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Aquadeo
01-14-2011, 11:19 AM
I'm hosting a games night at my place in February. Good times! One of my friends asked if he could bring Risk, and I said sure.

It holds an odd spot in the history of board games, as one of the very few "mainstream" military strategy games out there, and I'm sure it served as a gateway for gamers to discover countless other titles. But for some reason, I've never actually played it myself. It's never too late to learn, I guess...

So, are there any things I should bear in mind? Are there any rookie mistakes to avoid? And what do you think about Risk? Is it actually a good game that's passed the test of time, or have the flaws in its design been laid bare by the last thirty years of its existence?

Karzac
01-14-2011, 11:20 AM
I'm hosting a games night at my place in February. Good times! One of my friends asked if he could bring Risk, and I said sure.

It holds an odd spot in the history of board games, as one of the very few "mainstream" military strategy games out there, and I'm sure it served as a gateway for gamers to discover countless other titles. But for some reason, I've never actually played it myself. It's never too late to learn, I guess...

So, are there any things I should bear in mind? Are there any rookie mistakes to avoid? And what do you think about Risk? Is it actually a good game that's passed the test of time, or have the flaws in its design been laid bare by the last thirty years of its existence?

The main rule of risk is also the main rule of real war: never get involved in a land war in Asia.

Nodal
01-14-2011, 11:21 AM
TAKE AUSTRALIA FIRST.

Sarcasmorator
01-14-2011, 11:25 AM
Which version of the game is he bringing? Will you be playing the classic rules or one of the variants? My understanding is that the basic game will involve rolling dice, until someone controls the entire board. You can find demo version of the PC edition of the game online might want to give one a try.

In the basic game, you can have any number of armies attack a space, but you resolve the battles by rolling, at most, 3 dice for an attacker vs. 2 for a defender, with the highest results meaning a casualty for the losing side, and the defender wins ties. Repeat until one side is all dead or the attacker gives up. Then you get reinforcements at the beginning of your turn based on how many territories you control and cards you turn in. You can lose a surprising number of attacking troops to bad dice rolls.

I actually own three different versions of Risk and haven't played any of them. I've tried "Risk: Factions" on Xbox (there's a demo for this, as well) this one's closest to the most recent board game version, with objectives that win you the game if you achieve enough of them. I know shivam swears by "Risk 2210," which is limited to five rounds and has players bid on turn order each round of the editions I have this is the one I'd like to play the most.

kaisel
01-14-2011, 11:29 AM
Depending on whether you use the missions or not, be prepared for Risk to take an incredible amount of time, in most of my experiences with the game, fatigue sets in far before someone wins.

Risk 2210 incidentally, fixes just about all my problems with normal Risk, and is just a fantastic game to play. Limited to five turns, and more than just die rolling, it's a really good first step into more complicated board games, and is complicated enough to be really fun playing, without getting bogged down.

Karzac
01-14-2011, 11:35 AM
Depending on whether you use the missions or not, be prepared for Risk to take an incredible amount of time, in most of my experiences with the game, fatigue sets in far before someone wins.

Risk 2210 incidentally, fixes just about all my problems with normal Risk, and is just a fantastic game to play. Limited to five turns, and more than just die rolling, it's a really good first step into more complicated board games, and is complicated enough to be really fun playing, without getting bogged down.

Weird. I own Risk 2210, but we always ignored the five turn rule. I eventually got bored with the game. Maybe if I actually followed the rules i would like it more.

Sarcasmorator
01-14-2011, 11:42 AM
Maybe if I actually followed the rules i would like it more.

See also: Monopoly. Not my favorite game, but much more interesting when you auction off unsold properties and don't give people money for landing on free parking.

More neat stuff about Risk 2210: You can take over underwater colonies and the moon, but need the right commanders to do it each of the five commanders offers a different power, and some let you roll an 8-sided die in addition to the usual 6-siders, which is a major boost in potential power. I really want to try this one out someday.

shivam
01-14-2011, 11:59 AM
risk 2210 is pretty much the best expression of 'risk' there is.

but if you're just gonna be playing core risk (which is a damn fine game unto itself), take australia first, put a million armies in siam to protect, and just wait it out.

widdershins
01-14-2011, 12:31 PM
The main rule of risk is also the main rule of real war: never get involved in a land war in Asia.

It's slightly less well known, but make sure you never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.


HAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAAH............................

Meditative_Zebra
01-14-2011, 12:48 PM
The basic strategy in Risk is to try and conquer a continent as quickly as possible. (Owning a continent gives you a boost in the number of new troops you get each turn.) Likewise, you'll want to keep your foes from possessing an entire continent.

North America, South America, and Australia are the easiest continents to hold due to their limited borders, whereas Europe and Asia offer much larger bonuses, but are very difficult to hold.

Later on, you can redeem cards (which are earned whenever you wage a successful attack) for bonus troops. Since the bonuses rapidly escalate there will be a larger and larger premium on getting those cards (including completely eliminating an opponent in order to capture his cards) just to keep pace with all the massively expanding armies.

never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

Relevant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgS5I5R9qC8).

