One day Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, was walking in London and suddenly found himself surrounded by an angry crowd who was shouting at him, “Hang him. Hang the Frenchman.” Voltaire calmly and cunningly addressed the mob, “Men of England! You wish to kill me because I am a Frenchman. Am I not punished enough in not being born an Englishman?” The crowd cheered his thoughtful words, and escorted him back to his home. This amusing story from The Little Brown Book of Anecdotes captures an extremely important concept that no matter how hopeless a situation may seem, there can always be a smart way out. All you have to do is to believe that such a way exists and explore any imaginable option.
For example, in Risk, if for any reason you find yourself in a weak position, you can switch to a strategy which is known as the Turtle Strategy. Suppose suddenly you find yourself under attack turn after turn. You are left with only a few countries and not many armies. The best strategy you can follow now is to make sure that the next player does not wipe you out of the game. Never lose hope, however small you think your chances are. You can always win the game and conquer the whole world even if you have only one country.
The solution is to use passive resistance. Find a location on the planet that you think is close, reachable and is completely out of the way of other players. Yakutsk and Japan are good examples, since players usually have no incentive to attack them. Thus, move to this isolated country and attempt to bring all of your remaining armies there. This is now your new home. Do not worry about losing your one-army countries in the process. You are not in a situation to care about such issues!
Once you have successfully immigrated, aim to concentrate a reasonable amount of armies in this newly-found country so that no one can get rid of you without seriously weakening himself against other players. At this point in time, killing you won’t have any direct benefit for other players. You don’t even have a continent to lose. Removing you would only cost them. Hence, you are exploiting the selfishness of players by preventing them from being the first to attack you.
There is however an exception. If you have a high number of cards, such as 4 or 5, you will automatically be considered as a great target especially towards the later stages of the game. If you have cards, cash them in and put them on the map. You will simultaneously decrease their incentive to get the bounty, and make it more costly to attack you. As a minimum, if you can, hide your cards so other players cannot easily see how many you have.
Performing this manoeuvre is an art and needs an active diplomacy during the process. If you got this far, you only need to build up for a few more turns while others carry on fighting with each other. All you need to do is to be ignored. Eventually, if you are ignored enough, you can return as a powerful nation ready to compete with others.
Make sure that you will always get your all important card in your turn, so that you will not fall behind. Since they use their armies and you don’t, you will eventually become as powerful as they are.
Beware that Turtling (The act of using the Turtle Strategy) is considered controversial. If everyone employs this strategy, the game basically comes to a halt as no one will be fighting anyone else. This is undesirable for everyone. This topic is thoroughly examined in the Book.