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Don't Fight the Last War! Part 2 of 3

Don't Fight the Last War! Part 2 of 3
Diplomacy, Strategy, Online Risk Games, Series

Article Rating:::: 10 Ratings :::: Saturday, November 15, 2008

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.


This is when use of diplomacy is much better than brute force. He decided to negotiate with Green. Before doing so, he moved his entire armies to meet Green over Brazil-North Africa border. It’s essential to appear strong when entering negotiations. By this move, he meant that if he was not going to get what he wanted, he could mean trouble to Green.

Total Diplomacy - Risk Game - Last War 6

Brown approached Green and suggested a peace treaty over Brazil-North Africa border lasting for 6 more turns. Now, think for a moment what should you do as Green?

Green is still the only player who has a continent and he had a chance to make a deal with the most powerful player in the game. Besides, Brown looked like a threat. Eventually, Green agreed to the terms.

This was a great move by Brown. Now, Green had to fight a costly war in North America against all other players; Brown’s competitors. That should take care of Red and Yellow. Brown could easily concentrate on Africa and secure it. Indeed this is what happened.

Total Diplomacy - Risk Game - Last War 7

Green and Brown were more comfortable now. Yellow’s armies in India were becoming a concern to Brown. Red was successfully building up too, but Brown was silently smiling. He knew that his move meant that Green and Red will go head to head. Now, Brown only had to focus on Cyan and Yellow.

Next, several moves happened at once. Remember that cards were now becoming strong at 11 armies per combination and that meant players could make big moves. This is what happened:

Total Diplomacy - Risk Game - Last War 8

Green cashed cards and conquered North America. Yellow decided to go for Australia. Red and Cyan simply concentrated their armies. Brown just reinforced his already strong position.

Can you guess who is going to win? Why? What was the significance of Yellow’s move? How about Cyan or Red? What were they thinking?

For the record, here is the card table:

Red Yellow Brown Cyan Green
3 3 5 4 2



Once you have solved it, you can go on to read the next in the series:

Don't Fight the Last War! Part 3 of 3

Post Rating


Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Sunday, November 16, 2008 12:19 PM
The situation is obvious.Now the power of balance is broken and the climax moment is coming....

I guess brown would have 70% to gain the victory if he keep his skillful playing.Now green expose his homebase and lefting the unprecedent chance for brown!How can brown miss it?Once brown march to capture SA and then CA,I guess green would be infuriated and attempt to fight back.But brown have one more turn to gather more troops.Would you think that the "exhausted troops" can defeat the "well-defensive" and "well-prepared" force guarding the "narrow gap"?Hence,brown would defeat green decisively and then conquer "Two America".Then his ambition of victory is no more a dream,but a fact!

Yellow captured Australia recently,now he have the consolidate base to develop and expand his force,quickly becoming the second-strongest country.Hence I guess he have 25% to win.Since brown would turn to be so powerful,the prior strategy of yellow should be "contain" brown at Africa.Because only yellow can hinder brown's expansion now.Besides,yellow may work with blue and persuade red to concentrate "all his army" to NA,building up the powerful "anti-brown" three-way alliances.If this work,woo!!!Brown would be toppled in just 3 turns!!!After shattering brown(or at least weaken him),It's time for yellow to expand and defeat his rivals one by one.

Blue's position is poor since he haven't captured Europe yet and his troops is divided and weak.So I guess he only have 5% to win.He is NOT AT POSITION to attack brown at Africa(Even attempt to attack,he would be seriously weakened while brown would probably keep intacted if yellow wouldn't take advantage of that).Hence,blue should deal with his homeland - Europe first.Working with yellow/red or both of them,striking brown with their co-operation.Once brown is defeated and weakened,expand to NA or Africa(capture North Africa if possible),and attack the well-defensive yellow at last.Only the great player like Ehsan Hosary can turn the disadvantage to in blue's favor.

Red never understand the importance of "concentrate force".Thus he is hever able to send any lightening bolt to the others in the critical moment that can turn his destiny.Without the strong homebase and threatening force,his failure is already expected!

Green is surely losing!His playing is really awful.Enrage brown without good reason,then trust brown completely and leaving himself expose to him.And then spread his troops in NA in the extremely vulnerable position like the sand.I can't imagine there're how many players act like that....Now he have already cashed and SA,CA would surely fall to brown.His attempt to fight back is just a folly struggle that accelerate his downfall.Even I'm him,I can do nothing to rescue his crippled situation.

