Product Type: other board games
Newest Review: ... you are with dice rolls, you will only be delaying the inevitable. So to sum up the board game Risk, I would definitely recommend it to al... more
Are you prepared to take a Risk?
Member Name: pumfster
Date: 13/12/11, updated on 13/12/11 (171 review reads)
Advantages: Develops tactical play. Is really addictive.
Disadvantages: May not appeal to those who don't like in depth tactical games which take some time.
Risk is a strategy board game made by the Hasbro Company, and is basically a game of world domination, which clearly appeals to my megalomaniac side. It is available from all good toy and game shops on the high street, as well as the usual places on the Internet and will cost in the region of £20 in a shop, and closer to £10 on the net. The board itself is a map of the world and is split up into the various geographical continents such as Africa, Asia, Europe etc, and from there the areas are then sub divided into various territories, such as Ontario, Alaska and Western USA for the North American continent. The game is for anywhere from two to six players, and the idea is very simple, the first person to capture all of the territories on the board wins the game. Sounds easy but it will take a great master of strategy to come out on top.
The board itself is very colourful, with the countries all clearly labelled, and the board is also very durable. I've had mine now for quite a few years and there are no visible signs of any wear and tear. The little army tokens are slightly more delicate as they are mass produced from cheap plastic, but to be fair you are given quite a lot of them with the game, and so the odd accident her and there is usually not fatal.
Setting up the game takes a fair bit of time to be honest, and the time required combined with the complexities of the strategy and the war theme makes the game unsuitable for children under the age of 10. This was around the age that I was bought my first version of the game and I have to say that although I wouldn't have understood the finer points of the game back then, I did find it a very good way of learning all about strategy and is probably where my keen interest in strategy computer games developed from.
There is an instruction booklet that comes with the game, and is written in the form of a command booklet, and to be fair is pretty clear and explains the general principles of the game quite well, however for me the real fun is to get straight into the game and only to refer to the booklet if something comes up which raises a question.
To set up the game, everyone throws a die and the highest scoring player picks a card. Each territory has a card, and the successful player places a coloured soldier on it to designate it as theirs. There are 3 different types of playing piece, the soldier represents one army, the cavalry officer represents five armies, and a cannon represents ten armies. The little soldiers and cannons are perfect for those who like "boys toys" and may also appeal to others who are into things like warcraft. The players then take it in turns to pick cards until the various players own all of them. This is where the strategy bit gets really interesting. You will still have extra armies to allocate and you can place these in any territory that you own again in an alternating form until all of your armies are in place. Once the game is under way players take it in turns to make their moves, and a turn is split up into 4 distinct phases.
Firstly it is the reinforcements stage. You gain 1 army for every three territories that you control, and in addition if you are totally control any of the continents; you get an additional bonus based upon the size of the continent. In addition if you have any reinforcement cards you can trade these in for extra reinforcements, but I will come onto these in a moment.
Once the player has placed the troops where they want we move onto the attacking phase. Basically countries can attack any of the ones that they border, as well as those on neighbouring continents, clearly marked with lines on the board, so an attack won't just come out of nowhere! You can attack an enemy with as many armies as you like from the attacking territory, but you must keep at least one in it. The battles are then decided using the good old-fashioned technique of the roll of a dice. The attacker takes the 3 red dice, and the defender takes the 2 blue ones. This gives the natural advantage to the attack to signify the advantage of surprise. The highest roll takes the first win, and the loser obviously loses a troop, the second highest roll then takes the second win, and again the loser has a troop removed. This goes on until either the territory runs out of defenders and falls, or all of the attacking troops are defeated. Should the attacker win, they can then choose how many of their troops they wish to move into their newly won territory.
If you win a battle, phase three allows you to collect a reinforcement card. You can only get one of these per turn no matter how many battles you win, and the cards can be exchanged for extra reinforcements when you get three of a kind, but not until the start of your next turn.
Finally phase four allows you to move your troops around. There is a limit stipulated in the instruction booklet to chivvy the game along, but you can always make this smaller if you want to speed things up further. We generally have a limit of 50 troops being moved in one turn. You can only move troops around using the same border idea as when attacking, and if moving longer distances, a single move is classed as from one territory to the next, so it may take some turns to reposition your armies as you want.
The game progresses in the same format until one person has completely taken over the whole world. I must confess here that it has been known for us to call a game off before the final coup de grace has been delivered, as once a player has approximately three quarters of the board under their control, you have reached the point of no return, and no matter how lucky you are with dice rolls, you will only be delaying the inevitable.
So to sum up the board game Risk, I would definitely recommend it to all budding dictators out there, as well as any fan of the strategy game genre. Risk is available as a computer game too, but it just isn't the same on that platform, with the real fun getting your hands on the little toy soldiers and watching the board slowly turn your colour as your hordes maraud around! Although dice are used to dictate the outcome of battles, I would say that 99% of the time this will not save a weaker player, and that it really is a game that helps to boost your tactical awareness, and as such is good for older children. It is also not a game that can be dipped into for a spare twenty minutes. You need a good few hours to get a game going and as such is a good way to get a family together and away from the evil television, and I still enjoy playing this with my family today.
Thanks for reading this review and it may also appear on Ciao under my same username.
Summary: A superb detailed board game suitable for most.
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