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Critical Starting Moves in Risk (Part 1 of 2)

Critical Starting Moves in Risk (Part 1 of 2)
Strategy, Online Risk Games, Beginners , Series

Article Rating:::: 4 Ratings :::: Sunday, October 25, 2009

Risk can be surprising and in the course of a game, you may always have a heart sinking feeling of imminent danger and fall. In fact, this is what makes Risk so exciting. Anyone can win which means even experienced players must be on guard all the time otherwise can easily lose.

The opening stages of a game are quite critical. If you start badly or make mistakes, you are very likely to get kicked out and the game and lose. You must pay constant attention to your opponents as well as your own position in comparison with others. The best way to learn opening moves is by example. Let’s consider the game shown above.

This game is played on a non-Earth map. The card sequence is escalating which means that the rate goes up by 2 every time someone cashes a set. We are going to analyse this game in an abstract way, so don’t worry too much about the details. Assume that similar to the Earth map, the bigger the continent or the higher the number of its borders, the more bonuses you get.

Assume you are Red and the map above was the starting position.

What would you do?

Move 1.

First you must work out a long term strategy. You seem to have more territories at the bottom of the map and it seems logical to go for the Brown continent. A few turns later, this is what you have:

Risk Game Starting Move

Interestingly, Black had a fantastic starting point by chance. He is simply lucky and has used his luck to quickly get a continent.

Move 2.

You think everyone seems to be focused on getting their corresponding continents. Blue and Yellow seem to be fighting for the small continent on the left side which you think is good for you (keeps them busy). You decide to expand as rapidly as possible to conquer the Brown continent.

Risk Game Starting Move

Move 3.

Next, Blue has managed to beat Yellow and conquer the small continent. Meanwhile Black is getting stronger every turn and everyone seems to be focused on getting their own continent.

Risk Game Starting Move

What would you do now?

You have a look around and you still think you have a good chance to get your continent. You are so close! Just one or two more turns and that’s it. It’s too late now to back off having spent so much to get what you have conquered. You decide to go ahead and conquer more.

Move 4.

Since there have been many turns since the beginning of the game, cards have been accumulated and as it turns out, Blue could cash in as soon as he had three cards (lucky man!!!). The problem is that he used it on you. Now you look extremely weak!

Risk Game Starting Move

How did this happen?

You were doing so well and then suddenly, bam! You where hit out of nowhere.

Question 1. What did you do wrong?

Suppose you find yourself in this miserable state. As a great Risk player, you should never lose hope and keep moving.

Question 2. What is your best move now?

You have three cards and no combination. Black has 1 card, Blue has 2, Purple has 3, Brown has 3 and yellow has 3 cards.

Provide your suggestions here before reading the next part.

Part 2: Critical Starting Moves in Risk

Post Rating


Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Monday, October 26, 2009 5:51 AM
Red shouldn't divide his troops until taking the whole continent,so giving blue a chance to crush its weak troops divided everywhere.

But blue isn't smart.Once red regroups and cashes,then strike the blue's main base and shatter its backbone at once,everything is turned.Of course,it's certain only if that player is me.

Once securing aqua and brown continents as the powerbases,black can be defeated!

Beaner   By Beaner @ Monday, October 26, 2009 9:13 PM
I say red is pretty much gone, unless he cashes his cards in then he could attack blue. But then again blue can cash in his cards in the near future, and take revenge.
So looking at it, I would cash in my cards and put all my armies at the territory at the top right. Then I would put up some ressistence to black, as hes the strongest player. Then again, thats only me.

Klingbolt   By Klingbolt @ Wednesday, November 4, 2009 9:57 PM
I see 3 possible choices here.

1) Red uses his (assuming classic) three armies on his brown country with 3 armies and use his country with two to attack north and gain a card.

2) Red runs a disruptive role and attacks around the blue 3 armies into the teal continent and hope that blue cannot gain enough armies since it no longer has the continent bonus to destroy Red.

3) Abandon the brown continent and place the armies in the north then use the remaining southern armies to collect a card for the round.

Deaconballs   By Deaconballs @ Thursday, March 11, 2010 2:30 PM
Red has two people on either side that are gaining more troops every turn. Thus, regroup and focus all men on one country. Move towards the bottom left continent keeping all countries with only one army except one that has all your armies. Move at the rate that the one country with multiple armies doesn't get too weak to be taken over but fast enough to not let the blue team defend.

1st goal is to take out one country so blue does not get extra men. second is to out play blue by using the strategy of more men on each country and only attack one country per turn. This is to build up men, turn by turn, but get a card each turn. When you get enough men then blow out blue and take the country. The only hope is that the other teams defend against black to keep them from over taking the entire world. Make a common strategy because the only way to keep him from winning is to have everybody fight against him. Pretend to be too weak and distant to fight against black so people don't get upset that you don't attack black.

slickandjake   By slickandjake @ Wednesday, September 22, 2010 2:20 PM
My first thought is how to avoid someone from wiping me out for my cards. Blue and black are the only 2 in a position to do that, having strength where red's strength is, and having a significant force in the northeast where the lone bastion of other strength remains. The others are either too weak, or too far away.

Next, I look to see if I can wipe someone out and grab cards. That is about the only chance for red, and behold, yellow is weak and near our power base. But purple has the best chance to take yellow out. So our choices are 1) We risk it and try to get yellow with all we have, with almost certain defeat; 2) create two somewhat strong power bases, one in the south and one in the north, or 3) try to get strong in the north alone. My plan would be to try to get blue and black to fight each other over my territory while I sneak the bulk of my forces north, with the intent of trying to get yellow's cards on a future turn choosing wisely on when to cash in cards, if I get a match.

For the immediate turn, I would likely put 2 armies in the south on the territory with 3 already, and 1 army in the north. I would attack north west with my 4 armies in the south to capture the blue teritory and grab a card, and then move the one army to this new territory with the intent of continuing a northward move. Here is what I have accomplished: The army on the island in the northeast allows me to buy some time for myself, trying to avoid elimination. In the south, I am starting to escape north towards a potentially weak opponent I may be able to conquer and grab cards, the yellow player. By moving north I am giving way and will likely cause a clash between the two powers who could capture me, perhaps sparking a grinding battle between them on their borders and take attention away from me to allow a rebuild while they weaken each other. We must remember, however, that we do not control much in this game. All we can do is try to survive, and hope we can get the other powers to weaken themselves and lose sight of our armies.

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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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