Violentvixen
01-14-2011, 02:16 PM
I've never played it either. I tried the Xbox Live demo but since I'm completely unfamiliar with the game I had no idea what was going on, it didn't do a great job of explaining good strategies. I'll have to try the actual game sometime.

MCBanjoMike
01-14-2011, 02:21 PM
Man, don't even talk to me about Risk. Risk is one of the only games I've ever played that can send me into white-hot fits of rage. HOW THE FUCK IS IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO BEAT ME EVERY ROLL I HAD LIKE THREE TIMES MORE ARMIES THAN YOU DID WHEN WE STARTED!

Aquadeo
01-14-2011, 02:36 PM
Man, don't even talk to me about Risk. Risk is one of the only games I've ever played that can send me into white-hot fits of rage.

Many years ago, a very good friend of mine had just got back from her honeymoon, and sat down for a quiet evening at home with her new husband. They took out their copy of Risk, played four turns, looked at each other, and realised that the only way to make sure their marriage survived would be to stop playing, right that instant, and never play Risk again.

Destil
01-14-2011, 03:41 PM
2210 is indeed a fantastic game; I used to host weekly games of it a few years ago.

Undersea colonies mean that the classic easy to defend areas are a lot less stable, but you can't just walk in because you need that undersea commander.
Between five special commanders, moonbases, energy and special cards, there's a lot of strategic depth and options.
Oh, yeah. In addition to under the sea the sea you can also go to the moon.
Irradiated lands (three or four random countries that you put big radiation symbols on at the start that are unpassbale) can really change the way the board pays.
The five turn limit means games can actually finish, and that one player crushing everyone is a lot less likely. Therefore alliances are a lot more interesting.

Googleshng
01-14-2011, 07:29 PM
So am I the only one who always thought it was weird it was called Risk when generally you want to consolidate territory and defend a minimal number of choke points with huge troop wads until you can sweep through to the next choke point?

poetfox
01-14-2011, 09:26 PM
I guess my Risk experience is so different from everyone else's. Me and my friends have always seen Australia as a trap. Sure, you're safe, but you have nowhere to expand but to Asia, which is never going to work for you because, you know, Asia, and you aren't getting enough troops with your continent bonus to out-fight players who went for more useful continents. I always saw South America as the better position, or even better, Africa.

But yeah, Risk 2210 is so, so much better than normal Risk. And I used to play normal Risk all the time. Highly recommended over the standard game.

Mr Bean
01-14-2011, 10:06 PM
I guess my Risk experience is so different from everyone else's. Me and my friends have always seen Australia as a trap. Sure, you're safe, but you have nowhere to expand but to Asia, which is never going to work for you because, you know, Asia, and you aren't getting enough troops with your continent bonus to out-fight players who went for more useful continents. I always saw South America as the better position, or even better, Africa.

South America is an excellent defensive position with only 2 entrances to defend and easy access to the best gravy boat in the game - North America. It has only 3 entrances and yet is worth as many armies to hold as the vastly more complicated Europe. I once had a South American death fortress that lasted for over 6 hours of game time.

Also - always try to conquer at least one territory every turn, even if you don't plan to hold it. Risk cards are life.

Rascally Badger
01-15-2011, 03:37 AM
The game doesn't actually take too long if people don't turtle and hide. It's called Risk, everyone should be encouraged to take chances move the game forward.

I wish I could still play this game with my friends. I won the first 6 or 7 games we played together and afterwards they just ganged up on me at the start and knocked me out as fast as possible. Despite the fact that I haven't won a game in a long time, I still get targeted at the start. My friends 2 rules of Risk are 1: no alliances with Badger and 2: don't let Badger survive past turn 5 because then he'll win. The reputation would be nice if I didn't have to sit around and watch for hours because I'm already out.

Ruik
01-15-2011, 12:16 PM
During high school, some friends and I had study period immediately before lunch hour one semester. Once a week we would all bring our own lunches and I would bring Risk. We'd play all study period and lunch. For the whole quarter. It was completely wonderful. I don't think we ever finished a game though.

namelessentity
01-15-2011, 12:20 PM
risk 2210 is pretty much the best expression of 'risk' there is.

but if you're just gonna be playing core risk (which is a damn fine game unto itself), take australia first, put a million armies in siam to protect, and just wait it out.

The people I usually play with all say that, so while they are clamoring over Australia, I take south america and slowly work my way into north america. Before they know it (which is like 2-3 turns into the game) I have two continents and a good foot hold in europe. Then some one turns in cards and I get wiped out almost immediately for being "clearly in the lead"

Good times, good times

Mr. J
01-15-2011, 12:35 PM
That's exactly why autralia is so good. It's only a small bonus but once you've got it it really adds up. People who go for the huge continents like North America usually get wiped out because someone at the table says "hey so and so has North America they're a huge threat!!" Then you just get wiped out because 2 people turn in cards and decimate you.