In conclusion,brown have most of the chance to gain the victory.yellow is also likely to be the "main rival" of brown(even he lost finally) at the ending stage.Sure,if I'm yellow,I doubt would brown have such chance?^^

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Sunday, November 16, 2008 2:36 PM
Alan, that was a good analysis as usual. As I understand you suggest that if Brown wants to win, should take the chance and attack Green while he can.

Well this probably will work, though there is one problem. He has a treaty with Green. It may not look good in the long term to break it. It might be satisfying to stab green in the back and win the game, but it wont be honourable.

So here is the challenge for Brown. Can he still win the game, without breaking the treaty with Green? What should Brown do?

And of course what should Green do? Has he killed himself in the process already or does he have a chance?

dgerm   By dgerm @ Sunday, November 16, 2008 10:10 PM
Though Brown looks like he has the upper hand I believe that Yellow is really in control. Brown, Red, and Green all seem likely to clash weakening them all. I think Brown will cash and attack green for sure. I believe both Red will strike into Africa because he has no chance of winning be holding northern Asia. Cyan will either go for Europe or go into Africa and battle it out with Red. Brown won't be able to defend Africa but might hold onto the Americas. Now Yellow can blitz across Asia with Red embroiled in Africa and Brown gone except a small threat in Kamchatka. If Yellow can hold Asia for one turn he can blitz again attacking green in North America. By that time either cyan or red will be gone. Yellow will easily defeated the victor in Africa and the rest of the world will fall into his hands.

Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Monday, November 17, 2008 8:52 AM
Dave analyze the situation clearly and think that yellow would win.But his supporting reasons are only "brown would be weakened by the other's attack" and "yellow occupied the well-defensive position".The latter is undisputed.but the first reason is so arguable!

In addition,Dave supposed too many occasions that is simpily uncertain and have already "set the victorious frame to yellow".Such analyze is "strongly unfair" to the other players!

Dave,you said "red would strike Africa and weaken brown".But I can't see any possibility of that since red never learn the advantage of "concentrating troops" and fight with the divided force.He was even defeated by the unskillful and weak green,I don't understand why do you think that he can against the outstanding and powerful brown?Also,Africa is too faraway from Asia,why wouldn't he go to occupy NA first instead of striking Africa at first?You can't SURE that red can defeat brown and yellow/blue surely come to topple brown together.

About cyan.He most likely unify Europe first before against the powerful brown,thus avoiding the large conflict with brown in short term.But would he clash with red at NA?That is a big question.It depend the various situations.

And more ridiculous is "brown won't be able to defend Africa but might hold onto the Americas".Again,you just suppose the thing that is largely uncertain.Brown have the fresh army,would you think that he can be toppled so easily by the unskillful red,weak blue and newly-rising yellow?

And more ridiculous is you supposed "red and yellow would fight at Africa"....Well,this is based on the complete collapse of brown,which is unlikely to happen.Specially red's playing is more like a "newble".

And finally,you said "yellow attack green at NA"Woo....Great joke!Green have just cashed his cards.And he was crippled by brown.How can he survive to the last stage of the game?

Therefore,I hardly agree with Dave's analyze.

To Ehsan Hosary:Alliance is about "power",not the "honourable term","friendship" or "moral's agreement".Everything should "follow the situation",not "follow the solid regulation".Just like what Barack Obama said,"Change!".In the history,the betrayal between the people and countries' was showed thousands of time....Thus,I don't think that brown dishonour,but obtain the glory indeed."Power is everything"....

Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Monday, November 17, 2008 8:55 AM
One more.You can't ensure that yellow can take advantage of everyone's clash.Maybe brown grow too strong for yellow to attack.Who know?

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Monday, November 17, 2008 9:59 AM
Alan, honouring treaties is of course about power especially if you want to win repeatedly. I think you are missing the point. Of course if you attack as Brown you will win against Green. But what happens the next time you want to play against him again. He will remember you! Then you will lose. No longer as powerful as you imagined. So, you must always pay attention to repeated games, not just one game if you want to keep winning. Remember, anyone can win a single game. That's easy! The goal is to win them all. That's hard!

Pierre   By Pierre @ Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:42 PM
Pretty interesting website, I play the game occasionally, but not much recently.

For this scenario Im looking at it and it seems to me its nearly impossible for brown to lose this assuming everyone's about equal skills.

Brown 8 territories, 37 men 5 cards
Red 7 territories 27 men 3 cards
Cyan 4 territories 23 men 4 cards
Yellow 5 territories 24 men 3 cards
Green 13 territories 21 men 2 cards
Neutral 5 territories 15 men

Assuming its red's turn first, hell probably go after Alaska, although he shouldnt(3 men on Kamchatka to make 13). If he does and takes it he'll probably be down to about 5-6 men and really weakened because Green will fight back at him and brown can take him from behind.
In retrospect I think red should just put his men in China, kill Siam and move everything back to China. That opens up yellows 19 in Indonesia to come out into play, 1 turn earlier, and frankly theres no point for yellow to attack red for a little while so the only person it could be used against is brown if yellow is aggressive. Red should trade if he has a set.

