All Out War: A Risk Retrospective

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Someday I'm going to run this world while atop a noble steed and then we'll see who's laughing!

Someday I'm going to run this world while atop a noble steed and then we'll see who's laughing!

I am not very good at Risk. Ever lost Risk in two turns? I have.  I’ve seen friendships nearly break up as a result of Risk games going bad. It’s even worse than Monopoly with the amount of hate you seen thrown about. Regardless, never let your friends dissuade you from utter conquest of Asia or Europe, as you can’t take over the world without them. They’re impossible to hold onto, but still.

Risky Business

Risk was the brainchild of one French film director Albert Lamorisse who created the game in 1957 and called it something in French (or “La Conquête du Monde,” which means, naturally, “The Conquest of the World”). Why would someone decide to make a game that revolves around world domination? If you have to ask that question then you’re probably not a man. Every man hopes to someday rule the world with an iron fist and a glorious hat.

A standard game of Risk begins with a group of friends deciding their friendship has reached its limit. A few tears are shed and players are given their share of armies depending on how many total players there are. For instance, a two-player game has each player start with 40 armies, a three-player game has 35, a four-player game has 30, and so on. Each army is represented by a piece that looks like a solider. Cavalry pieces count as five armies and Artillery pieces are 10 armies.

Get used to seeing this because it's gonna be a long night.

Get used to seeing this because it's gonna be a long night.

Once everyone has their armies they take turns claiming territories to place an army on, just like in real life. Once the world is divided up, players place their remaining armies on their territories as they see fit to fortify them for the inevitable attacks from their former friends. Thus begins the bloodshed.

Like The History Channel Come Alive

The first player decides where he wishes to attack by looking at where his territory touches another and saying he’d like to attack for possession. It never sounds this formal though as most of the time they just scream, “Prepare for battle!” and toss dice in your face. Each turn you are given at least three additional armies to do what you will with, so when he means to tackle a territory, he’ll have some extra firepower to do so with.

These attacks are conducted as follows: The attacker gets up to three dice depending on how many armies he has in a territory. He can only attack with as many dice as one less than the number of armies that he has. The defender gets a die for however many armies he has, up to two. The once-friends roll their dice and compare the highest dice together. One army is lost when you lose a roll. The same goes for the second highest dice rolled. You can keep attacking as many times as you want even if your army is getting destroyed, but you have to stop when all your men are dead (unless you have necromancer powers or something, but I don’t think that applies to most games of Risk).

The rest of your turn can be spent fortifying your troops, getting Risk cards that can be turned in at the beginning of your next turn should you make a set (they give you more armies), and then apologizing to your friends. The game just keeps going until someone controls every territory in the world or someone thinks of something better to do with their time.

Maybe You Prefer Orcs

One Ring to Rule Them All!

One Ring to Rule Them All!

Not everyone likes the idea of world conquest. Some people may prefer conquering a fictitious land, like Middle Earth or the Star Wars galaxies. Luckily there’s an edition for each of you as Risk has a few Lord of the Rings editions, a few Star Wars editions, a Transformers edition, and even a Halo edition. There are just too many worlds out there to be conquered, aren’t there? Better get to it.

Before you depart, let’s talk about what you’ll hear from your friends when you play. Don’t forget, they aren’t your friends anymore. So whatever they say is a dirty rotten lie. When someone says “Are you crazy? You can’t hold Asia,” make the attempt anyway. You’ll get seven additional armies at the beginning of every turn when you hold all of Asia, so you can fortify like nuts and stomp any that oppose you. But yeah, it’s easier to hole up in Australia and build a massive army to unleash during the best Blitzkrieg ever seen this side of WWII. I’ve seen it happen, and it is amazing when it does.

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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