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How to Maintain the Balance of Power (Part 4 of 4)

How to Maintain the Balance of Power (Part 4 of 4)
Strategy, Online Risk Games, Series

Article Rating:::: 21 Ratings :::: Sunday, December 13, 2009

In the previous part, you timed the elimination of another player really well and collected his cards. This got you the critical momentum which you needed to deal with the next set of challenges.

Because of your balance management, you made Purple stronger until eventually Purple became too strong even for you. Now you had to confront it. The situation looked like the above.

Move 11.

At this point in the game, Purple felt very strong. He saw his way to total conquest on a direct attack on Red’s home base continent. This is what Purple did next:

Risk Game Balance

Naturally, this weakened Red. Now, let’s get back to Red. What is your ideal move? Would you fight back directly to reclaim your continent or would you do something else? At this point everyone has 4 cards each and you don’t have a set.

Think about this move for a minute before reading the rest of the article. Try to work out what your options are and what are the consequences of each option.



Move 12.

Ok, let’s see what you can do. As Red, you have the following options:

  1. Fight back directly to get back what you lost to your opponent.
  2. Open a new front with your opponent and do the same to him.
  3. Completely ignore his attack and simply stay put.
  4. Ignore his attack, but instead attack someone else.

Now let’s examine these options.

  1. Fight back. You spend all your armies to get a continent that if you hold will give an extra 5 next turn. Continents are like investments. The longer you can keep them, the more lucrative they are. At this point towards the end of the game, continents are no longer as valuable since not many turns are left to fully use their bonuses. In other words, the cost of getting the continent is not worth the reward.
  2. Open a new front. You can attack your opponent somewhere else and weaken him just as he has weakened you. Indeed, this is a possible option which we need to compare with other potentially good options.
  3. Ignore. Another option is to simply reinforce your border and concentrate your armies. This is much like doing nothing at all. This move will give the initiative to the other person. It encourages them to attack you and you can only defend. Remember, in Risk you always have a marginal statistical advantage when you attack than when you defend. In addition, having an initiative lets you control the flow of the game which is of course what you wanted to do all along in the game. Hence, this is not a good option.
  4. Attack someone else. By any standard, this is a bold move. When you are attacked by someone, opening a new front and bringing a new player into the mix seems like a silly idea. Actually, it a silly idea except there is one exception; if you can eliminate the player and collect his cards. Cards in escalating games play a significant role towards the end of the game and eliminating others is always something you need to consider at this point. In this game, Purple has failed to understand the importance of this concept and decided to attack you instead. You should take advantage of his mistake and rub him of this opportunity when his turn comes next. It is now or never.

Between option 2 and option 4, it seems that option 4 is the most ideal and you should not let this chance slip away or worst let your opponent take advantage of it.

Risk Game Balance

You eliminated Brown and collected his cards and cashed them in.

Move 13.

Now you have 3 cards left (no combination) and Purple has 2 cards. Using these armies you strengthen your position, organise your borders and also rub Purple off one of his continent bonuses.

Risk Game Balance

Looking at the map, the game seems to be in balance again. However, those cards you collected by eliminating Yellow and Brown are still giving you a momentum that Purple can’t counteract.

Move 14.

Purple decides to attack you even more...

Risk Game Balance

Move 15.

But now all you have to do is to cash in your cards and push back.

Risk Game Balance

Move 16.

Purple doesn’t have a chance now. He has made several mistakes and is simply getting overwhelmed by the momentum of Red forces that eliminated two players. The result is a swift win by Red.

Risk Game Balance

Indirect control of the game seems to pay off handsomely, not to mention the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you win a Risk game like this.

What is your experience in indirect control? What do you think of this strategy or style of game play? What did this example teach you as a whole?


How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 1

How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 2

How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 3

How to Maintain the Balance of Power - Part 4

Post Rating


Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Monday, December 14, 2009 5:43 AM
I think purple is just powerless to eliminate brown,how possible that purple troops move long way to attack brown's 3 units at the corner?I would make the same choice as purple did here,so nothing can be criticized on purple.

Purple did very well to contain the rise of red,who're just lucky enough that weak brown's units are all at his adjacent and thus easily obtain the fresh power to counter the mighty purple.I can't see purple made any big mistakes in the map and article.

So red win,not because he is able than purple,just lucky enough to reverse the tide by these "miraculous cards".

Beaner   By Beaner @ Monday, December 14, 2009 8:12 PM
It was a great idea to eliminate brown and cash in the cards. Purples flaw was that he didnt eliminate brown.instead of attacking red, he could have eliminated and cash in browns cards.

This was a very good series in which all people could learn. the only thing that could have been better was an example of an earth map. but other than that, good example! 8)

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Monday, December 14, 2009 10:35 PM
Thanks Beaner for your comments. In regards with the Earth map, since there are many guides on the Earth map already present on the site, I wanted to present one on an unfamiliar map and show that the mechanism is still the same. As you might have seen in these articles, I have also deliberately omitted specific details (such as precise turn orders, cards, reinforcement, etc.) since you just want to focus on the global strategic view and see that even that on its own can make all the difference.

Happy that you liked it.

Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Tuesday, December 15, 2009 1:36 AM is a very good place to finding map,why not just draw maps from these to show an examples?You can even know every games' process in Landgrab by "History Playback" function.

Dan12   By Dan12 @ Wednesday, December 16, 2009 8:19 AM
I think Purple had a good chance to win if it wasn't because if Red's protectionist moves. I think Red did very well to go for Brown and accept a potentially dangerous weak point just before Move 13. Obviously, the cards at this point make all the difference and Purple seems to be one step behind in understanding the fact that the nature of the game has changed.

I really enjoyed this articles series and I think many people can benefit from them and learn how to balance their moves against a changing environment. Look forward already to see more of these series.

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Wednesday, December 16, 2009 9:28 PM
Thanks Dan, I am happy that you enjoyed the article. I will certainly provide these kinds of articles in the future as well. So stay tuned.

Pierre   By Pierre @ Wednesday, December 23, 2009 10:01 PM
In the first pic, I think Purple shouldve went on a wider offensive against Red, not just taking away his continent bonuses, but placing the rest of his men in the south center continent only (not in the southeast one) and then wiping out that army of 9, since it was a factor in eliminating brown. That way, Brown would have likely survived and traded in instead of being eliminated by red. Even if he was a potential enemy, Red would have to be worried about him too, especially the army in the northwest. Purple may still have lost but I think he would be better off in a 3-way game than 1v1 on red.

Great Alan   By Great Alan @ Thursday, December 24, 2009 7:24 AM pierr reminded,seems like purple can prevent red to eliminate brown indeed.

But pierr's plan should be little "modified",just wipe out that 9 is not enough to prevent red to conquer brown,since that 8 red troops would enlarge double and still able to shatter brown.So purple should also sack red's domain though this would make red able to strike back.Only then red is really powerless to conquer brown.

just_gabe   By just_gabe @ Thursday, May 15, 2014 5:36 AM
I really enjoy your articles! I just started playing no more than a month ago and I'm surprised to know that I wasn't really that lost when it came to strategies and adapting to the circumstances. GREAT PAGE!

And btw, from which version is this map from? it looks really really fun!

Ehsan Honary   By Ehsan Honary @ Friday, May 16, 2014 6:28 PM
Just_gabe, thanks for the comment, happy to know they have been helpful. The map is from Grand Strategy.

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If you do not compete for alliances anywhere, do not foster authority anywhere, but just extend your personal influence, threatening opponents, this makes town and country vulnerable. No alliances lead to isolation.

Sun Tzu