For yellow, Its all about getting a card this turn and that means taking out India(5 reinforcements on Siam). And moving the 19 men from Indonesia to Siam. Yellow is sufficiently strong so he can hold off trading for another turn if he has a set, He'll get a couple more men next turn.

Brown will get at least 17 reinforcements(11-13 for cards, since he's forced to trade having 5 cards, 3 for Africa and 3 for 8 countries). Id place all of them on the Middle East giving you 30-32 men there. If red was not able to trade and he went after Green and was seriously weakened I would say you should go after him and take him out. Youll have 30 men at your disposal vs around 20 for red, more than enough as long as you dont get too unlucky. Youll then take his cards and trade in again, for 12-14 more men in the middle of your turn.

I'd have to say that Cyan is going to become a major threat in the future(Ie within 2 turns), so why not take him out now? He has 4 cards too, an almost definite trade in and will get at least 15 reinforcements on his turn with a set. He'll take Europe this turn. Again, put all of your men in Middle East and rush through Ukraine and then the other 3 territories. Youll have at least 30 vs his 23, so you should win without needing to use your men in North Africa. That'll give you six cards so you'll trade in 3 of them for 12-14 more men and then set them up defensively. Being that you'll get another card you'll have 4 and likely a set on your next turn.

Technically, If you were strong enough to kill red, you could get cyan too just place your trade in egypt after getting red and use it to kill the neutral south europe and use your North Africa to kill west europe and then take the remaining 3 out with the rest of your men. Again unless you get bad luck youll take him.

Most important thing is to get cyan. He'll be too big of a threat by next turn. Id say leave green and dont attack him this turn. He wont bother reinforcing much on your frontier and will probably go after neutral iceland for a card or red, especially if red went after him. Even if he still had NA hed still only have 11 reinforcements. He can be used quite well to distract Red for a while, while you concentrate on yellow after killing cyan. I dont think he would break your deal because you would just obliterate him easily. And he only has 2 cards and probably wont have a set for awhile.

Pierre   By Pierre @ Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:49 PM
You won't look to strong either if you took out Cyan, being that you just have Africa, Middle East and a few European territories.

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Saturday, November 22, 2008 7:15 AM
Great comments Pierre. Your analysis to watch Cyan is indeed very good. If Brown is becoming too strong, the question is what should others do about it?


Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:46 PM
Thanks for Pierre's detail analyze.I agree with most of your points.cyan would be probably the potential threat to brown in the futute.If he conquered red,then he even have the power to confront brown directly without yellow's support.

But calling brown to take down cyan without annihilate green first isn't the good idea.Attacking blue is too costly for brown.This only benefit yellow and red.While green is not the brown's "strong barrier" and "powerful ally" and brown's "western flank" is not stable indeed.If red rise at "Two America",then brown would be "pinned" by two strong rivals while suffering loss in his bitter battle with cyan.Why brown should launch the costly war to cyan instead of taking down crippled green?This is simpily folly and unreasonable.

You said due to "balance of power"?If you want to win,you have to "break the balance" and overwhelm the others with the strong force.Everyone want to be strong,and weaken the others."Balance of power" is to "contain the other",not "you".

Though the Chinese ever said,"If you want to take it,you have to give it;If you want to subdue him,you have to support him".That's a kind of "wait and strike" strategy(waiting a chance to expanding your power instead of instantly expand).The ultimate objection is waiting the others exhaust their power and "break the balance",not "keeping the balance of power"!

Anonymous User   By Anonymous User @ Sunday, November 23, 2008 5:25 PM
What are the fortification rules anyways? That has big implications for red if he can move his men in Afghanistan to Kamchatka in one turn. I'm assuming its just one adjacent territory each turn cause thats how we usually play, which hurts red pretty bad.

A conflict with Cyan, although costly is certainly not going to cripple brown in the least. Assuming brown gets 17 reinforcements and red and yellow were not able to trade, he'll have 54 men(if they did trade hed even have a couple more than that). Its about 6 defence armies lost per 5 attacking armies lost when attacking 3 dice vs 2 dice and 2-1 ratio when it is 3vs1 dice. Roughly doing the math, brown will lose about 17-18 men when killing Cyan. Then he'll be forced to trade because he will inherit 4 cards (5-3+4=6) so he will get another 12-14 leaving him with about 50 men at the end of the turn. He will get one more card leaving him with 4 at the end of the turn.

