Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 10ish: RISK Tips

It is entirely possible that I got home last night and then promptly fell asleep for 12 hours. Kind of hoping I get Spider-Powers out of it, but more likely just a headache.

For now, I'm writing up Day 10's post, Day 11 will come tonight!

This post is going to be the first in a new, irregular series where I post different tips for board games I've played. These will be things I use, I do not know if they have other names or if there are even better tips -- I'm not doing research here, these are from my own experiences.

Most of the times, these tips will focus on gameplay, such as today. Down the line, a may add storage tips as well, seeing as how some of these games have an excessive amount of cards/tokens/whatever, and no established way to organize them (I'm looking at you, Eldritch Horror). I WON'T be explaining the rules during these posts unless I find a rule that is often confused. I may do a different series down the line focusing on how to play, but we'll see.

For now, let's talk about my favorite board game, RISK!

The most important thing to know about RISK is what version you are playing. To list the few that I have and their major differences:

RISK Classic: This is an older edition of RISK. The only difference here is that there are six playable factions. All later versions (that I own) allow five or four maximum players.

Units/Figures: Infantry Men (1 Army), Cavalry (3 Armies), Cannons (5 Armies).
Map: Earth

RISK Updated: The rules are almost exactly the same. There are only five playable factions, and the only actual change I remember off the top of my head is how recruitment is handled -- the values for getting troops after turning in cards has been reduced. "Mission" cards have been added to change the game's focus from "Global Domination" to whatever your card says, and capitols tokens have been added to add to this or add a simple game type I'll call "Capitol Domination," where you only need to own ever capitol as opposed to every territory.

Units/Figures: Small Arrows (1 Army), Big Arrows (3 Armies). BORING.
Map: Earth

RISK: Star Wars (Clone War Version): This has many rule differences, only has two factions that can be played by up to four players, and introduces a "rule 66" gimmick that almost sets a timer on the game. I've only played it once and did not enjoy it, though I'll eventually hunt down an original trilogy version of RISK because I've read that it's much different.

Units/Figures: I forget and don't feel like looking. I know their are at least Clone Troopers and Droids to separate factions, but after that I don't know.
Map: Again, can't quite remember but it was very boring and half the reason the game didn't interest me.

Europa! A very interesting map to play on.
RISK Godstorm: I LOVE this version of RISK. It is an evolution of a version I don't own yet (2210 A.D.) and adds Gods that act like generals, spells that can completely warp the game, and an almost mini-game addition where your defeated troops keep fighting in the Underworld. The map is also interesting, especially since an entire continent, Atlantis, can sink if the correct spell is cast.

Units/Figures: Warriors (1 Army), Elephants (3 Armies) and Greek Gods, which aren't armies but do impact gameplay and can move around the board with your troops.
Map: Europa, with Atlantis and Underworld additions.

RISK Legacy: This is my favorite version of RISK because it has a very unique series of changes that happen the first 15 or so times you play the game -- the board and rules become permanently altered as stickers (Scars that hurt or improve spaces or cities that make a territory more appealing) are added to the board and special sections of the rule book as certain conditions are met (such as the first time a faction is eliminated from the board, you are allowed to open a sealed packet that adds new cards and rules). Also the factions are different and continue to change from game to game, which is a wonderful addition. The first 15 games also have a very specific way to win, based on accruing "Stars," not necessarily by killing off your enemies. After the first 15 games, all the rules should be applied and then you can play however you want.
I've only managed to open two out of seven total compartments...

Units/Figures: Soldiers (1 Army, different appearance by faction), Advanced Units (3 Armies, different appearance by faction.
Map: Earth, but with potentially dramatic changes on any given space or continent (I just named Australia Barsoom and forever get a bonus when I control it...).


... Now for the actual tips. For now, I'm focusing on classic/updated version, because other versions have so many different rules. I will either add to this post or do separate posts for each down the line.

1. The best continent to control is any you feel you are able to defend its borders. Asia is impossible for any early game due to having so many different access points, Australia is the best with only one, but you run the risk of being boxed in if an enemy blocks Siam (Souther Asia) with enough troops. Also, depending on how you're playing, it may be too far removed from the action. I tend to start there anyway, making sure my first goal is to secure Siam and then SLOWLY advance towards Africa from there (taking over Asia isn't viable until late game, if ever).
When two people start on Australia...

2. You MUST control a continent early OR make sure no one else does. Even an additional 2 troops from Australia or South America will go a long way in the early game.

3. Do NOT allow an enemy to gain control of America, Europe, or Asia for more than a turn. Do this for as long as possible, knowing that you only have to take a single territory away from them before their turn comes back again. If they ever DO get the bonus, they will become almost impossible to penetrate again (Even America only has three points entry spots, which can be quickly reinforced with an additional 5 soldiers).
All you need is one guy to disrupt a continent bonus.

4. Don't be afraid to try and play players off of each other. Alliances and such are acceptable meta-game, but so is suggesting that a particular enemy owning North America for an entire turn is unhealthy for everyone is a reasonable statement. The NA player may not appreciate it, but it could potentially save you from having to attempt a cross-global assualt.

5. On the subject of making alliances, only make them with a player you trust and I STRONGLY suggest you set an end criteria. Whether this is after a certain enemy is defeated or a certain number of turns, it will be good to have any restrictions removed when you actually need to go through "allied" territory to win the game. Don't be afraid to throw your weight around if you have any -- very often I've offered the terms "I'll allow you to come in second place" when I want en enemy out of the way but don't necessarily want have a difficult fight for it. They can move the bulk of their army to a single, out of the way place, and you can steamroll their single army leftovers that are the only thing in your way.

6. No matter what, make sure you are able to take at least one territory each turn. This will get you a card at the end of the turn. If there is no actual point in expanding further, consider stopping there until you're ready for a big assault, but have a few options to take for the next turn. Overcoming every single-army space just because their easy will actually thin you out and potentially make you easy for the picking, and you may have gained nothing at all from the trade off.
Godstorm Territory cards.

7. Horde your cards until the latest you can. Some versions need cards to be played before the number of troops you get grows larger. In that case, play them when you can. Other versions allow to you get a set amount of troops based on the type/number of cards you have. Saving these cards can allow you to launch a massive surprise attack later in the game. Turns like that can usually end the game, if done correctly.

8. When defending a continent, there is little point keeping more than a single army on territories NOT threatened by an enemy territory. Instead, mass your armies at the borders that you share with enemies. If they break through there, you've lost the continent bonus anyway. If they get greedy and attack all your single-army spaces, they run the risk of spreading themselves too thin as well as losing extra troops because the defensive die gives you the most benefit with winning a tie (every time you roll a six, the enemy loses a troop, minimum).
Purple is a bit overzealous on defense, and costing himself useful armies.

9. When taking over a continent, I suggest trying to do it in no more than 2 turns. Use the first turn, if needed, to take a single space from the continent, removing their bonus for the next turn. On your next turn, their defense should be weaker and you can mount your full assault.

10. When taking over many spaces at once, plan your route carefully. You don't want to box yourself in by moving all your soldiers onto a conquered territory that only borders other territories you control -- no matter how massive the force, it is now stuck on that space until the reinforcement face, giving your enemies time to rebuild. Play it as if you are playing the old computer game, Snake. If you get trapped by your own body, you've wasted time and lost your momentum. You can take over the entire map in a single turn, if you are careful (I have done this many times).

Those are the first ten tips I'll offer. If I think of more for classic/updated versions, I'll add them here. When I eventually do the other versions, I'll also link them here, using the above list.

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