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How to Recover From Poor Starting Positions

How to Recover From Poor Starting Positions
Tactic, Strategy, Online Risk Games, Beginners

Article Rating:::: 29 Ratings :::: Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Have you ever started a game from really poor random starting positions not knowing what to do and where to go? If you use random initial positions in online games or even the normal board game, you may find yourself in every continent on the planet. What you hoped for was to have a concentration of your armies in a particular area so you could focus on it. Imagine the position illustrated below. You, playing as Red, have no presence in either Australia or South America which are good small continents to start from. For the rest, you are scattered all over the map. What should you do to survive and go on all the way to win the game? What would you do if your initial plan backfired and you found yourself competing intensely with another player over a continent. Should you carry on with the corrosive war or pull out and look for somewhere else?

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 1

Suppose you decide to go for Africa since you have 6 armies there already.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 2

But your plans are under pressure because Green has also decided to go for it.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 3

You try to fight back and get Africa but it is a struggle. While you are busy in a corrosive war with Green, others such as Brown and Blue have established themselves in Australia and South America already.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 4

To make it worst, Black also decides to enter the scene and you feel even more vulnerable. It seems that you are about to lose the game as you haven’t even got a place to start from.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 5

However, you have been collecting cards and can now cash them in. What would you do with the armies? Would you place them in Africa and try to capture what you planned initially? The problem is that you are extremely weak. Others at this point are looking for prey. They want to find a weak player, eliminate him and get his cards. You don’t want to become that player.

The solution is to appear strong even though you are not. The best deterrent in Risk is to make your opponent pay a lot for too little if they want to attack you. If you concentrate all you armies in one insignificant territory, other stronger players will have little incentive to attack you as they have to continuously watch for other more powerful rivals. You will be treated as the small guy who they can take care of later. This is exactly what you want. You will simply grow in their absence and will emerge as a world class player later on.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 6

Your strategy worked. They are all now fighting each other and you are left alone. Just keep collecting cards and don’t fight anyone. Black eliminated Green (your number one rival) and then went for Brown.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 7

They have all been using their cards to fund their wars. Now is the time for you to cash it in and go for the kill. Eliminate one player after another while collecting and cashing their cards. The chain effect in Risk can be quite powerful and you should take full advantage of it. Here, you can eliminate Brown who has 5 cards, cash it in, deploy the new armies and move on to eliminate Black. Indeed you are in a powerful position now and are unstoppable.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 8

After this, your moves are relatively easy. Even if the remaining players try to attack you and damage your empire, you have such a huge momentum that you will be easily able to overcome whatever they throw at you.

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 9

... and you will finally conquer them all ...

Total Diplomacy - Initial Risk Game Strategy 10

The moral of the story: No matter how dire your position, there is always a chance to turn it around and make the best of your disadvanteges. Never lose hope, if you look for it and beleive that you can succeed, there is always a way. All you need to do is to find it, and finding it is not that difficult when you start looking for it ...

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Sam   By Sam @ Wednesday, September 26, 2007 5:02 AM
How come yellow green and brown never seem to get reinforcements? Is it just unluckiness(by losing troops due to attacks) or you didnt put it there just to serve the moral?

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Wednesday, September 26, 2007 6:47 AM
Thanks for your feedback. You raised a very good point. There are reinforcements in the game, and the illustrated turns above (from a real game) demonstrate this point; that if players continiously use their reinforcement, over time they may seem as if they have not progressed in the game. While another player who doesn't engage in long and costly battles will grow to a point when he will be able to have a go at other more established player later in the game an eventually win. All other players simply used up their reinforcements in the excitement of having more armies and the need to grow. Well, sometimes, you just don't have do.

RISK   By RISK @ Saturday, September 20, 2008 4:49 PM
I would have protected myself in Asia

digimaster   By digimaster @ Friday, January 8, 2010 5:30 PM
I like that scenario. I shall use that tactic in future battles.

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