You’ve NEVER played Risk? We recently found a player who hadn’t played it and like the plants from planet of the apes there has to be more.
Risk just like Diplomacy is as old school as it gets. A lot of players started on their gaming odyssey with this very game. Bless you Parker brothers.
The first thing that strikes you about Risk is how small the map is. We’ve become so used to big boards for our games and the need for some more real estate for our own game boards and bits and pieces. Not Risk! It will fit snugly on your granny’s fold out table with lots of space for cups of tea. You start with your counters on the map, gain a few more each turn and if you’re lucky gain a card each turn. That’s it.
The game is the quintessential map based conquest game. There are multiple variants, versions, themes and house rules but the classic base game sees you drawing a secret mission like “wipe out blue” or “conquer Asia and Africa” (good luck with that) and off you go dominating the world or at least the bits that matter to you. Bonus points for paranoia from never quite knowing what your opponents mission is until the final slap down. Interestingly I believe the expression “goddammit I would have won next turn” originated from Risk and has been popular ever since.
The map of the world is made up of around two dozen locations which you can solely occupy with your armies. The more locations you occupy the more reinforcements you gain at the start of your turn. On top of that you gain bonus armies for controlling whole regions. Owning all the territories in Australia gives you two bonus armies. Controlling North America five and so on. Don’t bother with Asia for its dizzying seven bonus armies. It’s wayyy too hard to hold. If you conquer at least one territory in your turn you get a cards. Cash in three and more lovely armies for you.
Combat is simple and dice based. As a general rule bring more armies to a fight and you’ll win but not always. There are many exaggerated stories of one army holding off a dozen with lucky rolls.
The game is quick or it can be. I’ve seen games over in half and hour. I’ve seen them run for two.
Alliances rise and fall, usually extinguished after the sentence “why are you sticking so many armies next to my border?”. It’s fun it’s quick it’s simple. It’s been around longer than Adam’s apple and there’s a very high chance you’ve played it to death. If you haven’t it’s definitely worth trying. Don’t go looking for the greatest game ever designed (that’s Diplomacy). Enjoy it and move on. It’s definitely worth your time