Of course he could use that 2nd trade to take green out in SA, and CA if red didnt attack Alaska if he wanted.

What the others should do if brown looks too strong is kind of limited. If Cyan lives, he would have the best chance because he would hit brown from above if he made a move anywhere else and would be very hard to kill. Yellow seems kind of more doomed than the game would suggest, depending on how the relations are between him and red, since if yellow makes any sort of move red could just take Australia without many losses. Green is pretty much doomed, unless red and brown both don't attack him, in which case he will survive a bit longer but he suffers in the fact that he has 2 continents and looks strong. Red if he gets lucky and takes NA without losing a whole lot has some options, but Green will weaken him a fair bit if he does this.

I wonder how angry red was that green took out a lot of his men getting NA, that definitely plays a part in his decision whether or not to go for Alaska on his first turn.

Even if Red takes NA he'll need some men to protect both Greenland(from brown/cyan) and Alaska(Yellow hitting him from behind). And lots of men in CA/Brazil if he gets that far because Brown will have lots of available reinforcements.

Pierre   By Pierre @ Sunday, November 23, 2008 5:27 PM
Apparently I got logged out there in the comment above

Table Talk   By Table Talk @ Wednesday, November 26, 2008 2:13 PM
Alan, that was, in all terms and definitions, AMAZING. You have quite the knack for predicting things. You must really have an edge over people you play with.

That being said, I'm going to foucs on what happens in a different case... one that hasn't been discussed yet that could very well happen.

The great thing about Risk is that no matter how much the odds are against you, you can still win. From first glance, Brown will win. And the more you look at it, the more you can agree with that. However, dice are the most stubborn things I know, and theres a chance that his next invasion could turn into absoulte disaster. Should that happen, what then?

Cyan would most likely be me right now (Go Europe!), so for him, IBF (If Brown Failed), I would take Europe and play slow and steady. Wars will ravage the land while he sits like a rock. Yellow will HAVE to come out somtime or another, so he'll be the only one playing that way. And no one will bother to kill him becuase they gave bigger fish to fry, in a sense.

IBF, Green would be in the clear to get a victory. But if he loses America, its all over.

Yellow has to play very smart in his war of expansion with Red. otherwise, its all over for him.

And Red? In my oppion, he had better attack green or yellow or he's dead meat.

Well? Was that nothing but babble or did I enrich someone as much as Alan enriched me?

Jez McFly   By Jez McFly @ Saturday, November 29, 2008 3:42 AM
I'll suggest something different, kinda. So brown is in the strong position now, but Cyan does have 4 cards and theres an 85% chance he has a set. Lets say he does.

If brown attacks SA and CA with his card armies to take away green's chance of extra armies, after all green has 2 cards only. Green is done and brown is in a position to take NA, of course after battling it out with red. Yellow is sitting pretty.

Meanwhile cyan trades its cards and get 15 extra armies plus 3 or so from his territories. With the extra three he takes europe and with the 15 he takes brown's back in Africa. Browns forces are then divided.

Brown would have 2 choices abandon africa or fight for it.

If he abondons it he loses, he fights red for NA probably loses it, if not its a phyrric victory. Cyan get africa and europe, red is killed off and yellow has AUS, cyan eventually will win.

If brown fights for Africa, Red will take NA, Brown and Cyan will fight and both be severly weakend. Red with gain strength in NA and eventually take SA. Yellow will expand into Africa, Red into Europe and red will win.

In that situation Cyan could win, but with 5 cards, Brown should take it handily.

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Saturday, November 29, 2008 2:51 PM
Great comments so far. Very good analysis overall.

Pierre, the fortification rule is "Connected". This means you can move as many armies as you want from one territory to another territory as long as they are connected. This is far superior to the classic rule of neighbour fortification and is highly recommended if you don't use it already. It will make your games a lot more strategic.

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Tuesday, December 2, 2008 3:24 PM
[Spoiler: Those who haven't seen part 3 skip my comment]

Now that the third part is out, I would like to thank everyone and also congratulate you on being so good at analysing the game. I was smiling all the times when reading your messages. Risk does have a luck factor, but being able to analyse at this level shows not only how strategic the game is, but also how deep thinking and probabilistic prediction on your side can go a long way to correctly guess what will happen next.

Not all games you play might be so balanced or intriguing, but if they are you may end up remembering them for a long time. I will be on the lookout for more interesting scenarios and will post more as new cases are discovered. Then you can all have another go for fun.

Risk   By Risk @ Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:10 PM
Cash, kill cyan and then hit NA and SA through north

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