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"Life Is a Game But Risk Is Serious!"
Every now and then I come across Risk games that stand out in memory for a long time simply because of the way they unfolded and provided sheers entertainment. The following is the story of one of these games.
The game captures the essence of timely decision making. In Risk, players need to be robust and continuously recalculate their position in respect with others. Unfortunately not all do, and as you may imagine this will cost them the game. In effect, they fight their last war and get eliminated!
The following example will illustrates this beautifully. This is the first part of a 3-part series. You are encouraged to suggest solutions. A few days later, the next part will be published and you can all compare your potential solutions with what actually happened.
You won! You just keep winning. You must be a great player if not the best. It wasn't easy. Some players in your view were just plain bad. You had some arguments with some other players in the game, but you don't think of it much. You think it's just part of the game.
Sometime later, you go back to the online forum only to discover that there is a whole amount of conversation going on about you from certain players who did not approve of what you did or said in the game. In effect they are spreading rumours about you and your character and trying to destroy your reputation. As you know, winning Risk repeatedly is all about reputation and any damage to that will have all sorts of serious consequences for you when you are online next time to play. So you need to be able to control the rumours. The question is, how?
The situation is the same if you were not playing the game online. Rumours can spread behind your back and when you get back to your friends next weekend to play with them, you realise (quite late of course) that they have already plotted to remove you from the game, perhaps to teach you a lesson.
All of this means that you need to be able to control your reputation and spread of any rumour. Here, you will learn a number of techniques to achieve this.
New players sometimes think that to win Risk they need to work out a winning strategy and follow it every time. The problem with this approach is that it ignores what other players are going to do. You can’t say I will do these series of manoeuvres and I will do them no matter what. To win Risk, you need to know how to respond to different situations and to know this you need to know your priorities. Sounds very simple, but you will be amazed how many players don’t follow this simple rule. If you ever play online Risk, you are bound to come across many who simply follow a fixed strategy, like ‘Get continents’, ‘Go for cards’, ‘Just keep growing’ and so on. These strategies are good but they are too fixed to get you to win the game. You may get by very well in the early stages of the game and then get kicked out not knowing what hit you.
You look at the map. Your current position looks good (you are playing as Red, A). You decide to go for Africa. You have lots of hope. You think in a few turns you get yourself established in the continent and will be ready to make a challenge for others. All is going according to plan. Excellent! Later, just by accident, you bump into a fortune teller who wants to predict your future. She looks at your hand (and probably the map) and says, “My son, I am afraid I have some bad news for you. I see darkness ahead. The more distant I look, the more darkness I see. You ought to be careful with who you deal with. Look around, never lose site of the distant world and try not to get carried away by your own strength.”
The fortune teller leaves you in deep thought. What did she really mean? Not to get carried away!? Distant world? All too confusing. You consider her comments for a moment, but you need to move on. The game is waiting for you. Maybe later you will realise what she meant. Hopefully …
You start with this map and make your move. [These maps are illustrated in BOMS Graphs].
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?
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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Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.