Risk is very much about table talk because you can manipulate your fellow players into doing your work for you. Also, I'd suggest capping card turn ins at 20 because eventually the game turns into who can turn in more cards. It also keeps battles from going on for hours.

Karzac
01-15-2011, 01:14 PM
The people I usually play with all say that, so while they are clamoring over Australia, I take south america and slowly work my way into north america. Before they know it (which is like 2-3 turns into the game) I have two continents and a good foot hold in europe. Then some one turns in cards and I get wiped out almost immediately for being "clearly in the lead"

Good times, good times

One of the easiest mistakes to make in Risk is to get too caught up in a fight over a continent. My Dad used to wipe the floor with me and my brother because the two of us would fight over North America. Pretty soon, Dad would have the rest of the world and we'd be fucked.

Rascally Badger
01-15-2011, 10:56 PM
Risk is very much about table talk because you can manipulate your fellow players into doing your work for you. Also, I'd suggest capping card turn ins at 20 because eventually the game turns into who can turn in more cards. It also keeps battles from going on for hours.

Capping the turn-ins at 20 would make the game last forever. The ever increasing units speed the game up because soon people are getting nearly enough units to wipe the map clean. It's all about knowing when to turn in your cards so as to get enough troops by not holding on to them so long as to seem a ripe target just to get the cards when your opponents knock you out.

Mr. J
01-15-2011, 11:31 PM
The problem is that the game degenerates into setting yourself up to just barely hold the person in front of you's card turn-in and then turn-in sweeping it all back and potentially taking them out. Whomever turns in last always gets much more benefit and for the last 5-6 jumps it's a significant advantage. Capping turn ins at 20 keeps battles smaller but still makes the turn-ins meaningful. Actually because of the amount of time it takes to resolve a 60 on 60 battle capping saves a bunch of time even if the game does go longer turn wise. Plus i keeps continents relevant in the late game. When you are getting 60 troops from one turn-in, the 3 guys from holding continent X is incredibly marginal. If you are only turning-in for 20 guys you get a significant boost to your army size but you can actually make a large scale offensive without a turn-in. With larger turn-ins people can have 30-40 guys parked at their chokes and the only way you are getting through is with your own turn-in.

I should also note that when I play I always set victory at holding 10+ total continent bonus for 2 whole turn cycles (capture it, everyone else takes a turn, you get another turn and then everyone else gets another turn; if you still held your 10+ bonus you win). So for example you could hold Asia and Africa; North America and Europe or Australia, Europe and Africa.

Torgo
01-16-2011, 01:13 AM
I love Risk so much. I got a gang of friends I play with every Sunday. A few weeks ago one of 'em got 2210, and I must agree with everyone that it is absolutely amazing. However, any flavor you choose, be it World Domination, Strategic Conquest, or 2210, you're in for a good time.

Put me in the anti-Australia crowd. I've seen it work out as often as not, but I see it as a trap. South America any day of the week.

Stiv
01-16-2011, 06:50 PM
You just need to remember that Ukrane is not weak. Ukrane should not be game to you.

namelessentity
01-16-2011, 09:56 PM
That's exactly why autralia is so good. It's only a small bonus but once you've got it it really adds up. People who go for the huge continents like North America usually get wiped out because someone at the table says "hey so and so has North America they're a huge threat!!" Then you just get wiped out because 2 people turn in cards and decimate you.

Yeah, but where do you go after you get australia? The only place to go is asia, and we all know that you never get into a land war in asia

I'm joking, I know there are other options

Risk is very much about table talk because you can manipulate your fellow players into doing your work for you. Also, I'd suggest capping card turn ins at 20 because eventually the game turns into who can turn in more cards. It also keeps battles from going on for hours.

Depending how I'm feeling that day, I agree or disagree with the card cap. Putting a cap makes it more of a strategic game, which is fine and dandy, but really there are only so many things you can do with three dice.

Letting it go unlimited makes for a quick game, but it is a little to random for my liking. It all comes down to who gets the right cards first, and if we are going to do it that way I could just roll a d6 and save us all two hours.

Last game I played we went unlimited, and the guy who one did so because he turned in cards, got fifteen units, used them to wipe out one player, got five more cards, turned them in, got twenty units, used them to wipe me out, got four more cards, turned them in, got twenty five units, took the rest of the board. It wasn't that my strategies were weak, it was that it was so early in the game I couldn't possibly stand against a thirty man army coming my way

(though I'll admit, I did spread myself thin in North America because I thought there was no way he was turning in his three cards before I turned in mine)

shivam
01-16-2011, 11:41 PM
fired up risk 2210 today for the first time in like 5 years, and i gotta say that while it's still awesome, my boardgame tastes have changed pretty hardcore since then. I find that the game is WAY too swingy, and the random dice roll luck element is incredibly frustrating. you can have overwheming strength and still get hammered cause your rolls suck all day long. that's pretty unfun.