Many consider Risk the first mainstream war board game, simple and fascinating enough to attract the attention of a wider audience than previous war games of military simulation. In this strategy board game, each player tries to win battles and conquer countries in order to increase his power and to finally conquer the world. The game board used for Risk is a simplified map of the world, consisting of 42 territories.
Origins of the Risk board game
The history of Risk began in 1950s, when a French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse created the board game called “Conquest of the World”. In the time, the game was revolutionary, because it involved non-linear movement. As for most successful games, the rules of the game were fairly easy to learn, but difficult strategies could be developed for winning. The wider audience got to know the game thanks to the Parker brothers who published the game in 1959 with slight modifications under the name of Risk.
The world map used to play Risk groups the 42 territories into different continents and by controlling an entire continent, a player can become stronger by gaining extra troops. Just like in a real war, the players have to attack their opponents’ territories and defend their own in order to conquer the world. The outcome of battles in Risk board game is determined by rolling dice, so there is an element of luck included, just like in the real battles. But as in the real battles, a greater army has an advantage.
The classic version of Risk uses miniature soldiers, cavaliers and cannons to represent armies of different sizes, but in the recent year 2008 version, they have been replaced with more generic arrow figures to bring the game closer to the contemporary world. Different army types exist only in some special editions of Risk, but not in the classic version.
It’s the flexibility of the game that has made the Risk board game one of the most popular war board games: the tactics for winning of one player can be very different from those of other players. The problem of many war board games is that the power of the strongest player increases exponentially and others can do nothing to stop him. In Risk, negotiating and finding allies is a rather important part of the game. By uniting their forces against a player who possesses an entire continent, other players can conquer a territory from this continent to weaken him and to prolong the game.
There are many different ways to play the classic Risk board came. For a shorter game, players have to accomplish a mission to win the game. These missions include conquering certain continents or eliminating another player. For the longer game version, the winner has to conquer the entire world. Another variation called Capital Risk is included in the official rulebook, where each player has to secretly choose a capital. To win the game, one has to capture a certain number of capitals. The universal form of the game board and the existence of different gaming pieces have also given war board game enthusiast ideas to develop their own versions of Risk. Different third-party rulesets go from slight modifications of the game, like new types of warfare, to completely different scenarios like a zombie attack on the planet.
Being one of the best selling war board games, Risk has many special editions. Risk: the Lord of the Rings is played on the map of the Middle Earth and includes “light” and “dark” armies. Risk: 2210 is an award-winning futuristic version, that includes special leader figures and randomly-placed natural disasters. Risk: Reinvention or Risk Factor includes cities, capitals and new types of missions. The last version mentioned was released just in 2009 so fifty years after it’s creation, Risk is a war board game still going strong.