What is Strategy?

In the past, military strategy was confined to the action of soldiers and solving military issues. However, in modern times, strategy is used to define the overall plan. As described in the previous chapter, using tactics are useful to resolve a local situation and any good general should know them well. However, it is the overall strategic plan and diplomacy that can make the difference between winning and losing!

Historically, over time the rise of technology resulted in ever more complex strategies which eventually led to an operational strategy. This involved planning for efficiency of a nation at war as a whole and not just for the war activity itself. Georges Clemenceau famously said that “war is too important a business to be left to soldiers”. An important part of this grand strategy is diplomacy, which is the top layer in the three-layer approach. A nation may use diplomacy to avoid hot conflicts altogether and strive to achieve its goal by anything other than brute force. This may involve alliances and negotiations with other nations to resolve conflicts without resorting to combat.

For example, consider chess. One might argue that at any point in the game, one searches to find the absolute best move. If one takes this best move, one will end up in a better situation eventually. However, in Risk, diplomacy and politics add an endless number of possible paths to victory. The large number of options at your disposal is what it makes Risk a truly wonderful game and a training tool. At any point in the game, there is never a move that can be classified as the perfect move. You always have many more solutions than you can think of. When playing Risk, you are constantly reminded of historical events as actions of players are analogous to actions of generals and leaders of nations. One can certainly learn from the evolution of their ideas and also understand the importance of decisions they have made.  The huge human cost of wars is something that no one wants to bear. Rational reasoning and morality suggest that wars should be the last resort to resolve conflicts and avoid the damage they inflict on humans. Of course as history shows, humans are not always rational!
Blocked Player

First and foremost, always know your opponents. If you know how strong they are and where they are heading, you will have much more chance of dealing with them. You should always count the total number of armies of all players in each turn. It tells you precisely who is the most powerful and who is the weakest. In general, the idea is to wipe out the weak and fight with the strong. This is not always easy and thus you need a strategic plan.

When attacking, make sure that you have enough armies to complete your move. These manoeuvres can sometimes be very dangerous. If you go all the way and manage to get all of his countries but one, you have spent all those precious armies for the advantage of your competitors. Someone else will get that last country and collects the bounty (i.e. cards). Hence, you have to make a decision: to go for it, or not to go for it.

Pay attention that other players cannot take advantage of the weakness of a player too easily. One way to prevent them from taking your bounty is by isolating one of the countries of the weak player inside your empire. Make sure only you can attack it. Thus, even if someone conquers all other countries of the weak player, you will be the only player who is capable of conquering his last remaining country. This tactic is illustrated below. In this example, the last remaining Green armies are in Irkutsk. The Green armies are surrounded by Red. Green is not easily accessible by other players. They may experience a heavy loss going through Red’s border before they can take Green. Red is taking no chances by making sure that Green cannot do much damage inside his own empire by surrounding him with strong forces.


Blocked Armies
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