Risk is a game of world domination that requires some level of planning and intelligence on the part of its players. Allowing players to command their armies so that they may capture more territories from their opponents, a gameboard and a set of dice are used to advance the game and add a level of suspense and excitement. With new and updated editions of Risk released on a regular basis even today, there’s little chance that a player will ever have a chance to get bored with this unique and challenging game of both strategy and chance.
The History of Risk
Risk was invented in the 1950’s as a collaboration between the French film writer and director, Albert Lamorisse and his partner, Michael I. Levin. Parker Brothers further developed the game and then marketed it in the U.S., and later, in Europe as well. Its portrayal of the actual nations of the world as territories that were meant to be conquered has made it a hit over time and it has now been in production for more than fifty years.
Risk has been released in a number of versions over the years, letting players compete for control of everything from the moon to Middle Earth on special edition maps. In 1999, Risk Edition Napoleon allowed players to rethink the actions and decisions of the legendary French military leader. They were also able to play based on the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in a game that was released the next year. Risk 2210 AD offered the opportunity to rule the Moon, as well as territories that were under the sea. Meanwhile, editions that were based on the iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Star Wars films were also printed, creating a whole new audience for this classic board and dice game.
The Idea Behind Risk
The main goal of Risk is to capture the territories of your opponents, eliminating them one-by-one, until you have gained total world domination. It’s intended for anywhere from two to six players and it can take several hours to complete a game when several people are playing. In the standard game that is sold in the U.S., the board shows a map of the world, sectioned off into six continents containing forty-two territories that are up for grabs.
There is also a set of seventy-two cards that comes with every game of Risk. Forty-two feature one of the territories from the board, as well as a symbol for either a cavalry unit, an infantryman or a piece of artillery. Anytime that a player successfully takes over a territory during their turn, they are then rewarded with one of the cards from this stack. Players can use these cards to fortify their empires through trades at the start of their turn. Two cards are wild, showing all three symbols, so that they can match with any of the others for a faster trade. Twenty-eight of the cards, meanwhile, are Mission directives that are related to the Secret Mission Risk variation on the game.
Players are allotted a number of troops at the outset of the game, with each competitor’s warriors represented by game pieces of a specific color. The number of soldiers that a player is initially assigned is based on the total number of players in the game. Next, the players alternate claiming segments of the map on the board by placing their troops on the territory that they have declared. Keep in mind that a territory must always have at least one unit within its borders, as no area can be left completely defenseless. With a roll of the dice to determine the order of play, the next phase of the game is ready to begin.
Risk’s Standard Rules
At the start of their turn, a player will gain new armies based on the territories that they currently control and their collection of cards. These armies come in the form of cavalry, infantry and artillery pieces that can be distributed to protect your territories as you see fit. The only exception to that rule is that when you turn in a complete set of cards with a territory that you are already in charge of and receive two extra infantrymen, those pieces must go to the territory that was shown on the cards.
Players can attack outside territories that are adjacent to their own or those that share an ocean-route with one of their controlled territories. They’ll need to determine how many armies to use in the attack, which will dictate the number of dice that they get to role. One army gets one die, two armies gets two, and three armies means that you will roll with all three of the red dice.
Once the attacker has rolled their dice, the defender rolls either one or both of the white dice, determined by the number of troops that they have in the territory they are defending. The players will then compare the highest red die to the highest white die and, if two white dice were thrown, the low white die will compare to the second highest red die rolled. If the white die is higher than the red die, the attacking territory loses one piece, while if the red die is higher, the defending territory loses a game piece instead.
The occupation of a new territory requires at least as many armies as were used in the attack, but players can opt to station more if they choose. Once you eliminate a player from the game by wiping out their last army, you also gain any cache of cards that they were holding. The winner of the game is the last one standing after a process of elimination of the rest of the players.
In this game, a level head and good judgment provide the path to ruling the planet. In fact, with a lot of smart strategy and a little dumb luck, world domination can be yours through the inventive and intelligent game of Risk.