Black in Europe cashed cards and had the option of retaliation to fight the invading Yellow. Instead, Black made a better move. Black eliminated Green, got his cards and secured Australia, effectively leaving Europe for Yellow.

Yellow was pleased with the results at this point as he expected more difficulty in his compaign. Little he knew that he had started a ‘chain effect’.

Total Diplomacy > Chain Effect Part 4

Blue took advantage of this opportunity and thought that this must be his chance. He invaded Europe and even North America. His thinking was that he should weaken both Red and Yellow since they had continents and were becoming too powerful.

Total Diplomacy > Chain Effect Part 5

 In addition, he thought he could also get Europe.

Total Diplomacy > Chain Effect Part 6

As demonstrated in the next moves, Blue’s thinking was very wrong. He underestimated the dynamics of the game and that after a certain point, elimination becomes much more important than collecting armies for continents. At this point, Black had eliminated a player and had more cards than others. Blue’s move made him weak, but he also made Yellow and Red weak all for the benefit of Black. Black could eliminate any player with ease. Everyone had three cards at least which made them a great target for elimination. Black made a right move and eliminated Blue, cashed cards, then eliminated Red, cashed cards again and then eliminated Yellow.

Total Diplomacy > Chain Effect Part 7


Blue, Red and Yellow were responsible for their own downfall. By engaging in a useless conflict, they made it easier for Black to take advantage of them. They also failed to realize what was happening and carried on with their conflict (Blue’s move) regardless of the emergence of new powers in the game. Black could have easily been removed if Blue, Red and Yellow were content with their own continents. More engaging diplomacy was needed in the game to resolve matters between them before they got out of hand. Another lesson learnt is that isolation is not always beneficial. Red stayed out of the conflict hoping that the war between Yellow and Blue will make them both weak. The end effect was that he was not in a position to eliminate weak players and others could benefit from this (like Black). Those who benefited came back for him in the end.

Tip: You should only make others weak if you want to take them out yourself. Otherwise, you are making it easy for other players to take weak players out and receive the profit.

Post Rating


Mr Strategist    By Mr Strategist @ Monday, August 13, 2007 9:44 PM
This situation happens to me all the time. In fact in almost all of the games I am playing (which is mostly online) I have to watch out for people taking people out until they get to me. So I am glad that you have mentioned this here, because as you rightly put it, it is an important issue.

Continents are worthless in the end of the game. You just need to go for cards. Also some online games add extra rules such as adding 5% extra armies each turn for each continent's bonus. This way continents will remain valuable even towards the end of the game. The down side is that these game can end up in a Marathon. There is always a balance to make ...

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.
Rate = 4.06 out of 5 :::: 18 Ratings.
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.

My Book: Risk Game Strategy

Total Diplomacy: The Art of Winning Risk

Available from Amazon as paperback and Kindle

Available in Apple Books

Learn More About the Book

RSS Feed


Latest Forum Posts
RE: Diplomacy In Online Risk
by Ehsan Honary
Hi Jamie. Well, I think not relying on diplomacy won't do you any good. The situation you describe i...
RE: World Domination: Ways to win Risk
by JamieRogers
I agree, Alan. If you are playing with the dealt cards setup, then you should generally go for which...
Diplomacy In Online Risk
by JamieRogers
As most members of my family or my friends dislike playing risk or only play occasionally, I play mo...
How can I win this match?
by Pyrux
Hi, I'm an italian guy named Lorenzo.  Today, me and my housemates started a Risiko (Ris...
RE: World Domination: Ways to win Risk
by Great Alan
British & French : Once the German enter Belgium, we shall crush them! Erich von Manstein : Sorry, ...
RE: North America Strategy Help
by Great Alan
You have 2 options, Shirokiba: 1. Transfer your strategic objective to other places. 2. Force yo...
North America Strategy Help
by Shirokiba
So, I just started playing Risk and I try going for North America, it typically works out rather wel...
RE: Tell me if this strategey is good or bad
by The General
Nailing is an excellent stratgy because it prevents your neighbor from receiving his bonus which mak...
RE: 3 player game: Me vs Husband and Wife team
by Ehsan Honary
Kumo, this is a rather interesting scenario and let me just say it is tricky. In general a 3 player ...
3 player game: Me vs Husband and Wife team
by kumo
So, every time I play against my buddy and his wife, it always turns out to be essentially me agains...

What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.

Sun Tzu